McCarthy Well Aware of Eagles' Attacking Threat
Tuesday, 16th Apr 2013 06:02
Mick McCarthy is well aware of the danger presented by Crystal Palace’s three-man attack going into tonight’s game against the Eagles at Portman Road. Town will be looking to avenge November’s 5-0 defeat at Selhurst Park.
McCarthy said: “One of them’s a £15 million winger, so let’s not forget that, he’s signed for Manchester United.
“I think they’ve got a good team, they’ve certainly got a good front three. Yannick Bolasie, Wilfried Zaha and Glenn Murray have been the focal point of their attack all season long and they’ve been a real threat.
“Then they’ve got Kevin Phillips and Scott Dobbie as well, who can play in behind, plus another couple. But that’s enough.
“The two wingers have been their real threat with Glenn Murray, who’s scored goals and been terrific.”
McCarthy said he gave 30-goal top scorer Murray a trial early in his career after Sunderland had played a friendly against North Carolina-based side the Wilmington Hammerheads: “We played Wilmington and he impressed me in that game, really impressed me, I thought he was a real handful.
“We brought him back to Sunderland. I can’t remember whether we’d been promoted that year or not, but I didn’t think at the time he was better than what we’d got and was up to that level, so he went off elsewhere [to Barrow] and then to Carlisle.
“He went down into the lower leagues and did terrific, he was at Brighton as well. I saw something in him, I thought he’d got it, but he wasn’t for me at that time in the league [we were in].
“But he went down, got himself in the league and fair play to him, he’s made himself a really good player and I’m delighted for him because he’s a good guy.”
He rates Zaha, who was sold to Manchester United in January but was loaned back to the Eagles, very highly: “He’s as good as anything in this league, probably better. He’s proved that because Manchester United have spent £15 million on him.
“He’s going to a club which will develop him. Just playing with those players and at that level will [improve him].
“Where he can get to will be down to him. It’s down to him to continue his development and work as hard as he’s done to get to where he is because he’ll have to do just as much to get to what Manchester United want week in, week out.
“It’s a big bonus for Palace to keep him for the rest of the season. It was a symbiotic deal.”
Kevin Phillips, who came close to joining Town in 1997 and was also targeted by several Blues managers in more recent times, is likely to be a sub and is another striker well-known to McCarthy: “I joined Sunderland two years after he’d had the Golden Boot.
"He’s been a top player. He’s now at the wrong end of his thirties and he’s still doing it. He’s been a terrific professional.”
The Blues boss gets on well with his Palace counterpart: “Ollie’s a good lad, he’s straightforward and honest, which I think is reflected when you see him on camera. He says it as it is, he doesn’t dress things up. I like him, he’s a good football bloke.”
McCarthy believes Palace will have to settle for a play-off spot with Hull having all but confirmed second place with their victory over the Blues at the weekend: “They’re six points clear with four games to play.
“I don’t see Hull dropping too many points, I thought they were a really good side, certainly in the first half.
“If someone just came for the second half, you could see it differently, but we’ve not been bad either, you have to take that into account.
“But I don’t see them throwing that away. It would be thrown away if either Cardiff or Hull weren’t to do it automatically and I don’t see it happening.”
McCarthy says Holloway’s familiarity with the play-offs will be a benefit to his current club, although believes that momentum is a big factor, as he recalls from games against the Eagles while with Sunderland: “What do you do as a manager? You’ve got your team, you’ve had them all year, or he’s had them since November, same as me. What does that experience do?
“I don’t know, maybe it means you can manage to keep calm and make good decisions at the right times, probably that’s the thing.
“But taking them into the play-offs, you want a team that’s in form, you want a team that’s fit, you want a team that’s got a bit of momentum going forward.
“While everybody has been talking about Nottingham Forest, Bolton have nicked in there. I remember Palace doing it in 2004 when they were at the bottom in September and got promoted via the play-offs.
“I remember it well because I was at Sunderland, the team that lost in the semi-final. But they had momentum. We’d finished third way in front of them.
“Ollie’s a good manager, he’s proven that and it’s about holding your nerve. Holding your nerve, getting a bit of luck, getting the right decision, having a bit of brilliance which wins it sometimes. It’s a lottery, it really is, and one of the most wealthy lotteries as well.”
Does he see Town being in a similar position to Palace this time next year? “I’ll settle for staying up first. If and when we’ve stayed up we’ll have this discussion. It’ll be nice to have.”
Photo: Action Images
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