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Morsy: Kieffer and Ali Great Signings
Friday, 9th Feb 2024 18:18

Skipper Sam Morsy has hailed the recent arrival of new strikers Kieffer Moore and Ali Al Hamadi, insisting they can both be key players in what remains of the season with Town still very much in the hunt for automatic promotion to the Premier League.

Moore, back at Portman Road on loan from Bournemouth, netted twice after coming off the bench at half-time last week as the Blues trailed 3-0 at Preston, while Al Hamadi cost an initial £1 million from League Two outfit Wimbledon and was a late substitute at Deepdale as Town tried in vain to salvage at least a point.

The league defeat, only the club’s fourth in the Championship this season, came on the back of an embarrassing FA Cup exit by non-league Maidstone, which leaves Town in the rare situation of looking to avoid a hat-trick of consecutive losses when they take on promotion rivals West Bromwich Albion at home tomorrow.

Asked if last week’s second-half display provided encouragement ahead of the Baggies’ visit, 32-year-old midfielder Morsy said: “Yes, definitely. Obviously, it was a tough away game and the first half wasn’t ideal. I think the manager alluded to it when he said that everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong.

“Some things we need to do better, for sure, but there was a bit of bad luck in there as well with a few decisions from the referee that he later apologised for – not that it makes it any better.

“Everything seemed to go against us in the first half but I thought we showed really good character to our principles, scored two goals and on another day could have nicked a draw.”

Town looked a different team after the break and Morsy added: “It had to be about sticking to what we do. If there’s anything guaranteed in football it’s in those moments and how you react.

“Like I said, there were a couple of things out of our hands, but certainly, of the things that were in our hands, we wanted to improve and we wanted to do better.

“I just think the spirit of the team and the club is that the lads will never back down. When you go three-nil down at half-time it can easily go four or five-nil and then it’s a disaster, but we kept very strong and we gave it a go.

“We stuck to our identity and the two lads who came on did brilliantly. Kieffer got a brace and Ali nearly scored as well, so there were lots of positives. Obviously, it’s never nice to lose a game and we were disappointed, but it just adds more fuel to the fire.

“I think Ali’s a brilliant signing, to be honest. He’s only young but he’s very mature for his age. His background is such that he’s very happy to be here.

“He’s hungry and he’s looked really good in training, he’s lightning fast and he’s a finisher. I’m describing a really good player here, aren’t I? But he is good, he wants to do well and he’s got a great attitude.

“He’s very, very mature for his age; he’s not your normal 21-year-old. I’m expecting a really big second half of the season from him to be honest. He’s ready and you could see when he came on at Preston, he attacked everything well, he was powerful and he was aggressive. He’s going to be a really good signing.”

Asked if the former Tranmere youth player could become a key man in Town’s remaining 16 league games, Morsy said: “Yes, 100 per cent. He’s come here and got stuck in straight away. He’s a very confident lad, like most Scousers are really; they settle in quickly and that’s what he has done.

“He’s certainly added something to the dressing room as well, so that’s great, and he’s fearless as well. He should be as well because he’s done really well to earn this move and he’s just going to keep kicking on and produce what’s got him the move.”

Al Hamadi and Morsy have known each other for some time, with the club captain adding: “I met him a few years ago now to be fair and we always kept in touch on social media. I’ve always said to him that if there’s anything you need, please contact me because I’m happy to help you.

“He’s such a good young lad as well and he has a really infectious attitude. He wants to do really well and, as I said, he’s really mature and a funny guy. It’s great to have him on board really and obviously I’ll help him as much as I can to develop as a player and as a person.”

Morsy and Moore also go back a few years, to their time together at Wigan, with the former laughing: “I got him his move – no, not really. But Kieffer is a really good lad and from his time at Wigan he’s been promoted to the Premier League, played in the World Cup and played in the Euros. He’s really redefined his game.

“He’s obviously always had the raw attributes – great athlete, great at the back stick but he’s good with his feet as well. He’s a goalscorer and he’s taken to it straight away.

“He really wanted to come here, he’s really positive, he knows a lot of the lads and he’s a really positive influence.

“I remember a goal he scored for Bournemouth against [Nottingham] Forest, which was ultimately the decisive goal to get them to the Premier League, so he’s got that experience as well. He’s really hungry, so it’s another great signing.

“He just gives you an extra dimension really. I think you always have to be flexible and I think when a player brings outstanding attributes to the team you have to use them, otherwise you’d be silly not to. There’d be no point using him.

“He’s going to give us different options, defensively and offensively. It’s about doing what we do because it’s got us to a really strong position, but also utilising his strengths as well.”

Meanwhile, Morsy has not entirely given up hope of adding to his collection of Egyptian international caps after being excluded from their squad for the African Cup of Nations, a tournament in which they made an unexpectedly early exit.

Morsy was reported beforehand to have made himself unavailable for the tournament being hosted by the Ivory Coast, but clarified: “I didn’t really hear from them, to be honest. I didn’t get called up for the previous two camps so it was very unlikely that I’d be called up. Then a midfielder dropped out and I didn’t get called up.

“The manager, who’s been sacked, has just come out and said it’s very political, upstairs advising who he could call up, and every manager has had this problem, to be honest.

“Unfortunately, politics comes a lot into it and it’s always hard, especially as I’ve seen it first-hand as well.

“It’s never clear-cut, it’s never how you think it is, but I guess that’s football in whole, but [former manager] Rui [Vitória] came with a good reputation.

“An older guy, they’ve just appointed a new Egyptian who used to play and used to be good [Hossam Hassan, Egypt’s all-time top goalscorer], so we’ll see how they get on.”

Asked if he was still open to selection, he added: “Yes, still open to any caps, but I think it becomes more difficult now because, again, it’s very political in who they want to be called up and the pressure on, whatever.

“It’s quite funny actually; you speak to anyone in the Arab world, and you hear the same stories, really.”

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MK1 added 18:32 - Feb 9
I would totally agree.

Gforce added 18:46 - Feb 9
High praise indeed for our two new strikers,if they can achieve even half of what our January 23 signings managed, then we should remain right up there,to the bitter end.

Linkboy13 added 09:00 - Feb 10
Two very different types of strikers Kieffer Moore is a more central penalty box poacher and Al Hamadi i can see playing a more wider role he likes to pick the ball up front deeper positions and use his pace very much like a Dalien Atkinson type of player what a great player he was described by Andy Townsend as the best player never to play for England. I think Al Hamadi will start on the bench and come on for a tiring Burns on the right.


blueboy1981 added 11:49 - Feb 10
We have to focus now on being strong enough to keep in, and WIN the Play Off’s - an Automatic Promotion spot, unless by some strange quirk of fate, has realistically gone.
The next Nine results need to be a 100% improvement on the most recent Nine anyway.

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