Mills: He's Roy of the Rovers
IPSWICH legend Mick Mills today gave the thumbs-up to Portman Road new boy Nicky Forster.The pair worked closely together at Birmingham City and Mills has taken an interest in the player's career ever since.
By Mel Henderson
IPSWICH legend Mick Mills today gave the thumbs-up to Portman Road new boy Nicky Forster.
The pair worked closely together at Birmingham City and Mills has taken an interest in the player's career ever since.
Mills, who captained Ipswich to FA Cup and UEFA Cup glory, as well as leading England in the 1982 World Cup finals, said: “Nicky is a bit of a Roy of the Rovers.
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“I was at the Madejski Stadium three years ago when he scored a hat-trick against Town and I expect all the supporters who travelled there on the day will remember it.
“George Burley had just left and it was before Joe Royle arrived to take charge of the team. Tony Mowbray was caretaker manager and Ipswich lost 3-1.
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“One of Nicky's goals was outrageous. He let fly from what looked a ridiculous range and I was thinking to myself 'What's he doing?
“He was some way out and beyond the corner of the 18-yard box, but the ball just sailed into the net.
“That's typical Nicky. He has never been afraid to have a go and try his luck with difficult shots. They don't always come off, but when they do they are a bit special.”
Mills was assistant to then-Birmingham manager Trevor Francis when they splashed £700,000 to sign Forster from Brentford in January 1997.
He stayed in the Midlands until June 1999, when he moved to Reading in a £650,000 deal and his six-year stint in Berkshire ended on Wednesday when he joined Ipswich on a free transfer.
“Nicky made a lot of substitute appearances at Birmingham - he wasn't a first team regular - but overall his career scoring record is a good one,” added Mills.
“He always had pace - that's the first thing I would say about him - and he's definitely a goalscorer. Plus, he's no shrinking violet, which I regard as a bonus.
“Managers don't like quiet players and Nicky won't disappoint Joe (Royle) in that department. He will definitely be good for the dressing room. He loves a laugh and a joke; he's a bubbly lad.
“If there's a downside with Nicky, I would say it's his technical ability and a tendency not to see team-mates in better positions.
“Having said that, though, strikers can be a selfish breed and in Nicky's case his strengths far outweigh his weaknesses.”
He may be ten years older than the player he is replacing, but Mills can see a lot of similarities between Forster and Darren Bent.
“As to who is the better player, it is debatable,” said Mills. “They are both capable of getting you 20 goals in a season.
“Darren has youth on his side, but Nicky has experience and know-how - and I get the impression he's coming to Ipswich intent on making a big impact.”