'I just feel he could have a little bit more confidence and self-belief' - Hurst on Sears
PUBLISHED: 11:22 27 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:22 27 July 2018
Freddie Sears needs to start believing in himself again, says Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst.
The 28-year-old striker, a £100k buy from Colchester United in January 2014, found the net regularly in his first nine months at the club when playing up top alongside Daryl Murphy.
Ex-Blues boss Mick McCarthy then converted him into a winger and, though he unfailingly contributed to the cause with some tireless running, his killer instinct in the final third seemed to slowly ebb away.
After scoring just nine times in 122 appearances, including a 38-game barren run, Sears ended last season with goals against Reading and Middlesbrough when restored to a forward role under the caretaker management of Bryan Klug.
New boss Hurst has played him as a winger, striker and in the No.10 role this summer, with the Essex-born front man scoring the penalty winner in Tuesday night’s 1-0 friendly win at MK Dons.
“Freddie did well, his movement’s good, he’s clever,” said Hurst, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s final warm-up game against Sears’ boyhood club, West Ham, at Portman Road (3pm).
“He’s probably one of those players I feel I will be on at. He took his penalty very well (against MK Dons), but he gets in certain positions and I just want him to believe in himself.
“Sometimes he does ever so well to get in an area, but I just feel he could have a little bit more confidence and self-belief for that end product that you’re looking for.”
Sears is one of four senior strikers at the club along with new signing Ellis Harrison (Bristol Rovers, £750k), Joe Garner (who has missed most of pre-season with a knee injury) and Martyn Waghorn (who is the subject of strong interest from Derby and Middlesbrough).
“He hasn’t scored too many goals in the last few years, but I don’t really see why he can’t add that to his game again,” said Hurst.
“I watch him on the training pitch and, again, sometimes it’s just ‘believe in yourself and take that chance’.
“He’s a very unselfish player. He does a lot of work for the team, which I admire, but at the same time, when he gets in areas, have that confidence to either take that shot on or maybe drive at the man and try to force a mistake.”