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Ipswich Town 3 v 0 Leeds United
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 30th March 2013 Kick-off 15:00
McCarthy: Squad Looking Sharp and Focused
Friday, 29th Mar 2013 06:00

Manager Mick McCarthy says his squad look “sharp and focused” as they go into the first fixture of the Easter period, Saturday’s home game against Leeds United, the club he supported as a boy.

The Blues boss has been pleased with the work on the training field but says he won’t know whether the two-week break since the 1-0 victory over Bolton has done them good until after the matches: “Who knows? We’ve got to go and play the games.

“If we win two, it’s been a great time, if we win one and draw one. If we draw them both, if we lose one, everybody will say ‘Should you have done this or that’.

“We’ve prepared properly. We’ve trained Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, which was terrific, they looked sharp and all focused. You can’t do any more than that. Let the games commence!”

McCarthy is pleased that while loanee Patrick Kisnorbo is unavailable against Leeds, his parent club, and Lee Martin has one game of his suspension remaining, Frank Nouble is back from his hamstring strain, Anthony Wordsworth is training after his back problem and Elliott Hewitt is over his hip injury, meaning that striker Paul Taylor (foot) is the only player currently sidelined with a knock.

“What’s nice is that we’ve got 21 outfield players who can all play because Saturday-Monday is a big ask to play,” McCarthy said.

“[Monday’s opponents] Millwall are playing on Friday night and they get an extra day’s rest, and it does make a difference.

“It’s good that I’ve got everybody fit, Frank fit, Woody fit, and I’ve got options if I want to change it.”

McCarthy was delighted and relieved to win the Bolton game prior to the break: “It was great and I was pleased, it was a big, big win.

"And when we came off and saw the other results, then you knew how big a win it was, everybody else around us won just about. I was delighted and I hope I’ve got similar feelings on Saturday.

“The lads have worked very hard,” he added. “Every week we get the stats back and we’ve outworked every team we’ve played against.

“It doesn’t make you a great football team, but it makes you hard to beat, it makes you consistent at least in terms of the level of performances, which I think we’ve produced.”

Since the Bolton game Blackburn have changed manager yet again and McCarthy would be happy to see further disruption at any of the other clubs battling for survival: “I sincerely hope that anybody that has got problems they’re multiplied and it helps our cause.

“I want to stay up. I’m not interested in anybody else, I just want Ipswich to stay in the league and it’s not cut and dried yet.”

McCarthy was a Leeds fan growing up but he insists that these days he only has eyes for one club: “Describing me as a big Leeds United fan now would be a little bit short of the truth. I’m an Ipswich fan.

“I don’t give a flying fart about any others, none of them that I’ve played for, I managed, none of them. If I’m playing against them, my loyalties are with the team I’m playing for or I’m managing.

“I was a big fan back in 1967 when I was eight and nine, in 1969 when they won the league and all that, that great Leeds team.”

As regards the Whites' prospects this season, he feels they still have an outside chance of extending their season: “They’ve flirted with the play-offs, at one stage of the season they were right up in the top six, but then they fell way and were down near us for a spell.

“When they beat us at Elland Road it elevated them somewhat and they had a good run then. It’s this league, I don’t know. It’s a grind and certainly with Neil Warnock, they’ll just grind results out.

“I guess he’ll see it that if they come here and win they could be back on the tail of the play-offs. But we’re looking at it for something different, we want to try and ensure our safety and three points would help.”

The Blues boss has confirmed that he’ll start with Scott Loach in goal, while the defence picks itself with Richard Stearman and Aaron Cresswell the full-backs and Tommy Smith and Luke Chambers the centre-halves.

In midfield, McCarthy has decisions to make with Anthony Wordsworth having impressed him in training and Guirane N’Daw back in the frame. Andy Drury and Luke Hyam took up the central roles against Bolton and the Blues boss may stick with those two against Leeds and perhaps look at changes at Millwall. Jay Tabb and skipper Carlos Edwards are again likely to be in the wide roles.

The Town boss also has options up front. Either he could stick with the David McGoldrick-Daryl Murphy partnership from the Bolton game or he could recall Frank Nouble – probably alongside McGoldrick – the January signing from Wolves having impressed at Peterborough prior to his injury.

Leeds manager Neil Warnock says his team will continue to fight for a play-off place while they still have a chance. The Whites are currently in 10th on 52 points, seven off the top six.

“We’ve got to throw ourselves into every game and see what happens,” he said. “I’ve told the players that no one should be giving up. All we can do is aim for one big push.

“We’re relatively injury free and we’ve got eight games to go. I don’t want anyone thinking they can slacken off. Promotion’s highly unlikely but while there’s a chance, we’ll keep on going.”

Strikers Ross McCormack and Steve Morison are back in training after head and calf injuries respectively with the former appearing more likely to start than the ex-Norwich frontman.

Midfielder Rodolph Austin has been on international duty with Jamaica and is not expected back until today and may be rested. Leigh Bromby and Davide Somma (both knee) are long-term absentees.

Historically, Leeds have the superior record in the fixture, winning 28 (27 in the league) clashes between the teams. Town have been victorious on 23 (18) occasions and 19 (16) games have ended in draws.

In December, goals from Jerome Thomas and Paul Green saw Leeds to a 2-0 win at Elland Road. The home side had the better of the first half with Thomas’s backheel giving them the lead at the break.

The Blues dominated possession for much of the second period but were unable to get on terms before Green added the second.

At Portman Road in August 2011, Jason Scotland and Keith Andrews scored the goals as Town came from behind to beat 10-man Leeds 2-1.

The visitors dominated the first half and went in front via Ross McCormack, but after the break Leeds had Aidan White sent off for pulling down Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Scotland and then Andrews’s deflected last-minute strike saw Town to the points.

On-loan defender Patrick Kisnorbo and new signing Jason Brown are the only members of the Blues squad to have played for Leeds, the latter on loan for a short spell in 2010, although assistant manager Terry Connor was with his hometown club between 1979 and 1983, scoring 22 goals in 108 games.

Fitness coach Andy Liddell is also from Leeds and supports the Whites, his father Gary having been a player at Elland Road.

Former Town skipper David Norris is the only man in the Leeds squad to have played for the Blues. Norris left Portman Road on a Bosman for Portsmouth in the summer of 2011 after making 114 starts and four sub appearances, scoring 16 goals. He joined Leeds last summer after Pompey’s relegation.

Saturday’s referee is James Adcock from Nottinghamshire, who has shown 78 yellow and four red cards in 29 games so far this season. He has never previously taken control of a Town match.

Squad from: Loach, Lee-Barrett, Stearman, Hewitt, Cresswell, Mings, Chambers, Smith, R Brown, N’Daw, Drury, Hyam, Wordsworth, Tabb, Edwards, Emmanuel-Thomas, McGoldrick, Murphy, Nouble, Chopra, Mclean.

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PJewellisaGod added 07:42 - Mar 29
Loach,
Stearman, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell,
Hyam, N'Daw
Edwards, JET
Nouble, Murphy

Hope Norris has a sensationally bad game for them....

Prediction Ipswich 2-0 Leeds
Norris (o.g. 27), Nouble (64)
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bluemikey100 added 07:58 - Mar 29
focused and ready for a 1-0 win
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Len_Brennan added 08:11 - Mar 29
I don't give a flying fart whether Norris has a bad game or not, as long as we get 3 points from the game. We can still finish in the top half of the table, or very close to it, if we keep getting results. Not only would that fill the players with confidence for a good start next season, it might help convince some of Mick's targets that this is a club with serious prospects for 2013/14 season.
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wkj added 09:57 - Mar 29
I am sharp and focused for my 30th on the 16th... I hope the boys in blue will be ready to help my p$$$ up of to a flyer :D
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shiminywho added 10:00 - Mar 29
Will be on the lookout for 'flying farts' tomorrow! Mick - you are a legendary interviewee, don't ever change! COYB.
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runningout added 14:01 - Mar 29
'Squad looking sharp and focused' Trying to remember when we last looked that way.. Cant remember that far back! ITFC 0 : 2 LUFC :/
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jas0999 added 15:07 - Mar 29
Yet another big game. Looking at the fixtures, and our recent home record against Leeds - this looks like one of the winnable games. Best of luck lads!
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WorcesterBlue added 16:34 - Mar 29
I fear the worst as Leeds are such a big club with amazing support a fantastic heritage and reputation and money bags foriegn owners.....ohhang on I forgot, they'll be crap as usual and their moronic fans will be sent back up the motorway with their tails between their legs....along with "legend in his own lifetime" Warnock. 3-1 Town. Bring on the Millwall!
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TimmyH added 17:15 - Mar 29
That's what I like to hear...another toughy but if we can beat Leicester, Bolton etc..Leeds too are for the taking.
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Talbs77 added 21:09 - Mar 29
In my opinion this is our most important game so far this season.

Looking at our run in, I think this is a MUST win game.

After Leeds were away at Millwall and Derby which, looking at our current away form, looks tough.

We then have home games to Hull and Palace who will be fighting to stay in top 6 (or even top 2!).

Not trying to sound too negative, just commenting we have a tough looking run in, saying that, I think we will be ok. I can see us getting the required 7 points (in my opinion) required to stay up.
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sixtouchfootball added 01:52 - Mar 30
I can see 2 win over Easter. Both close games but us nicking both. Ugly wins to improve the chance of survival! 6 points over Easter will make us almost safe....I hope.
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bluemikey100 added 01:56 - Mar 30
have some hard games comin up but have a full squad almost to choose from so sure we get few more wins we lookin as strong as a FLYIN FART
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TimmyH added 11:00 - Mar 30
Yep important game - we don't look like scoring away (in fact we don't) so important we get 3 points today to take the pressure of some what at Millwall on Monday.
Bad news is I have Cardiff to win in a treble accumulator and the other two have come through so expect Posh to get something out of today's game. :0
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wkj added 12:05 - Mar 30
every game is now the most important game now :) so important I'm having spaghetti hoops for tea
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bluemikey100 added 12:12 - Mar 30
see dj cambell out for season with metatarsal glad his goals while on loan here probably saved us or we already b doomed
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