Ipswich Town: Freddie Ladapo on January, awards and Cambridge clash
The Blues No. 9 was named Player of the Month by fans earlier this week after scoring three goals and a string of consistently good performances in January.
It’s been a week of celebrations for Ladapo, who turned 30 on Wednesday and is in a good place as the race for promotion from the first division heats up.
“It’s been a wonderful week and month for me,” said Ladapo after scoring against Rotherham in the FA Cup and then scoring a brace against Morecambe.
“With my birthday and the fans celebrating the award, it was great. I think I’ve had some good performances this month which is key to my progress and what I’m trying to do this season.
“I’ve been nominated before, which is also a sign of what I’ve done this season, but then actually winning it is another step for me. I’m really thankful for the fans who voted for me.
“I’ve felt good and confident and feel like I’m improving in many areas by doing the things I was brought here to do.
“That’s why I felt confident all month.”
Ladapo was recently praised by his manager for how he has adapted to life in Ipswich. Kieran McKenna said the forward is “a different player than he was six months ago”.
“When you go from a different style of play to a new one like mine, it takes some getting used to,” Ladapo said.
“But sooner or later you’ll deal with it – even more so if you’re open.
“There was more possession than I was used to and I learned to develop different moves and do different things than I would have done at Rotherham.
“It was a beautiful change, a change I wished for and I was very happy with how it went.”
Ladapo’s January goals put him 13th for the season, nine in the league and put him two behind Conor Chaplin in the race for Town’s golden boot.
“It might be a bit of a silent competition, but I’m sure we look at each other every time we both score because one is chasing the other,” Ladapo said of his fight with Chaplin, before exploring the impact of the Town’s January signings.
“Competition is healthy because when you’re on the pitch it gives you that extra bit of motivation to know that someone is doing something and you have to do your part.
“It helps motivate you on the pitch because you know someone is fighting for your position and is fighting to help the team in the same way that you are doing it.
“The new guys have settled in well and have put in some good performances. Hopefully they can continue to help us improve.”
Next up for Town is a visit to Cambridge, where Ipswich will be cheered on by a packed away game at Abbey Stadium and around 2,000 fans watching the game from Portman Road.
“Nothing less than a win is required,” Ladapo said of the game. “That goes for a lot of games for the rest of the season, even games like Sheffield Wednesday. We need to keep gaining momentum.
“This is the time of the season where you see who is looking to retire and who is struggling for form or confidence so we have to focus on retiring.
“It’s not that far for us so I’m sure it will feel a bit like a home game so I’m really looking forward to that game.”