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Ipswich Town 4 v 0 Middlesbrough
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 2nd February 2013 Kick-off 15:00
Manager McCarthy Only Doubt for Boro's Visit
Friday, 1st Feb 2013 14:23

Boss Mick McCarthy has emerged as the only doubt ahead of Saturday’s game against Middlesbrough at Portman Road. The Blues manager has missed most of the week due to a bug with his assistant Terry Connor taking today’s pre-match press conference.

Connor explained: “He came in on Tuesday, he wasn’t great on Monday, but he felt worse on Tuesday and hasn’t reported for work since.

“Today, he was desperate to come in but still didn’t feel able to come in, so he’s hoping that all the drugs and everything kick in by tomorrow and he’s able to do his stuff on a matchday.”

The Town assistant boss, who previously worked with McCarthy at Wolves, says there are no injury or illness concerns regarding the players: “Not at the moment, everyone’s trained again today, everyone’s OK again today. Hopefully, tomorrow morning we’ll wake up and everyone will be just the same.

“It’s been a bit heavy out on the pitches this week, so we’ve had to try and temper the training to make sure we don’t overdo it and leave too much on the training pitch. With a bit of luck, the gaffer will have everyone to select from for tomorrow.”

A hopefully-recovered McCarthy will probably recall returning loan keeper Stephen Henderson to his side, the Irishman having signed on loan from West Ham for a second time yesterday. The 24-year-old is due to remain at Portman Road until the end of the season, although the Hammers have insisted on a 24-hour recall clause.

Richard Stearman, who joined on loan from Wolves earlier in the week, is set to start at right-back with Bradley Orr having returned to Blackburn. Aaron Cresswell will be at left-back with Tommy Smith and Luke Chambers the centre-halves.

Despite the defeat, the Blues played reasonably well at Bristol City last week and McCarthy may well decide to keep things much the same with Luke Hyam and Guirane N’Daw remaining in the centre of midfield.

New signing Anthony Wordsworth will probably be on the bench having been out of action for three weeks while at Colchester having been suspended.

Skipper Carlos Edwards, who last week triggered an additional year at the club taking him up to 2014, will be on the right with Lee Martin likely to continue on the left.

Up front, David McGoldrick was amongst the Blues’ best performers at Ashton Gate and there were signs of a partnership developing with Daryl Murphy and McCarthy will probably stick with the duo.

Connor says everyone is aware of the way Middlesbrough play football under ex-Blue Tony Mowbray: “It’ll be a tough game. If you’ve followed Tony’s teams then you’ll know he has a good style of play and it will be difficult tomorrow.

“We’ll have to battle hard and do all the things that you have to do in the Championship but also be aware of footballing qualities as well. We’ve been preparing all week to face them and come tomorrow we’ll be ready to face them.”

Boro manager Mowbray has confirmed that his former Town team-mate Kieron Dyer will make his debut for the Teessiders at their old stomping ground: “We’ll be taking him to Ipswich with a view to him playing in the game.

“He’s looked really good in training, nice and sharp. The level he’s played his football at over the years suggests he’s very, very talented and he’s shown that on the training ground.”

The ex-Blues skipper says he was impressed with Dyer’s recent performances: “I’ve looked at the games he played for QPR this season. I watched him play against Manchester United, I watched him playing against Gareth Bale for Tottenham and he did well.

“We will have to see if the intensity of playing in this league catches up with him, playing 90 minutes after 90 minutes.

“Initially we’ll maybe see how he goes over an hour in a match and then see if we can build that up.

“But I’m happy he’s here and I’m looking forward to seeing him at Portman Road on Saturday.”

Dyer’s former Newcastle team-mate Jonathan Woodgate is over a calf problem and could return to the side, while frontman Scott McDonald is a doubt with a back injury. Striker Muzzy Carayol may travel having been out of action since September.

Striker Ishmael Miller is not yet full fit after suffering ankle ligament damage, full-back Justin Hoyte is out with a hip injury and Julio Arca is still sidelined after toe surgery. Midfielder Kevin Thomson’s contract has been settled.

Mowbray is a former Town skipper, coach and caretaker-manager. His assistant manager is Mark Venus, who was also part of George Burley’s Blues side. Ex-Town full-back and midfielder Jamie Clapham is Boro’s senior development coach, in charge of their U21s.

Former Blue Dyer signed for Boro on Thursday, having been released by QPR earlier in the month and having spent time training with the Blues recently, although largely with the academy.

Another ex-Town skipper Grant Leadbitter joined the Teessiders on a Bosman transfer in the summer after leaving Portman Road at the end of last season, while defender George Friend was the subject of a Blues offer when still at Doncaster in the close season but ultimately decided to join Boro. No current member of the Town squad has played for Saturday’s opponents.

The Blues have had the better of Middlesbrough over the years, winning 27 games (25 in the league), drawing 14 (14) and losing 17 (16).

Earlier this season, in September at the Riverside, Boro ran out 2-0 victors via goals from Luke Williams and Carayol.

Town had had the better of it until Williams struck in the 34th minute, Lee Martin and Paul Taylor both having forced Boro keeper Jason Steele into saves, but they didn’t seriously threaten again until the closing stages when Daryl Murphy, Michael Chopra and Taylor all went close. Sub Carayol cemented the home side’s win on the break in injury time.

Last time the sides met at Portman Road, in March, Leadbitter missed a penalty but then slammed in a stunning goal for Town as the game ended 1-1.

After a dull first half, the visitors went in front via sub Lukas Jutkiewicz, Boro keeper Jason Steele having saved Leadbitter’s penalty, but the midfielder hammered in an equaliser with 16 minutes remaining.

The match was the restaging of the February game which was abandoned after 37 minutes due to a frozen pitch.

Saturday’s referee is Craig Pawson from South Yorkshire, who has shown 65 yellow and three red cards in 22 matches so far this season. Pawson’s most recent Town match was last season’s 3-1 FA Cup defeat to Hull City – in which Aaron Mclean scored for the Tigers – when he booked Tommy Smith and one of the home players.

Squad from: Henderson, Loach, Stearman, Hewitt, Cresswell, Mings, Kisnorbo, Chambers, Smith, N’Daw, Drury, Hyam, Wordsworth, Edwards, Emmanuel-Thomas, Martin, Murphy, Chopra, Mclean, McGoldrick, Nouble.

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ChrisMakin2012 added 14:33 - Feb 1
It's all sh*ts and giggles at portman road lately!

petermorris added 14:37 - Feb 1
Mick is sick. Sick Mick.

alztar added 15:05 - Feb 1
I think it would be a bit harsh to drop Loach, although results have been rubbish I don't think he has been bad enough to warrent dropping if everyone else keeps their place!

itfc1981 added 15:27 - Feb 1
In the brown stuff in more ways than one.

bluemikey100 added 15:31 - Feb 1
merlin cant u magic the bug away no good runnin down the touchline

CambridgeBlue added 15:40 - Feb 1
What's the betting that Dyer and Leadbitter play awesomely tomorrow?

mattraisin added 15:50 - Feb 1
Like Adam Sandler, Mowbary certainly keeps his friends in work. Really sucks that we never gave him a proper go at the reigns after Burley left. Great player and proven to be a good manager.

cthulhu added 15:58 - Feb 1
Proven to be a good manager? Since when?
No doubt his sides have almost always played an attacking game, but similarly, they've almost always matched this with defensive frailties.
Loved him as a player, not sure I'd rate him as a boss.

muccletonjoe added 16:36 - Feb 1
With absolutely no attacking flair i cannot see us scoring more than 1 goal at the most , perhaps kisnorbo and stearman in central defence may be the way forward

JustSpivvyChops added 16:51 - Feb 1
Interviewing for the Irish job probably..............bye Mick!

bluemikey100 added 16:55 - Feb 1
either dyer get injured quickly or do a scotland and score shortly after comin on as sub

danger_matt added 17:39 - Feb 1
I bloody loved Jamie Clapham, what a legend.
There's someone who knew how to break down the left and get his cross away.

Cheshire_Blue added 17:50 - Feb 1
Yes, we may well find out why we should have kept Leadbitter.Vastly underated.

dannysigma added 17:57 - Feb 1
In TC we trust!

Edmunds5 added 18:40 - Feb 1
This is where having such a well respected assistant comes to the for, If Mick doesn't make it tomorrow I wont be too concerned if TC steps in because I think the players would put 100% effort in for him, something that wasn't present in the previous regime reflected by when Hutchings took charge of the Sheff Wed game. Besides they know Mick will not have players losing concentration just because he isn't there, if so I'd imagine they would know about it Monday morning.

alfromcol added 19:05 - Feb 1
He will be there!

Seasider added 19:05 - Feb 1
Get well soon Mick.Its going to be very cold tomorrow so suggest best stay at home in the warm!
Neither side have won this year;so perhaps it will be draw?

IvorFeeling added 20:18 - Feb 1
I can see us getting 3 points tomorrow, don't know why just have a good feeling.


jas0999 added 20:22 - Feb 1
Tough but important game. Can't see where the creativity is coming from? Could be a difficult afternoon.

Talbs77 added 20:33 - Feb 1
I think we'll win tomorrow, dont know why, no evidence or justification to back this up, I just do.

Lets keep some positivity guys, its the sort of game when we have struggled against teams around us, yet beat teams doing well.

We'll win, I know it.

TimmyH added 21:27 - Feb 1
Not playing a bottom 4 or 5 club so we'll probably win - dare I say it I have it as a home win on my coupon. Put one over Leadboots - C'mon!!

Steelmonkey added 21:38 - Feb 1
Cheshire_Blue - he hardly seemed to raise a sweat for us, unless you count the last few games he played when putting himself in the shop window. Always picked by Keane and Jewell, went missing in games, and was always getting booked and banned for rash tackling.
He couldn't have been happy here or his performances would have stood out more.
It's amazing the amount of mid-fielders we have had here in the last few years who have under performed, and that has a knock on effect, hence a lack of goal oppotunities. No service = No goals, and that puts pressure on our forwards and makes them look poor, resulting in a down turn in their form as they get frustrated at not having the service. Lets hope we rally tomorrow after the last couple of results and get some much needed points. COYB's.

Elizabeth added 08:57 - Feb 2
Come on Terry ! inspire the team today. Much needed win !

planetblue_2011 added 09:43 - Feb 2
Come on Mick u can make it!!
Have to go for a 2.1 town win 2day.
Boro are a good side but I think town can get a win.
McGoldrick with his first goal & Edwards with the winner haha

PJewellisaGod added 09:45 - Feb 2
Lets go out there and get the 3 points.
Still think our forward line isn't up to it at mo. Somebody like Craig Beattie (free agent) could offer good competition.
Can't understand why Harry Kewell has no club either. Saw him play about a year ago and he was back to his very best. Maybe an injury???

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