|Millwall 0 v 0 Ipswich Town|
Monday, 1st April 2013 Kick-off 16:00
McCarthy Weighing Up Changes For Millwall Trip
Monday, 1st Apr 2013 06:00
Boss Mick McCarthy has been weighing up whether to make changes to his starting XI ahead of today’s visit to his old club Millwall (KO 3pm). The Blues manager was pleased to be in the position to rest some of his regulars during the second half of Saturday’s 3-0 home victory over Leeds.
Skipper Carlos Edwards, the oldest man in the squad at 34, and strike pair David McGoldrick and Daryl Murphy all made way with Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Michael Chopra and Frank Nouble coming on with the 10-man Whites all but beaten.
The squad were due in at Playford Road on Sunday where their condition was to be assessed with the Town boss hopeful that no one had picked up a new niggle after Saturday’s game.
In addition, winger Lee Martin’s three-match ban for his red card at Nottingham Forest has finally come to an end, while defender Patrick Kisnorbo is available again having been ineligible against his parent club on Saturday.
Speaking after Saturday's match McCarthy said he felt two games in three days was a tall order for players, so he was pleased to be able to make the changes: “It was good to get Jay on and it was good to get Chops and Frank on for 15 minutes.
“It is a big ask. Normally Monday is a recovery day, they normally come in and do very, very little because it’s two days before the Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, DOMS as they call it.
“Sunday you feel all right, it’s usually Monday you feel worse. They’ve gone off now for a bit of swimming and some food to try and help aid their recovery. But it’s a big ask, two games in two days.”
On Thursday McCarthy said he was concerned that Millwall would have an extra day to recover, the Lions having beaten Leicester 1-0 at the King Power Stadium on Friday evening.
“I was just getting my whinge in first,” the Town manager joked on Saturday. “I might as well do it before the game rather than wait until after.
“It’s always great then - if you’ve won you can say ‘And we had a day less in which to prepare as well!’.
“I don’t know [whether it will make a difference]. They played against 10 men, there’s another excuse for me there. That’s great, I’ll get them all in.”
Once again Town’s three points on Saturday was matched by several of the other sides in the relegation fight. McCarthy says all the Blues can do is concentrate on winning their own matches: “The whole league’s bonkers, to be fair.
“You can only take care of your own performances and your own game. You can worry like hell about everyone else’s, which we all do secretly.
“’How did Ipswich get on?’. ‘They’ve won’. That’s all that matters to me. You can’t do anything about other results.”
The division is, if anything, getting even tighter at both ends and he says there will be other weeks when all the teams battling one another will all fail to win: “What are we? [Eleven] points off the play-offs and four points from the bottom three? I’m not looking at the play-offs, believe me!
“There’ll be weeks when we lose and we come off and everybody else has lost. That’s been my experience throughout.
“It’s funny, the top teams just seem to be losing. I remember, when we won the Championship at Wolves, we didn’t win for 11 or 12 games.
“And every week we came off and we’d been beaten or we’d drawn and everybody else had as well, it was just crazy. And it seems a bit like that at the top now. The pressure’s there and it’s starting to tell.”
Scott Loach is set to continue in goal with the back four unlikely to be changed with Aaron Cresswell at left-back, Richard Stearman on the right and Tommy Smith, who was 23 yesterday, and Luke Chambers in the middle.
In midfield, McCarthy could look at bringing Guirane N’Daw in for Andy Drury or Luke Hyam, but the Blues boss seemed happy with his central pair on Saturday.
Jay Tabb will probably keep his place on the left, although it would be little surprise if Martin was used from the bench at some stage.
On the right, skipper Carlos Edwards looks set to start with Emmanuel-Thomas also appearing likely to play some role as a sub at some stage.
Up front, McCarthy could recall Nouble, who was lively from the bench on Saturday, in place of Murphy, alongside David McGoldrick, who will be hoping to add to Saturday’s two goals.
Millwall central defender Mark Beevers is back after a two-match suspension, while one-time Blues target Sean St Ledger is available having joined on loan from Leicester last week after missing Friday's game against his parent club.
Midfielder Chris Taylor (groin) is not expected to be fit, while another player previously targeted by Town, winger James Henry (knee), is definitely out, as are defenders Karleigh Osborne (hamstring) and Paul Robinson (groin).
Blues manager McCarthy was a Millwall player at the end of his career between 1990 and 1992, when he took over as boss. He remained manager at the Den until 1996 when he took charge of the Republic of Ireland.
McCarthy’s record as manager of the Lions reads played 203, won 74, drew 70 and lost 59. In 1993/94 they finished third in what’s now the Championship but lost out to Derby County in the play-off semi-finals.
Town coach Mark Kennedy started his playing career with Millwall, making 46 starts and eight sub appearances and scoring 12 goals between 1992 and 1995.
Ipswich-born Liam Trotter moved to the Den from Portman Road during the summer of 2010 after a loan spell, turning down a contract with the Blues.
Striker Andy Keogh had a trial with the Town academy when a schoolboy, while James Henry was the subject of a bid from former manager Paul Jewell in the summer of 2011.
Millwall have the better of it historically having won 18 games (17 in the league) and Town 17 (14), while 12 (12) have ended in draws.
The Lions, who face Wigan in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley in a fortnight, currently sit one place and one point above the Blues on 50 in 15th in the Championship.
In December at Portman Road, DJ Campbell scored twice and Daryl Murphy once as Town beat Millwall 3-0 to halt the Lions’ unbeaten run at 13 games.
The Blues went in front in the first half when Campbell converted Aaron Cresswell’s cross, then after the break Murphy netted the second and Campbell added the third from the penalty spot.
Last time at the Den, in October 2011, Jimmy Bullard netted a superb first goal of the season but Town fell to a deserved 4-1 defeat.
The home side were on top from the off, going two in front via Jay Simpson and Darius Henderson early on. Bullard pulled a goal back for the Blues after the break but Simpson’s second and the Lions' fourth from Liam Feeney soon after sealed a comfortable victory.
Today’s referee is Keith Stroud from Hampshire, who has shown 121 yellow cards and five red in 32 games so far this season. Stroud’s most recent Town game was the 6-0 defeat at Leicester in November when he booked only Nigel Reo-Coker.
Squad from: Loach, Lee-Barrett, Stearman, Hewitt, Cresswell, Mings, Chambers, Smith, Kisnorbo, R Brown, N’Daw, Drury, Hyam, Wordsworth, Tabb, Martin, Edwards, Emmanuel-Thomas, McGoldrick, Murphy, Nouble, Chopra, Mclean.
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