McCarthy: Cup Win Will Help League Form
Tuesday, 6th Aug 2013 06:00
Boss Mick McCarthy believes a win at Stevenage in tonight’s first round Capital One Cup tie will provide a welcome boost ahead of Millwall visit to Portman Road in the Championship on Saturday. Aaron Cresswell, Tyrone Mings, Anthony Wordsworth and Jack Doherty are all injured, while Manchester United man Ryan Tunnicliffe is unavailable under the terms of his loan.
The Capital One Cup can seem an unnecessary distraction to clubs more interested in their Championship campaigns but McCarthy says a win tonight will benefit his side ahead of the weekend: “For us to play Millwall and play well, it’ll be far better for us if we have a good result at Stevenage.”
He added: “It’s a League Cup game, we’re going to try and win it and if we do, we’ll try and win the next one.
“It’s a bit too far away to start looking at finals and worrying about that. It’s a League Cup tie that Ipswich are in and it’s my job to try and win the game.”
McCarthy has said he plans to make five or six changes to the side which lost 2-1 at Reading, confirming that Dean Gerken will start in goal and Christophe Berra at the centre of the defence.
With left-backs Cresswell (thigh) and Mings (knee) both absent, 18-year-old David October could make his senior debut.
Summer signing Frederic Veseli could also play his first senior game, although McCarthy says the Swiss defender isn’t in quite the same position as the likes of October, Amir Berkane or Kyle Hammond.
“He hasn’t [made a senior appearance] but he’s played U21 internationals and he’s trained and played with Manchester United and Manchester City, so he’s got a bit more of a pedigree than the other guys.
“I want to win the game, I’m conscious that I’ve got a fairly threadbare squad with the injuries that I’ve got but nevertheless, I want to stay in the cup.”
McCarthy says his best run in the League Cup as a manager came with Millwall “a hundred years ago” - they made it to the quarter-finals in 1994/95 before losing to Swindon - and recalls reaching the last eight as a player with Barnsley back in 1981/82: “We beat Brighton, Swansea and Manchester City, who were all First Division clubs at the time.
“We had a really good cup run and we lost to Liverpool. We drew at Anfield and lost 3-1 [in a replay] at Oakwell.”
Liverpool went on to win the competition that year, beating Sir Bobby Robson’s Town 4-2 on aggregate in the semi-finals.
The current Blues boss admits that he doesn’t know too much about Stevenage: “Only what I’ve watched this week. I watched them [lose 4-3 at home] against Oldham on Saturday. They look to have a big, powerful team.
“They scored two good goals, one from a corner, one from a freekick and another one from a quickly taken throw-in.
“So, they’re bright enough and there’s a bit of thought goes into it, there’s no question about that and they’ll be a tough team.
“They always are when you play teams from the leagues below. They certainly want to win and rub your noses in it and that will be no different with Stevenage.”
Predicting McCarthy’s much-changed team is difficult, despite him having confirmed that keeper Gerken and centre-half Berra will make their debuts.
The Scottish international will probably play on the left of Luke Chambers at the heart of the defence. Tommy Smith could move to left-back, although McCarthy may instead give October his debut and rest the New Zealand international.
Frederic Veseli looks likely to come in for Elliott Hewitt at right-back, while Paul Anderson looks set to get his first Town start on one of the flanks, probably the right with Carlos Edwards rested.
With Wordsworth injured and Tunnicliffe ineligible, Luke Hyam and Cole Skuse will probably continue in the centre of the midfield with Jay Tabb likely to be on the left.
Up front, Frank Nouble could be handed a start alongside either David McGoldrick or Daryl Murphy with Paul Taylor almost certain to come off the bench and continue his comeback from injury at some stage.
The likes of Hammond, Berkane, Byron Lawrence, Jack Marriott and, if he doesn’t start, October will also hope for some involvement as subs.
Boro will be without striker Dani Lopez, who is suspended, while James Dunne could be back from a groin injury.
Like his Ipswich counterpart, Stevenage boss Graham Westley is expected to make widespread changes but believes the cups are important, particularly to clubs at Boro's level: “Cup competitions are a life support machine for small football clubs.
"We need to stay on that life support machine as long as we can. Everyone gets into a season with a cup run.”
The teams have never previously met in a competitive fixture, although they faced one another in a pre-season friendly in the summer of 2007 when the then-Conference side won 3-0, John Nutter (pen), Ollie Allen and Paul Hakim scoring the goals.
Blues central defender Tommy Smith had a spell on loan with Stevenage in 2008, making 15 appearances in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
Tonight’s game will have to be settled on the night with extra-time and penalties following the 90 minutes if the score remains level. The draw for the second round is live on Sky Sports News on Thursday at around 1.30pm.
This evening’s referee is Gavin Ward from Surrey, who took control of Portsmouth’s 4-1 home defeat to Oxford at the weekend, booking two and sending off Pompey skipper Johnny Ertl.
Ward’s last Town game was the 2-2 draw at home to Blackpool in January 2012 in which he booked Aaron Cresswell and Luke Hyam and one Seasider.
Town squad from: Gerken, Loach, Hewitt, Veseli, Hammond, Smith, October, Chambers, Berra, Skuse, Hyam, Berkane, Anderson, Edwards, Tabb, Lawrence, McGoldrick, Murphy, Nouble, Taylor, Marriott.
Photo: Action Images
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