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Rival Championship club relying on free agent former Newcastle striker to fill void

5 years ago

Mick McCarthy is hoping that former Newcastle striker Leon Best can fill the void left by Daryl Murphy.

Before joining Ipswich permanently as a 30 year old in 2013, Murphy had previously only once (10 for Sunderland in 2006/07) hit double figures in a season in terms of league goals.

However, the now Newcastle striker never looked back after moving permanently to Portman Road, scoring 50 Championship goals in the past three years.

Leon Best has had a disastrous time since leaving Newcastle, injuries and indifferent form blighting the past four years.

When Newcastle finished fifth, it is often forgotten that Leon Best played a key supporting role to Demba Ba before the arrival of Papiss Cisse. Best made 16 starts that season and two as a sub, scoring four Premier League goals.

Picking up a bad injury shortly after joining Blackburn from Newcastle back in 2012, Leon Best then had a series of very average loan spells in the Championship, including under Steve McClaren at Derby County.

Joining Rotherham midway through last season he got his career a little bit back on track, scoring four goals in 16 Championship matches and now due to turn 30 next week, McCarthy believes Leon Best can repeat the upturn in his career that Daryl Murphy experienced at Ipswich.

Newcastle face Ipswich at St James Park on Saturday 22 October.

Mick McCarthy:

“If somebody like that (Leon Best) wants to come here, he could have the best years of his career if he wanted.

“He could have three really good years, taking him to 33-34. If he does that and scores his goals and plays as well as he can, we will all be delighted to have him.

“He has had a few injuries which is always difficult but he played 16 on the bounce for Rotherham and he had been suffering from a hernia that he’d had repaired and wasn’t fully right.

“Now he is OK, he is fully fit. He has not really had a proper pre-season so we don’t want to give him the old microwave fitness regime and give him a month’s training a week, because he will get injured. But we will get him doing his bits and he will be good.

“There’s lots to work with. And there is that thing where, if you have been at the top and your career just keeps spiralling for whatever reason, there’s got to be an end point to that.

“If you have got quality and belief and you’re prepared to work hard, then this is a really good place for you.

“Terry Connor will work with him in front of goal as he does with all the players and I think he has improved every single one of them.”


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