December 10 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Two former Blues strikers have backed Michael Chopra to play an important role between now and the end of the season at Portman Road.
Despite a rapid improvement under Mick McCarthy – the Blues having taken 28 points from a possible 54 since his arrival – Ipswich are on course to record their lowest tally of goals in the second tier since first reaching that level in 1954.
Chopra has endured well-documented off-field issues this season but, having scored 57 Championship goals in the previous four seasons, the former Cardiff striker could prove to be a valuable asset as fifth-bottom Town chase that fabled 50-point safety target.
Marcus Stewart, who played a pivotal role as Town qualified for Europe during their first season back in the Premier League in 2000-01, believes Chopra will be able to put his personal problems to one side, provided he catches the eye of McCarthy.
Mathie, meanwhile, insists the striker’s goalscoring instincts could be crucial if the Blues begin playing to his strengths.
“At the moment, we are not getting enough balls down the sides or fed into the penalty area where Michael is good with his back to goal,” said Mathie.
“There were too many high balls played from back-to-front at Blackburn and that is okay when you are a 6ft 2ins centre forward but the likes of Chopra and David McGoldrick need service on the deck.”
Stewart, a hero of Town’s rise to the Premier League in 2000, added: “As a footballer, that’s the only time you get a release from these pressures.
“Everyone has their problems but I found that playing games and working in training took my mind off things.
“I have worked under Mick and he is one of the best man-managers I have played under but if your not doing it, you won’t be in the team.”