‘A figurehead, a top guy and almost guaranteed goals’ - Mowbray’s assessment of Town target Graham
PUBLISHED: 06:00 12 August 2020 | UPDATED: 19:51 12 August 2020
Ipswich icon Tony Mowbray believes Town target Danny Graham will bring ‘almost guaranteed goals’ to his next club.
The Blues are understood to be keen on signing the 35-year-old striker this summer, following his release from Blackburn, though they face significant competition from League One rivals Sunderland.
Graham scored 38 goals in 142 games under Mowbray, following the former Town defender’s appointment at Ewood Park in February 2017, including 17 goals as Rovers won promotion from League One in 2018 and then 16 the following season after they had returned to the Championship.
But he managed just four in 39 games last season, with Mowbray allowing he experienced forward to depart at the end of his contract, given he could not guarantee him first-team football going forward.
“It’s always difficult to let almost guaranteed goals disappear. He wants to enjoy his football and I don’t think Danny Graham would enjoy being a bit part player,” Mowbray said following Graham’s release earlier this summer.
“Danny Graham is a figurehead, a top guy, a top man and he needs to feel like the man I think.
“He needs to stick the No.9 on his back and go and score goals, and that’s what I think.
“I think he needs to go somewhere for a couple of years and score a few goals, and I don’t mind if he gets in the Championship and scores goals, if he scores against us as long as we win 5-1, I don’t mind.
“I’ve said to him there’s no agenda, I want him to enjoy his career, because as he gets older, his career is coming to an end, whether that’s next year, the year after, Danny thinks if he stays fit and he works hard he can play for another two or three years.
“I hope he goes and gets another 50 goals and I don’t say that lightly, I think he’s a huge credit to himself and the football club in his period here and I hope he can go and enjoy his football before his career finishes.”
The Blues and Sunderland are understood to be going head-to-head on three fronts in the transfer market this summer, for Graham, Luke Garbutt and goalkeeper Remi Matthews.
Graham, a North East native, has previously played for Sunderland but scored just once in 42 games during a three-year spell in which he also spent time on loan at Hull, Middlesbrough, Wolves and then Blackburn.
It was there he linked up with current Town boss Paul Lambert, with the Scot signing him on loan in January 2016 and seeing him net seven times as Rovers pulled themselves clear of relegation.
Lambert departed that summer but, soon after doing so, urged Rovers to sign Graham full-time, which they ultimately did.
“Danny’s been excellent for us since he’s been at the football club,” Lambert said of Graham shortly before his exit from Blackburn.
“It’s very difficult for loan players when they come in and you’re getting toward the tail end of the season.
“It’s easy for them to switch off but that’s not been the case with Danny. He’s been excellent.
“His work rate, what he’s like around the place and off the field; he’s all the things you want from an experienced player.
“He’s been there, seen it and done it. He’s been a massive player for us.”