McCarthy: Berra Worth Every Penny at Wolves
Monday, 22nd Jul 2013 06:00
Boss Mick McCarthy says new Town signing Christophe Berra was worth every penny of the £2 million he paid Hearts to take him to Wolves in 2009. Berra’s Bosman move to the Blues was confirmed over the weekend, the Scottish international having put pen to paper on a two-year deal following his release by the Midlanders at the end of last season.
McCarthy said: “I think it was £2 million we paid Hearts for him and he was well worth every penny. He made us solid and helped us get up, so he will give us competition for places at the back and I’m delighted to have that.
“I think there was interest in him from abroad. I think he’s had interest from other clubs, but I made it known that if he decided to stay and he wanted to come, he fitted into our wages and our bracket, I’d be delighted to take him.
“If he was looking at that sort [of move], come to us and nobody else, which I’m delighted he has because he obviously wants to come and play for me.”
The Blues manager will not be pursuing his interest in either Titus Bramble or Tottenham’s Bongali Khumalo and despite continuing national newspaper reports linking Manchester United’s Scott Wootton with a loan move, says he’s unlikely to look for another central defender: “No, we’ll get 20 [outfield] players and I doubt very much whether we’ll get another centre-back.
“We’ve got [three] and we’ll have to mix and match with the 20 players. It’ll have to be Tyrone Mings or we’ll have to put somebody else there if we get them all injured.”
He says Berra will compete with Tommy Smith and Luke Chambers for the two central defensive starting positions: “If one of them’s out and the other one gets in, the best two play. There’s nobody got the God-given right to play.
“But the two lads who played, Tommy and Chambo, were excellent and it’s a good partnership, so Christophe’s got a bit to do.”
McCarthy, who is set to add Waterford winger Jack Doherty to his squad in the next day or so with the 18-year-old due at Portman Road today, says he will augment his squad with loan players if and when they are required: “Twenty outfield players, that’s what I want, 22 in total.
“If we’ve got that, we’ve got at least a player [to cover] in every position. If we have to [bring in loan players], then we will. That depends on injuries and stuff. Fingers crossed it won’t happen.”
McCarthy said he was still to receive any serious interest in transfer-listed striker Michael Chopra but confirmed that he was left on the bench at Barnet to ensure that he didn’t pick up an injury.
According to unconfirmed sources on social media, Chopra told some fans over the weekend that he is set to leave the club, although with his apparent destination not yet known.
Regarding Saturday’s 1-0 victory at Barnet, the Blues boss admitted that the performance was below par: “It didn’t look like it was falling into place today, I have to be honest, but that’s not a bad thing because you get to know a little more about everybody every time they play, every time they train. And you get a bit more of an idea of what I need to do.
“I thought Barnet were excellent, I thought they played really well. [Bees manager] Edgar Davids was still probably the best player on the pitch. I thought they had some good performers and they were unlucky to lose the game.
“But that’s like Championship football – you turn up, you play really well, you get beaten because you lose from a freekick or a corner kick. And that’s what happened.”
He was impressed with the Bees’ new home ground, The Hive: “It’s fantastic. The pitch was great and driving in everything around it, the facilities, the all-weather pitches, looked fabulous and I hope they make a success of it.
“If they continue to play like that all through the season, they won’t be far away from getting back in the Football League.”
New signings Dean Gerken and Paul Anderson missed Saturday’s game with minor groin and hamstring injuries respectively, but McCarthy says they’re not serious problems: “Not at all. They’re both signed, you see, they’ve got the comfort blanket now and they’ve decided to have a bit of time off! They’ve just got little knocks and we weren’t going to risk them.”
The Blues boss confirmed that striker Paul Taylor is now training with the rest of the squad, but doesn’t think he’ll make his first appearance of pre-season at Colchester on Tuesday: “I won’t say that’s it's very doubtful because he joined in an 11-a-side the other day and he’s getting there.
“But I’m not going to put him at risk having had 11 months out and having done his rehabilitation. Let’s make sure he’s right and I don’t think he’s there yet.”
Photo: Action Images
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