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He's scored more league goals than Costa and Kane - but Murphy still needs to impress

Ipswich striker hoping to carry over his club form and catch Martin O’Neill’s eye.

Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

IT’S HARD TO think of many Irish players in better form than Daryl Murphy.

In fact, there’s nobody in English football’s top four divisions who has scored more than him in the league this season.

His 23 goals account for more than a third of Ipswich’s total in a Championship race that has already set a new bar for drama and excitement. Mick McCarthy’s side nudged their way back into the play-off places following Saturday’s win at Watford, but with seven games to play, there are still only eight points separating the top eight in the table.

Indispensable for club, it seems strange that Murphy arrives in Malahide this week as the man with most to prove. The established order of Robbie Keane and Shane Long is a tough one to shift, and when Martin O’Neill did show himself willing to change things up against Scotland, it was Jon Walters who got the nod to play in the hole behind Long.

Murphy knows that the best way to state his case to O’Neill is on the pitch.

“I’m not in his ear saying that [I should be picked] — hopefully my performances will show that,” he said after training in Malahide this morning.

We’ve still got quality players here that are playing at a higher level than I am. We’ve got good players here and I’m obviously happy to be in the squad.

“If I can do something, brilliant.”

The build-up to the Aviva Stadium clash with Poland is longer than usual with the squad together in camp for a full week before Sunday’s game.

For a man on the fringes like Murphy, it means more chances to catch the manager’s eye. There is still a lingering sense that he didn’t make the most of his opportunity when starting the November friendly win against the USA alongside Ipswich strike partner David McGoldrick.

“I obviously played in the last game, thought I could have done better, and maybe should have scored,” he said.

To get that start, and with David as well playing up front with me, it was nice.

“We’ve a week to prepare now for it and I need to show what I can do during that week and catch the eye.”

O’Neill has plenty to consider over the next few days. Murphy will want to give the manager one more headache, but for all the right reasons.

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About the author:

Niall Kelly

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