When Mick McCarthy joined Ipswich he made sure he took Terry Connor with him and I believe we are starting to fully understand why.
It is widely known that Connor specialises as a finishing coach and throughout this season you can tell his hard work with the players is paying off.
First of all, the statistics don’t lie and Ipswich have consistently been one of the top scorers in the division, right now they are only three other teams in the division that have scored more goals than Town. The Tractor Boys have scored 28 goals so far, eight more than QPR and two less than league leaders Leicester.
Secondly, you only have to ask any Ipswich player about Terry Connor to realise how highly regarded he is. David McGoldrick announced earlier in the season that Connor was one of the best he has ever worked with and has spoken about the effort that the assistant manager puts into his shooting drills.
McCarthy himself has also paid tribute to his second in command on a number of occasions and recognises that he owes at least some of his success to Connor.
Additionally, the Suffolk side are now impressing other managers with the amount of shots they are getting on target every game and it is a clear improvement on last season when they were the divisions lowest scoring team.
Whilst the Ipswich manager has made a lot of changes in personnel to improve the side, therefore naturally increasing their goal scoring potential, I still believe that the assistant manager has had an equal part to play in this improvement.
We have already established that the team are scoring more frequently as a unit, but if you also look at two of the clubs first team strikers then Connor’s impact becomes even more prominent.
Daryl Murphy has always somewhat struggled for goals throughout his whole career; before this season he had scored 17 goals in 90 league games for Ipswich.
Admittedly he did play some of those games as a wide man, but the fact that he already has five goals this season when he hasn’t played every game goes to show he has improved in front of goal.
Frank Nouble is another player who may well be starting to improve due to Connor’s hard work on the training field. Nouble has failed to make much of an impression in the early days of his Ipswich career. However, there are signs that he could be turning into more of a goal threat as he has now hit the back of the net twice in his last four appearances, three of which were as a substitute.
It also is great to see that the fans appreciate the importance of the current assistant manager too. It appears that Connor’s name is chanted just as much as McCarthy’s at Portman Road and deservedly so.
It is usually difficult to analyse the coaching staff’s influence on a team, but all of the above provides strong evidence that Terry Connor has been made a huge difference to the team since joining Ipswich.