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McCarthy Chasing Vital Three Points
Tuesday, 16th Apr 2013 06:00

The Blues go into tonight’s home game against Crystal Palace looking for the three points which manager Mick McCarthy expects will be enough to guarantee Championship football during 2013/14. Town currently sit in 17th place on 53 points, four from the drop zone with four matches left to play.

McCarthy believes another win ought to be enough to ensure safety, but given the division’s notorious unpredictability, he’s not entirely certain: “I think with 56 points we’ll stay up but that’s only me thinking, that’s only me assuming and as we all know, assumption is the mother of all cock-ups! But I do think that’s what will happen, and I’ll take it now.”

Whatever happens tonight, he says there’ll be no big celebration: “No, because it won’t be guaranteed.

“I think it will take 56 but while it’s possible to go down with 56, even if we get them, I’ll not be dancing on the pitch with me drawers in the air. I’ll be preparing for Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.”

The Blues boss says he’d happily have taken Town’s current situation if it had been offered to him on November 1st when he took over at Portman Road: “Of course, we were rock bottom with seven points.

“It didn’t look a very healthy position, and even now with 53 points it’s still looking precarious, but it’s a lot better of course.

“If I’d have been offered that, and if anybody at the club had been offered it, from Marcus Evans down, they would have all taken the position we’re in now to try and secure our status in the Championship.”

McCarthy wasn’t too downcast after Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Hull City: “Not at all, and Hull are a good side.

“They had the best of it, I thought we were the better team in the second half and had the better opportunities and it should really have ended up one-all, but we just didn’t defend the corner kick particularly well.

“There were three or four little errors there, that end up with a big error and it’s in the back of the net. If you do that, you get beaten against the better teams and that’s what happened. But the second half performance was excellent.”

Palace were due to play Millwall on Saturday but their game was postponed due to the Lions’ appearance in the FA Cup semi-final.

The Town manager doesn’t expect that to be a huge benefit to the visitors: “It is an advantage in terms of resting up but the lads are used to playing Saturday and then again on Tuesday. I’m not going to start making that an excuse, I’ll wait until afterwards in case anything goes wrong.

“It’s one of those things, we can’t avoid it. It’s just the way it is and the more you make of it, the more everybody gets it into their heads.

“They haven’t had a game, maybe they'll feel it through not having a game. We’ve just got to try and make our home record, which has been decent over recent times, count. We can’t do anything about the fact that they didn’t play.”

Few Town fans will need reminding that Palace beat the Blues 5-0 at Selhurst Park in McCarthy’s second game in charge in November, but the Blues manager plays down the revenge factor: “I start off wanting revenge even if we haven’t played them. That doesn’t bother me - get your retaliation in first.

“We want three points, I’m not bothered who we’re up against. We’re a different side to the one that played at Selhurst Park that night when we were beaten 5-0.

“We’ve been far better, far stronger, far harder to beat, and that was very early on in the development of the team and how it’s come on since. Revenge? Not really.”

On the night both he and Eagles manager Ian Holloway felt the result was an unfair reflection of the game.

“We actually played well in the first half and conceded a bonkers goal, a mistake,” the Town manager recalled ruefully.

“And then we did all right, we started the second half really well, then we had three penalties against us and suddenly we were all over the shop. It wasn’t really [a 5-0 type of game], but that’s what it ended up, so it makes no odds.

“But it didn’t bother me too greatly, you get beaten whether it’s by one or by five. I didn’t like it by five. But we were developing a team and it happened.”

Given Palace's lack of action at the weekend, McCarthy might look to freshen up his side, however, he’s unlikely to tinker with his backline. Scott Loach will continue in goal with Richard Stearman at right-back, Aaron Cresswell on the left and Luke Chambers and Tommy Smith in the centre.

In midfield, the Blues boss may consider swapping Guirane N’Daw for Andy Drury, having made the opposite switch at the weekend, with Luke Hyam likely to continue in the other central role.

Skipper Carlos Edwards will be on the right with Jay Tabb, who is expected to be over the knee problem which forced him off on Saturday, on the left.

If the on-loan Reading man fails to make it, then Lee Martin could come in, unless he isn’t considered fit enough after his recent spell out ill and having turned his ankle in training on Sunday. Other alternatives are Anthony Wordsworth, although McCarthy has said he is wary of the ex-Colchester man’s fitness, and Daryl Murphy.

The Irishman started up front alongside Michael Chopra on Saturday, but McCarthy could be considering whether to bring in Frank Nouble. Aaron Mclean hurt his toe in training and may have a painkilling injection in order to take a place on the bench.

Central defender Patrick Kisnorbo could miss out on a place in the 18 having been the latest member of the Town squad to be taken ill with a bug which has hit both on and off-field staff in the last couple of weeks.

Paul Taylor and Josh Carson, who returned from his loan spell at York last week, are both out for the season with foot injuries. David McGoldrick's 93-day loan is up and he will be unable to play for the rest of the season.

Former Blue Owen Garvan is back in training after a knee problem but has said he’ll be sitting in the stands with Town-supporting friends for tonight’s game with a return to match action pencilled in for later in the month. Club captain Paddy McCarthy is also closing in on a return after a lengthy absence with a groin injury.

Midfielder Mile Jedinak is suspended for two games and on-loan Manchester City striker Alex Nimely is set to miss out with a hamstring problem.

Defender or midfielder Darcy Blake is expected to be back in the squad after a knee injury. Winger Jason Banton has been recalled from a loan spell at Plymouth having won the League Two Player of the Month gong.

Selhurst Park became a home for Town old boys during former Blues boss George Burley’s brief tenure at the start of 2010/11 with Garvan and Lewis Price still amongst the playing staff.

Centre-half Damien Delaney joined them last summer shortly after having his contract torn up at Portman Road.

Former Town academy schoolboy Stuart O’Keefe moved to the Eagles from Southend in the summer of 2010 summer, having been released by the Blues at 16.

By contrast, only coach Mark Kennedy from the Town staff has played for Crystal Palace, while goalkeeper-coach Malcolm Webster was on Burley’s backroom team at Selhurst Park.

Town have the edge over the years, winning 31 games between the sides (29 in the league), drawing 24 (24) and losing 26 (26). Palace, who have failed to win any of their last five league matches and have lost three of them, are currently fourth, 13 places above the Blues and 13 points ahead of them on 66.

In November, Mick McCarthy tasted defeat for the first time as Town boss as Holloway's Crystal Palace ran out comfortable 5-0 victors at Selhurst Park.

Yannick Bolasie had put the home side ahead at half-time before an extraordinary 11 minutes early in the second half in which Palace were awarded three penalties, Murray scoring two and having one saved, the striker later adding his third and the Eagles' fourth before sub Andre Moritz made it five in injury time.

Last time at Portman Road, in October 2011, Paddy McCarthy’s goal 10 minutes after the break was enough to give Crystal Palace a 1-0 victory, ending Town’s six-game unbeaten run.

The Blues, who had Aaron Cresswell sent off for a second yellow card late on, were second best throughout.

Tonight’s referee is Simon Hooper from Wiltshire, who has shown 96 yellow cards and five red in 35 games so far this season. Hooper’s most recent Town match was the 3-0 home victory over Cardiff in February last year in which he booked Arran Lee-Barrett and Luke Hyam.

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

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irishtim added 07:20 - Apr 16
3 points tonight please lads. Ease my nerves. Hopefully we can be safe after the weekend and maybe give merriott a run out. Best of luck to ou all.

wkj added 09:15 - Apr 16
My predictions tonight-
Ipswich 2 - 1 Palace
Barnsley 0 - 3 Derby
Blackburn 0 - 1 Huddersfield
Bristol 1 - Brum 3
Cardiff 2 - 2 Charlton
Leeds 1 - 0 Burnley
Leicester 3 - Bolton 2
Mids 1 - Forest 3
Millwall 0 - Udinese B 2
Pboro 0 - Brighton 0
Wolves 1 - Hull 2
Blackpool 2 - Shef Wed 2


IvorFeeling added 09:17 - Apr 16
Mick is too smart to say it but this is a game we cannot afford to lose. Get a draw minimum and if the opportunity exists take all 3. Keep the scoreboard ticking over. Whilst we still could go down with 56 points i think it is very big longshot. Coyb

Bergholtblue added 09:28 - Apr 16
This really is squeaky bum time. The Blackburn Huddersfield tie is a big one for us. If we don't get something out of tonight, the winners of that tie could go above us. I can see P'Boro nicking something off Brighton.

The team need our support, lets get down to PR tonight and MAKE SOME NOISE!

warktheline added 10:14 - Apr 16
Happy if MM and boys grind out a bore draw.If there are goals,we need to score first.

gazzmac4 added 10:47 - Apr 16
Id love to be able to go to Sheffield on Saturday and enjoy a stress free afternoon! Any points we can pick up today would be more than welcome. Think we can get one, but i also think we can scrape all 3! COYB's!

itfc1981 added 11:36 - Apr 16
I think we may need 57 or 58 points! so come on Town get a win tonight. COYB!

wkj added 11:47 - Apr 16
56 should be absolute safety- I just plugged in all the games in the calculator giving relegation threatened teams 1-0 wins or in the case of Pboro and Sheff Weds a 1-1 draw vs one another and ITFC losing all games- the top relegation team had 55pts and it was Derby County. One more win is 99.9% safety

NAWRICH added 12:22 - Apr 16
Ipswich will lose around 5-0 I reckon, maybe 6.

ChrisMakin2012 added 12:38 - Apr 16
Would you play 'more clubs than goals Nouble'?

IvorFeeling added 12:40 - Apr 16
WKJ - Can't have your cake and eat it as in your prediction post you have Derby winning 3 - 0 - If so the can't go down on 55!

Nawrich - we are all looking froward to the derbies being back on next season as your budgies are playing as if you have been gased. Welcome back to the Championship.

Seasider added 12:45 - Apr 16
Dont think NAWRICH will be right with score;but on the other hand unlike warktheline wouldnt want us to set out to get a 0-0 bore draw,as this would be very dangerous against an attackling team like Palace who may well have a certain Kevin Phillips on bench.
Wasnt impressed with Murphy or Chopra on Saturday,and would like to see big Frank and his mate JET playing but MM too conservative(small c as he's from Barnsley)I fear to put out an attacking formation;but Ipswich do need one more win badly.
Lets hope Scott Loach can command his six yard box at least as feel his was one of the 4 little errors Mick referred to for the second goal,AW's being the main one which he has owned up to.
Everything crossed for this evening!

Rizzolisblue added 13:16 - Apr 16
Come on you blues...!!!

BroskiBeen added 13:26 - Apr 16
TBH i can see a draw maybe a 1-1 which wouldnt be too bad, considering we beat sheffield. WED which i know we can, very close but our great defense will take us over the line for this season then build for next season SUPPER MICK

wkj added 15:35 - Apr 16
oh no my results predicting was not what I plugged in the calculator; the numbers I punched in were worst case scenario (I e ops winning and mostly the bottom 8 winning) I don't believe for a second that will happen of course which is why my personal prediction for today varies

wkj added 15:36 - Apr 16
Ipswich losing* I meant

62WasBest added 16:03 - Apr 16
If Town don't lose over the course of the remaining games they'd have to be extremely unlucky to go down. This is a time to ensure points are gained rather than taking risks to win. Given Mick's strategy so far I think that'll be what he'll be looking for from now to the 46th game. Playing it tight.

walberswick added 16:29 - Apr 16
McCarthy Chasing Vital Three Points. Well he won't get them tonight. Crystal Palace only 2 points out of 15, playing ITFC in an important game. Only one outcome. 0-3.

walberswick added 16:31 - Apr 16
...oh and Phillips to score as usual.

ippy4life added 18:13 - Apr 16
don't worry, im sure that we will be able to make it to the league 1 play offs next season.

IvorFeeling added 18:14 - Apr 16
Walbers u need to move to Grimsby and update your id it'll suit your personality better!

supermickmcarthy added 18:21 - Apr 16
1-0 win for town

supermickmcarthy added 18:21 - Apr 16
1-0 win for town

IpswichLewis added 18:42 - Apr 16
Tonight is a very hard but important game...Although Palace haven't won a game in 5, they will want to secure there play off spot. In 2 of palaces last 6 games they have lost away to Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield. I am confident that we can get something out of tonight's game and if need be it, I'll take a point..just as long as results go our way below us. 25.4 percent of palaces goals come between 45/60 minutes so after the break we must stay sharp. No clumsy tackles (Ndaw) and no risky palm outs (Loach) hehe...If in doubt, get it effing out!! Come on you blue boys lets do it tonight, and especially shut up Yannik Bolasie who for anyone who has seen, has been giving JET, and Nouble stick on KEEK for palaces 5-0 win at selhurst...Blue Army!!!

Lightningboy added 19:16 - Apr 16
God I hope we can win this one tonight (and other results go our way for once).

1-0...7-6...don't care what the scpre is as long as we get the 3points.

Can't bare much more of this season.


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