Ipswich Town striker Brett Pitman has qualities to fill void left by Daryl Murphy's switch to Newcastle United

Brett Pitman

Brett Pitman

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Brett Pitman staked a claim to fill the boots of Daryl Murphy after helping Ipswich Town to a 1-0 victory over Preston at Portman Road on Saturday.

Murphy handed in a transfer request to force through a £3m move to Championship rivals Newcastle United over the weekend.

His departure leaves Town short of physicality in attack, ahead of the transfer window closing on Wednesday night, but Pitman showed different qualities in his first start of the season and was a bright spark in a scrappy game – Ipswich winning their second match of the season and entering the international break in 11th position.

Despite not being as tall as Murphy, he won his fair share of headers, regularly chased down defenders and, in the first half, tried to get Town on the front foot with some clever passing and link-up play,

McCarthy said: “He (Pitman) was great, really good. I thought he was excellent.

“He’s not as quick (as Murphy) but he has plenty of savvy and is technically very good.

“He brings other people into play so he’s a different sort of player. What’s lovely about it is that he had not been playing and he gets the shout and he comes in.

“He’s trained properly, he’s kept himself right and he’s reacted in the right way.”

Pitman did find himself isolated at times, playing as a lone frontman, and, with David McGoldrick out injured for the foreseeable future, is one of just three strikers at McCarthy’s disposal, along with Freddie Sears and Luke Varney.

Town have been linked with Newcastle youngster Adam Armstrong (19), but his diminutive frame is a world away from the brute force of Murphy, who has been a dominant figure in recent seasons.

However, the Blues boss has always had a contingency plan in place and is likely to be busy over the next few days.

Murphy, who will be 35 by the time his two-year deal at St James’ Park comes to an end, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to get it over the line and really looking forward to it. When I knew the club was interested, it was a no-brainer for me.”

Magpies boss Rafa Benitez said: “Daryl has experience and has proven that he can score goals in the Championship. We could see from this weekend’s game against Brighton that we needed more bodies up front. He has a good attitude and he can be very important for us this season.”

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