McKenna: Hirst Has Unique Role
Friday, 1st Dec 2023 17:00
Blues manager Kieran McKenna believes striker George Hirst plays a unique role for his team.
Hirst, 24, joined the club permanently in the summer for £1.5 million following a successful loan spell in the second half of last season having made it clear to his previous club Leicester City that there was only one place he wanted to go.
So far during 2023/24, the former England U17, U18, U19 and U20 international, the son of Sheffield Wednesday legend David, has scored four times but manager McKenna says his role is about more than just goals, the one-time Owls youngster having picked up a further five Championship assists.
“I don't even need to tell him it anymore, he feels the appreciation from the staff, he feels the appreciation from his teammates and he feels the appreciation from the supporters, you can feel it in the stadium,” McKenna said.
“The almost-30,000 Ipswich fans know exactly what they're getting from him at the moment in the game, so he's feeling the appreciation from everyone.
“Of course, he would have liked to have scored a few more goals, a couple of chances that in another season might have gone in, I think he could have had a couple of more penalties for sure and there have been some good saves against him.
“But that's one part of the job and I think the role that he does leading the line for us, it’s a unique balance really. There are not many strikers who are 6ft 3in tall but can also stretch the game and run behind like he can.
“And he's really worked hard to improve his build-up back to play, holding off defenders or dropping to connect with the midfield.
“He's got an important role on set plays, he's got a really important role in this team and he's really developed as a player.
“I don't need to speak to him all the time on that, he knows that we appreciate him, his teammates appreciate him, and he knows that the supporters appreciate him as well.”
Town have spread the goals around with 17 players having found the net in all competitions this season, 14 in the Championship.
“I think that's one of the biggest things that we've worked on, especially probably after my first four months here in League One where we didn't score in those few months,” McKenna continued.
“We played really well, but we didn't score as many goals as the performances probably warranted.
“So it's been a big, big emphasis over a long period of time now, being a goal threat in different ways.
“Being able to score with balls in behind, being able to score with central combinations like we did the other night, being able to score from low crosses.
“It was nice to see us score from high cross the other night with the first goal and the nod back [from Hirst].
“Being able to score from counter-attacks, being able to score from set players, being able to score from outside the box. Jack Taylor has come in now and especially gives us another dimension on that.
“It's been a big focus of the work day-to-day of the recruitment, of everything, of having a lot of different weapons and ways to score goals, and I think that always puts you in a better position as a team.”
Photo: Matchday Images
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 295 bloggers
Opposition Preview - Rotherham United (Home) by ad_wilkin
Rotherham are stranded at the bottom of the table on 19 points and should be there for the taking in this Tuesday night game at Portman Road.
Opposition Preview - Millwall (Away) by ad_wilkin
Valentine's Day at the Den, what could be more romantic that that? That’s Ipswich’s situation on Wednesday as they take on a Lions side trying to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle.
Opposition Preview - West Bromwich Albion (Home) by ad_wilkin
It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was writing about a first-v-second clash. As we come into this one against West Bromwich Albion, it’s now fourth-v-fifth.
Opposition Preview - Preston North End (Away) by ad_wilkin
It’s a return to league action and a much-needed chance to bounce back from an embarrassing FA Cup exit on Saturday. Town didn’t play too badly and had enough chances to win four or five games but were undone twice on the counter by some clinical Maidstone finishes.
Opposition Preview - Maidstone United by ad_wilkin
The magic of the cup will be present at Portman Road in a lunchtime kick-off this Saturday as National League South side Maidstone make the journey from Kent.
Ipswich Town Polls
[ Vote here ]