TOM’S ON A HOT STREAK

Ip­swich loa­nee finds new year spark

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE: - By Luke Baker

TOM LAWRENCE has al­ways been con­vinced that a run of goalscor­ing form was just around the cor­ner. And, af­ter em­bark­ing on a re­cent hot streak, the Ip­swich Town mid­fielder hopes the pow­ers-that-be at par­ent club Le­ices­ter City are sit­ting up and tak­ing no­tice.

Hav­ing joined Ip­swich on loan in the sum­mer, Lawrence pro­duced a se­ries of con­sis­tently im­pres­sive dis­plays in the Cham­pi­onship but only net­ted twice in his first 18 ap­pear­ances.

Yet, as soon as the cal­en­dar flipped to 2017, some­thing clicked for the Welsh wiz­ard as he plun­dered five goals in the first three games of the new year, scor­ing once in a 2-1 loss to QPR, twice in a 2-2 FA Cup draw with Lin­coln and twice in a 3-2 vic­tory over Black­burn.

The 23-year-old can’t put his fin­ger on ex­actly what has changed, but he’s happy to go with the flow.

“The last few weeks I’ve been scor­ing goals, so I’m feel­ing con­fi­dent,” said Lawrence, who scored in the 1-1 draw at Pre­ston yes­ter­day.

“Since I’ve come to Ip­swich I feel like I’ve been play­ing re­ally well but I haven’t quite got the goals or as­sists I’ve de­served. Yet the goals have been flow­ing in the past few games, which is re­ally good.

“I want to keep my as­sists go­ing and my goal tally go­ing up­wards and I should be in good shape if that hap­pens. Since I’ve been at Le­ices­ter I’ve not re­ally been given a chance, so hope­fully they will see some­thing in my re­cent form and I will get my chance.

“I’m very con­fi­dent I can adapt to the Premier League and, hope­fully, I’ll have that op­por­tu­nity sooner rather than later.”

In­quiries

Lawrence is some­thing of a se­rial loa­nee since mov­ing to last sea­son’s Premier League cham­pi­ons Le­ices­ter from Manch­ester United in 2014.

He has had tem­po­rary spells at Rother­ham, Black­burn and Cardiff, yet he’s re­ally turned heads at Trac­tor Boys this term – at­tract­ing in­quiries from Premier League and up­per-end Cham­pi­onship clubs. The Wales in­ter­na­tional is on a sea­son-long loan at Port­man Road, though this could be cut short, and says that play­ing un­der man­ager Mick McCarthy has brought his game on leaps and bounds. “Ev­ery place I’ve been on loan, I’ve learned some­thing dif­fer­ent,” added Lawrence. “I’m en­joy­ing it. I’m learn­ing and, hope­fully, that can carry on.

“I’m get­ting bet­ter from each one. I’m play­ing as well as I have done since go­ing on loan and I want that to con­tinue.

“We’ve got a group of lads here and the man­ager strives for us to be pos­i­tive ev­ery week.

“He’s up there as one of the best man­agers I have been with.

“He was a mas­sive part of me com­ing here on loan. Hope­fully, we can start get­ting the re­sults we de­serve now.”

As Lawrence al­ludes to, the re­sults have not been there for Ip­swich, who sit firmly in midtable, 11 points off the play-offs head­ing into the week­end.

The Trac­tor Boys are yet to record back-to-back vic­to­ries this term, while they also sufthe fered an em­bar­rass­ing FA Cup third round exit at the hands of Na­tional League out­fit Lin­coln City.

Lawrence be­lieves the Cham­pi­onship is as tough as it has ever been. And, while a play-off push is still not out of the ques­tion, the mid­fielder’s not get­ting ahead of him­self.

Qual­ity

“We’ll win one week and then lose the next. We just need that con­sis­tency, that run of games, of back-to-back wins that will push us the right way,” ex­plained Lawrence.

“The Cham­pi­onship this year is the hard­est it’s go­ing to be, with some re­ally qual­ity teams spend­ing big money.

“I don’t think we can look at the play-offs yet, but we just need to keep go­ing, keep get­ting those wins and, if that hap­pens, we’ll be in the right di­rec­tion.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

BLUE HEAVEN: Ip­swich’s Tom Lawrence evades a chal­lenge against Bris­tol City and, insets, opens the scor­ing and cel­e­brates against QPR

POS­I­TIVE: Mick McCarthy

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