Ipswich Town forward James Norwood is confident of turning around his fortunes at Portman Road, with injuries plaguing his time with the Suffolk side since his arrival.
30-year-old Norwood joined the Tractor Boys on a free transfer from Tranmere Rovers in 2019, signing a three-year contract with the option of a fourth. The striker scored 90 goals in a four-year spell at his former club, making this signing one of the bargains of that summer.
However, for someone who was expected to a key player for Paul Cook’s side, Norwood has made just 61 appearances in two seasons and has gone through multiple surgeries and setbacks, failing to make the impact the club desired when they first offered him a contract.
Ipswich Town quiz: One question about every player in the Tractorboys’ first-team – Can you score 100% on this?
The 30-year-old still has one year left on his deal though – and is determined to make it third time lucky and he enters his third season in Suffolk. Speaking to the East Anglian Daily Times on whether Ipswich fans have seen the best of him yet and his recent injury record, he said: “No, not at all.
“When we start playing a bit more freely we create chances and I can be a real handful, especially if we get the ball forward into good areas.
“It’s been two frustrating years for me with injuries so if I can just get a full season under my belt then that’s a win.
“People will think I’m crocked now but that’s far from the truth. If I can get a full season now and, if the gaffer’s got his claws into us, then I can show what I’m all about.
“I believe if I get the service then I’ll score goals.
“The goals don’t change size, they don’t move, so if people put the ball in the box I’m confident I can score. I fully back myself.”
There is plenty of reason for Norwood to be this optimistic, with the forward still scoring 21 goals in those 61 appearances for his current club and if he can stay fit, he could bag himself a hatful of goals in the next campaign.
The former Tranmere striker also provided an injury update on himself as manager Cook prepares to recall his side from their holidays for pre-season.
“I’ve got a long rehab programme for over the summer, so hopefully I’ll come back next season firing,” Norwood continued.
“I’ve arranged a programme with the guy who got me back from my groin injury, to go and see him for a few weeks, so hopefully that can help get me prepared for the season.
“It’s been frustrating because I had a long injury lay-off at the back end of last season (2019/20) and then coming into this one put a few games together on the spin. That’s been few and far between but, when I have played, I’ve tended to find the back of the net.”
Fans at Portman Road will be hoping this optimism translates into goals next season as the League One club look to improve on the 9th place finish they achieved last season.
Norwood’s fitness could decide whether Ipswich Town reach the playoffs next season or not.
Although his current goalscoring record with the Tractor Boys doesn’t quite match up to Jonson Clarke-Harris and Charlie Wyke who scored 31 and 26 goals respectively last season, just a 10-goal contribution to stay in line with his average total in Suffolk could be very important with his club missing out on the playoff by just five points last season.
However, if the 30-year-old can shake off the injuries sustained in the last couple of years, he could easily approach the 20-goal mark next year as he looks to impress in the final year of his contract. If he can, then he may just guide the Tractor Boys back to the Championship.