TOM’S ON A HOT STREAK
Ipswich loanee finds new year spark
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.”
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.
“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.”
BLUE HEAVEN: Ipswich’s Tom Lawrence evades a challenge against Bristol City and, insets, opens the scoring and celebrates against QPR
POSITIVE: Mick McCarthy