Date: 20th September 2016 at 4:07pm
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Could it be that Mick McCarthy has found another football gem in waiting? At 30 years of age he should be at the peak of his career for a striker but injuries and some personal issues seem to have so far clouded the forwards judgement so far.

He has not been an easy man to coach it seems but manager Mick McCarthy is well used to dealing with difficult customers; from Roy Keane to Paul Taylor so where there is a will there is a way as they say and perhaps finally Leon Best has that will?

The signs are at least encouraging. Three appearances for the under 23 team and three goals is an impressive start and last night at Portman Road he had 70 minutes worth of football in a 4-0 win against our next first team opponents Leeds United.

He does need minutes under his belt though before he could be considered to start for the blues but McCarthy is aware of this and both he and Luke Varney began the game last night although ‘Reg’ had to retire early through injury, only to be replaced by young England star Ben Morris who struck twice for the blues!

It is only a matter of time before either Brett Pitman or Freddie Sears fall foul of injury and Best has to grab his chance when it eventually comes, which it surely will.

Let’s not forget that Daryl Murphy was hardly a household name when he came to Town but in the end went to Newcastle United as one! I suppose that 27 goal Championship goal haul nailed it for him and then he got back into the Irish side at the age of 31 and Best has the possibility of doing the same if he stays focused?

There is little doubt that he has quality and is natural goal-poacher but of course he is not Daryl Murphy – although there are similarities in some respects. At 6ft 1 inch he is pretty tall and is good with his head and his physicality is also a worthy asset.

He has also played at the top level of English football with Newcastle United coincidentally and has represented Ireland at under 17,19 and 21 level and has 7 full caps to his name as well.

It might be foolhardy to sing his praises too loudly so early in his Town career but there is no doubting his ability, if only he can stay fit and focus on his football. That is however a big if?

Frank Weston – Editor of Vital Ipswich


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