MAGIC MUR­PHY

Ip­swich’s Daryl Mur­phy on try­ing to em­u­late for­mer stars like John Wark

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Jamie Holt

DARYL Mur­phy has had a les­son in Ip­swich’s rich his­tory over the past week – and the in-form striker ad­mits he is des­per­ate to write his own name into club folk­lore.

Ted Phillips, Ray Craw­ford and John Wark are names that roll off the tongue for most Trac­tor Boys fans. The trio are top of the all-time scor­ing charts and be­tween them rat­tled in an eye-wa­ter­ing 589 goals for the Suffolk side.

The 31-year-old will have to go some to wrest his way onto that list, but his own stunning re­turn so far this sea­son has brought mem­o­ries of the old guard’s past glo­ries flood­ing back.

Mur­phy’s sea­son tally stood at 21 be­fore this week­end, and he al­ready knows all about Wark – the lively 57-year-old still pops his head through the Port­man Road door ev­ery week.Yet the names of Craw­ford and Phillips – with 218 and 181 Town goals re­spec­tively – be­came more res­o­nant to Mur­phy last week when boss Mick McCarthy chal­lenged the for­mer Celtic for­ward to “be­come a leg­end”.

Mur­phy is al­ready the first Ip­swich player to break the 20-goal mark since Mar­cus Ste­wart (pic­tured above right) in 2001. And the Repub­lic of Ire­land in­ter­na­tional says he’s now got Wark’s 1981 tally of 36 in his sights.

“To even be men­tioned in the same sen­tence as th­ese club leg­ends is an hon­our for me,” ad­mit­ted Mur­phy. “But the gaffer has chal­lenged me to go past 30 goals and there are plenty of games left.

“I know the names of the guys, Ray Craw­ford and Ted Phillips, but I’ve not seen much of them play. I know John, though, he’s still around the club and we see him maybe a cou­ple of times a week.He’s a char­ac­ter and a re­ally nice fella, and he’s been on to me and given me a lot of sup­port.”

While records are all well and good, Mur­phy was quick to point out the ul­ti­mate prize was a re­turn to the Pre­mier League.

The last time the for­mer Sun­der- land striker stepped foot in the topflight was over five years ago and he wants to put that right.

“Ev­ery­thing is go­ing well at the mo­ment for me and for the club, I’m scor­ing but the main thing is the club is do­ing well,” he added.

“We have to keep our per­for­mances up be­tween now and the end of the sea­son and see where it takes us. Pro­mo­tion is the main aim, but we have to re­main con­sis­tent and not get ahead of our­selves.”

It’s even longer since Mur­phy played a com­pet­i­tive game for Ire­land. In fact you have to ven­ture all the way back to Oc­to­ber 2007 – a goal­less draw at home to Ger­many in the Euro 2008 qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign.

The ex-Celtic for­ward has re­cently made a come­back to Martin O’Neill’s squad with three friendly ap­pear­ances against Oman, Gi­bral­tar and USA book­end­ing 2014.

Cru­cial

But with France 2016 on the hori­zon, Mur­phy is keen to stake his claim with a cru­cial qual­i­fier against Poland on March 29 now around the cor­ner.

“I’m in the form of my life, it’s the most con­sis­tent I’ve been over the course of a sea­son so far,” con­tin­ued Mur­phy, who has 14 caps for his coun­try.

“I’ve lacked that con­sis­tency to my game in large parts of my ca­reer, but it’s nice to be find­ing the net and great to be back in­volved with Ire­land.

“The game against Poland will be mas­sive, the group is so tight, but I know I need to keep pro­duc­ing for Ip­swich to force my way in.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

HUNT­ING GOALS: Daryl Mur­phy scores against Wolves and, inset, Ip­swich leg­end John Wark

PROUD: Play­ing for the Repub­lic of Ire­land against Turkey

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