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McCarthy to Return to More Familiar Side at Cardiff
Friday, 11th Jan 2013 11:51
Manager Mick McCarthy is set to return to a more familiar-looking side when the Blues travel to take on Championship leaders Cardiff City on Saturday, but is forced into making at least two changes from the team which lost 3-0 to Brighton in their last league game. Keeper Stephen Henderson has an ankle injury and DJ Campbell is back at QPR, while Patrick Kisnorbo, David McGoldrick, Aaron Mclean and Frank Nouble have been added to the squad since the New Year's Day defeat.
McCarthy has confirmed that Scott Loach, who impressed his new boss in his first game under his management in the much-changed FA Cup line-up at Aston Villa last week, will keep his place between the sticks. The former Watford man's last league appearance came in the 2-1 home defeat to the Bluebirds in October.
Henderson’s loan from West Ham is up after Saturday with the Irishman facing around two weeks on the sidelines. The 24-year-old is keen to return to Portman Road, while McCarthy is similarly interested in extending his spell, although concerned by the prospect of a 24-hour recall clause in any further loan.
At the back, despite Elliott Hewitt doing well in his full Town debut at Villa Park, McCarthy has confirmed that Bradley Orr, whose loan has been extended until the end of the season, will come back into the side.
“Bradley’s playing,” McCarthy said. “I think he’s got better and better and he played well against Brighton. He couldn’t play last week because he was cup-tied.
“Had he not been [unavailable] I would have played Elliott in the game and he did well, I was pleased with him.”
Aaron Cresswell will continue at left-back, while the Blues boss was pleased with new signing Kisnorbo at centre-half last week: “We should give Patrick Kisnorbo a mention, who I thought did well at Villa Park having not played for quite a long time.”
However, he is set to recall Luke Chambers alongside Tommy Smith at the heart of the defence, while skipper Carlos Edwards will return on the right of midfield.
McCarthy says the 34-year-old Trinidadian deserved a rest: “I just gave him a break, he’s been different class, Carlos.
“He’d played four games, it would have been his fifth in two weeks, he’d played all the games, and I just wanted him to have a break, as I did Guirane N’Daw.
“They’ll feel a little fresher going into this game, same with Chambo. I could have tossed a coin and decided whether to rest Chambo or Tommy Smith but as Patrick’s right-footed, I played him and I left Chambo out.
"If Tyrone Mings hadn’t have been cup-tied, I’d have played him instead of Cressy as well.”
N’Daw will be in the centre of the midfield with Nigel Reo-Coker, whose short-term deal is up after Saturday, appearing likely to continue despite Andy Drury’s return to the squad after a virus. Lee Martin will be on the left.
McCarthy has plenty of options to replace the now-departed Campbell up front but David McGoldrick, who was named the League One Player of the Month for December earlier today, would appear to be the favourite.
Daryl Murphy is likely to keep his place with this week’s signing Frank Nouble perhaps joining Aaron Mclean on the bench, although Michael Chopra is also in contention for a role as a sub against his old club.
Paul Taylor remains Town only long-term absentee, with the foot injury which will keep him out for the season, although recent signing Tyrone Mings has missed the trip with a bad back. Striker Ronan Murray has joined Plymouth on loan until the end of the season.
McCarthy is not surprised Cardiff are topping the table: “I’ve only seen them on TV but they were excellent in the games in which I’ve seen them. The Blackburn game I saw and they were terrific away from home, in fact they murdered them in the end.
“I’ve seen a couple of other performances and I’ll be watching them this [Thursday] afternoon to do our analysis for tomorrow’s training for the game on Saturday.
“They’re a very, very good side, they’ve got some good experienced players. It seems to be going in the right direction for them. They’ve got a new stadium, the Bluebirds are now playing in red. It’s going the right way and Malky’s doing a great job down there.”
The Blues boss has a lot of time for his opposite number at Cardiff, although says he has been given more than adequate backing by the club’s Malaysian owners: “Malky’s had a good impact there but I believe they’re paying a few quid and getting players in, they’ve got Craig Bellamy in and you’re always a better team when you’ve got better players.
“But Malky’s had a really good impact there. He learned his trade at Watford and he’s just carried it on. He’s flying, they’re well clear at the moment.”
Cardiff, who are seven points clear at the top of the table on 56 with the Blues 26 behind in 19th, will have key midfield man Peter Whittingham available, despite initial fears that a knee injury suffered at Millwall two weeks ago could keep him out of action for a month.
Also back are left-back Andrew Taylor (illness) and midfielder Tommy Smith (hamstring), while striker Nicky Maynard is out for the season with a knee ligament injury.
Town have the upper hand historically, winning 20 (18 in the league), drawing 11 (11) and losing 11 (10). Curiously, the Welsh club have only ever beaten the Blues by a single goal. Town have won six of the last eight games between the teams and are unbeaten on Cardiff territory since 2007.
At Portman Road in October, Cardiff came from behind to beat the Blues 2-1 to reclaim top spot in the Championship.
Debutant DJ Campbell put Town in front just before half-time, although having clearly used his hand, but two second-half goals from Heidar Helguson won the points for the Bluebirds.
Last time out in Wales, back in October 2011, a controversial Peter Whittingham penalty prevented the Blues from claiming their sixth successive victory over Cardiff and their fourth in a row on Bluebirds soil.
Rudy Gestede put the home side in front but ex-Swansea striker Jason Scotland equalised before half-time.
After the break, Michael Chopra put the Blues in front before the home side were given the contentious penalty for handball by Carlos Edwards with 18 minutes remaining.
Chopra, who has had two permanent spells with Cardiff and two periods on loan, moved to Town for £1 million in the summer of 2010, while Jay Emmanuel-Thomas was on loan with the Bluebirds in 2010/11, making nine starts and seven sub appearances, scoring two goals. The former Arsenal man hit out at critical Bluebirds fans after his spell was up at the end of that season.
Blues coach and former left-back Mark Kennedy joined Town from Cardiff in the summer of 2010 for £75,000, while Arran Lee-Barrett was with the Bluebirds between 2003 and 2005 but without making the first team appearance. U18s coach Russell Osman played for and managed the Welsh side.
Felixstowe boy James Hollman is now the Bluebirds’ goalkeeper-coach, having been in a similar role with the Blues until the end of 2010/11, and Cardiff’s assistant boss David Kerslake made three starts and six sub appearances for George Burley’s Town side in the 1997/98 season.
Icelandic Bluebirds midfielder Aron Gunnarsson had a trial with the Town academy when a schoolboy.
Saturday’s referee is Scott Mathieson from Cheshire, who has shown 63 yellow cards and six red in 24 games so far this season.
Mathieson’s most recent Blues match was the 2-1 Capital One Cup defeat at Carlisle back in August in which he showed yellow cards to two home players and no one from Town.
Squad from: Loach, Lee-Barrett, Orr, Hewitt, Cresswell, Kisnorbo, Chambers, Smith, N’Daw, Reo-Coker, Drury, Hyam, Edwards, Emmanuel-Thomas, Martin, Murphy, Chopra, Mclean, McGoldrick, Nouble.
Photo: Action Images
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