Ipswich: Mick McCarthy wants Jay Emmanuel-Thomas improvement

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy has called on Jay Emmanuel-Thomas to improve his work rate in a bid to win a place in the side.

The former Arsenal forward - nicknamed JET by supporters - has yet to start under new boss Mick McCarthy.

"He's Jay Emmanuel-Thomas to me," McCarthy told BBC Radio Suffolk.

"I've told him I'll call him JET when it looks like he has got a rocket up his backside. Until then it will be Jay to me."

The 21-year-old came off the bench in Saturday's 1-1 draw against Peterborough United and played in a central striker role, despite previous manager Paul Jewell often using him as a winger.

It is felt the former England Under-19 player is yet to fulfil the potential he showed as a youngster at the Emirates Stadium, despite a career that has now taken in 97 league games.

"We all know he could be anything he wants to be. He's got terrific ability and I need that out of him," said McCarthy.

"We can help him do that of course.

"We quite fancy him up the pitch as a centre forward. He's six foot three or four, a big powerful guy and he can run at people.

"It's getting him to get into the box, getting him to want to get into the box to get a goal. [Assistant manager] Terry Connor's been working with him on that."

Town, who dropped to 23rd in the Championship at the weekend, look set to be without midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker for Tuesday's visit of Nottingham Forest and Saturday's trip to Bolton.

The 28-year-old came off against Posh with a hamstring injury and is being assessed by Ipswich's medical staff.

"They didn't think it was as bad as they first thought," said McCarthy. "But there's no chance for Tuesday. And I would think no chance for the weekend.

"But we'll let him get assessed and we'll know a bit better."