Ipswich Town striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake can fill striking void, says former Wolves team-mate Matt Murray
- Credit: Archant
A fully-fit Sylvan Ebanks-Blake has the goalscoring instincts to help fill the void left by the injured David McGoldrick, according to his former Wolves team-mate Matt Murray.
Ebanks-Blake, 27, played an hour for Town’s under-21s in their 2-0 home defeat to Charlton on Monday evening, having returned to the first-team fold as a substitute against Blackpool on Saturday, following more than a month out with a hamstring injury.
The ex-Manchester United youngster has had his fair share of injuries during his career but, on the flip-side, led the line as Wolves won promotion to the Premier League in 2009 and has twice finished as the second tier’s leading goalscorer.
He arrived at Portman Road as a free agent last December, following eight months out with a broken leg, suffered in Wolves’ 3-2 win at Birmingham last April.
He scored two goals that day but that was to be his final act in a Wolves shirt and he could only watch from the sidelines as Dean Saunders’ men were then relegated to League One.
Murray, a former Wolves goalkeeper, who retired through injury in 2010, is convinced they would have survived but for the striker’s misfortune, and believes he can recapture his best form at Portman Road.
“Sylvan can make a positive impact at Ipswich, 100%, said Murray, who now works as a pundit and matchday reporter for Sky Sports.
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“When you play against him you know he is always going to get a shot away and, wearing the number nine shirt at Molineux, he was the closest thing we have had to Steve Bull.
“It did not happen for him in the Premier League but I am a firm believer that Wolves would have been in the Championship now had he not suffered that injury at Birmingham.
“He is a powerful boy, always hits the target and is effective playing on the shoulder of defenders.
“He has been injured before, he broke his ankle at Manchester United, but he has always got up to speed quite quickly in terms of his touch and hitting the target in training.”
McCarthy is likely to wrap Ebanks-Blake in cotton wool as the striker continues his rehabilitation, partly because he can’t afford to see the frontman join McGoldrick on the sidelines.
Daryl Murphy is expected to start at league leaders Leicester, either as a lone frontman or possibly alongside Frank Nouble, but Murray says Ebanks-Blake will be confident in his own ability when he gets his chance,
“Mick likes pressing hard up the pitch and asks his strikers to defend from the front, so he will have to be a bit careful with Sylvan as the games come thick and fast in the Championship,” Murray added.
“But it won’t phase Sylvan when he does play and he won’t be daunted.”
McCarthy may also look to bring in a new face on an emergency loan and is well-versed in unearthing a gem.
“When Mick came to Wolves in the summer of 2006, he lost the likes of Joleon Lescott, Paul Ince, Mark Kennedy and Kenny Miller, and they were all big names,” said Murray
“Mick built a squad for the play-offs and signed the likes of Michael Kightly, Matt Jarvis and Stephen Ward who he turned into Premier League players.”