Joe gives Pablo vote of confidence

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle today handed goal-shy striker Pablo Counago a massive vote of confidence.The 24-year-old Spaniard, last season's top scorer with 19 goals, has yet to get off the mark in the current campaign.

By Dave Allard

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle today handed goal-shy striker Pablo Counago a massive vote of confidence.

The 24-year-old Spaniard, last season's top scorer with 19 goals, has yet to get off the mark in the current campaign. But Royle leapt to the defence of his misfiring striker when he said: "Pablo, bless him, could have had seven or eight goals this season.

"He needs to break the spell – it doesn't matter whether it's a scruffy goal or a thunderbolt – and go on from there."

Ex-England striker Royle has plenty of sympathy for the player snapped up on a Bosman free transfer from Celta Vigo in July 2001.

He added: "I've had worse spells myself. I once went 16 games without a goal at Bristol City, then I scored five in five. That's how it goes.

Most Read

"Striker in a struggling team is a difficult position. The ball often comes to you a pass too late because there's a lack of confidence behind you."

Counago has not been short of opportunities, but he has either been foiled by good goalkeeping or by not being ruthless enough in front of goal.

Royle added: "Pablo needs a goal, any kind of goal. He could have had a hat-trick on Saturday against West Ham and two in half a game at Wigan last week.

"At least he's getting in there to have a go. The worst thing for a striker is not even seeing the goal."

Royle also hit back at supporters' criticism of new signing Georges Santos, who was signed on a free transfer after his contract at Grimsby had expired.

The 33-year-old Frenchman has figured in midfield, but Royle said: "He came here as a centre-back, although we knew he could play in midfield.

"The thing is, both Jermaine Wright and Antonio Murray were injured, while Matt Holland had gone, so I asked Georges to do a job in midfield.

"From now on we will be looking at Georges as a central defender in the general scheme of things. That's his position."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter