Sears: Wardy's Been Brilliant
Friday, 2nd Oct 2020 13:26
It’s nothing new for Freddie Sears to be partnered down Town’s left side by a talented full-back and veteran newcomer Stephen Ward is certainly no exception.
Former Republic of Ireland international Ward, 35, has caught the eye since arriving in the summer on a free transfer after departing Burnley, and Sears is looking forward to developing an even stronger relationship going forward.
Sears said: “Wardy is a quality player with loads of experience and he has been brilliant since he’s come in. It feels as if he’s been here a lot longer than he actually has.
“He’s been a Premier League and Championship player all his career, so he’s easy to play alongside. I’m enjoying it at the minute and looking forward to doing it more throughout the season.
“He’s right up there alongside the other left-backs I’ve played alongside for Ipswich – Tyrone Mings, Jonas Knudsen and Luke Garbutt. Wardy has played in the Premier League for a long time and he’s had a few promotions from the Championship as well.
“Like I said, the biggest compliment I can pay him is that he settled in straight away and got down to business without any issues.
“He’s played the games and hopefully he can stay fit throughout the season and our partnership will flourish.
“Wardy is also very vocal, in a positive way I mean, and that’s something we haven’t always had in my time at the club.
“As our skipper, Chambo is probably the most vocal in the team, but Wardy is so experienced as well that he has plenty of good advice to offer.
“With no fans present at games you can hear everything loud and clear. Wardy has embraced the situation from day one – he knows why he is here and has been terrific so far.”
Sears also praised 19-year-old central defender Mark McGuinness, who arrived from Arsenal last week on a season-long loan after impressing in the Gunners’ U21 side that defeated Town 2-1 in an EFL Trophy tie at Portman Road last month.
He added: “Everyone who watched Mark playing for Arsenal U21s against us in the EFL Trophy would have picked him out.
“He was head and shoulders above the rest really and our boys were commenting on how well he did, both during the game and after it as well.
“It’s good business by the club to bring him in on loan and hopefully he will make an impression.
“He’s only been here for just over a week and it’s tough for a new player when the team are winning, which means he is not getting an opportunity as early as he would like.
“But he has trained well and looked very good, and I can see him being a very good player for us.”
Asked how he was coping without the atmosphere normally provided by the crowd, Sears replied: “It’s a little bit weird and it makes it harder to get motivated. With the fans there you kick off and get into the zone straight away but the way things are at the moment it feels like a training game and it takes a bit of time to really get into it.
“But it can be an advantage as well, especially when you are away from home and it’s just 11 v 11 with no real advantage for the home side.
“We’re missing our own fans, of course, but we’re coping well as the results show. But the sooner the supporters are back, the better.”
Meanwhile, Sears is looking forward to tomorrow’s clash at MK Dons, who are managed by ex-Norwich captain Russell Martin, who was signed for the Canaries by Paul Lambert after the pair were also together at Wycombe Wanderers at the start of the Scot’s management career south of the border.
Sears said: “The first year I came to Ipswich Russell was still at Carrow Road and had been a big part of Norwich’s success. I remember the two play-off games and that was the closest we came to winning promotion from the Championship.
“Even now, when they pop up on Sky Sports now and again, they are hard to watch. But his Norwich connections go out of the window – we just want to beat MK Dons and it’s nothing to do with who’s the manager. We just want to get the three points and move on to the next game.
“After being out for a long time with my knee injury I am feeling really good. When the pandemic came along earlier this year it both helped and hindered me.
“I was just starting to get back to fitness when a little bit of time off turned into almost six months off.
“At the minute I’m feeling good but I still feel as if I’ve got a few gears to go. I’ve trained every day with no problems and I’m playing regularly, which I’m happy to be doing, so I’m just looking forward to staying injury-free hopefully.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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