McCarthy Considering Changes for Blackpool Visit
Friday, 8th Nov 2013 13:13
Boss Mick McCarthy has admitted that he’s considering making changes to his side ahead of Saturday’s visit to Blackpool. The Blues manager, who has added former Wolves man Stephen Hunt to his squad, is forced into one switch with Tyrone Mings set to come in for left-back Aaron Cresswell, who is suspended for two games following last week’s red card.
Town are without a win in their last five, although four of those games were draws, three of them away from home.
However, McCarthy has conceded that the last two displays were under par and, with the Blues still looking for their first away win of the season, says he’s weighing up whether shuffle his pack for the trip to Bloomfield Road.
“I may do,” he said. “I think it worked at Birmingham when we hadn’t played badly but we hadn’t won games. I think it’s a similar situation, except that we haven’t lost games, aside from the Burnley one.
“I think our performances have been good, up until the last couple of games when we weren’t as good. Whether that’s because the same team had been in for seven games, I don’t know. But we’ll see on Saturday.”
Skipper Carlos Edwards could come back into the line-up on the right of midfield with Paul Anderson a doubt with a groin problem.
The veteran Trinidadian has made only one start since he was one of five players dropped for the Birmingham game at the end of August but McCarthy says he has taken the right approach while out of the side.
“Carlos has had a good attitude to it all the time,” he said. “He’s been in to see me, he wants to play and I said ‘Good, I’d be disappointed if you didn’t’. I’ve never had anybody come in and say they didn’t want to play, that would be a surprise. He’s fine, he’s trained well all the time.”
Despite Edwards turning 35 last month, McCarthy says he’s as fit as ever: “I have no idea what he’s eating. Maybe some Bonios and Pedigree Chum, he runs around like a young pup.”
McCarthy likes the workrate provided by widemen such as Edwards, Anderson, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Jay Tabb and new signing Stephen Hunt, players who can ideally also provide an attacking spark.
The Blues boss says he’s far from the only manager who sees hard graft from his wide players as vital: “I go back to Bayern Munich, who have the best two wingers around. And their coach [Pep Guardiola] says ‘Either you run back and track back and tackle back or you ain’t playing’, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. He leaves them out.
“Well, why should I accept anything else than all of that? I think that’s a prerequisite and anybody else whose got a little bit extra than that, that’s fantastic, you get that out of them. When I see a manager like that, I love the fact that they did that.
“If somebody scores you 30 goals a season, you might tolerate him, but if he’s scoring 30 and you’re still getting beaten, it makes no odds.”
Whether he views Paul Taylor, who returned from his loan spell at Peterborough last week, as someone who is capable of playing one of his wide roles remains to be seen, either in his regular 4-4-2 or the 4-3-3 which Town have switched to late on in a couple of games this season.
Although likely to change some of his personnel, McCarthy is generally loath to stray from his usual 4-4-2 formation, although may look to move to match the Seasiders’ 4-3-3.
Dean Gerken is set to keep his place in goal with Luke Chambers at right-back, Mings coming in for Cresswell on the left and with Tommy Smith and Christophe Berra – who are in international action with New Zealand and Scotland respectively over the next fortnight - at the heart of the defence.
In midfield, Edwards seems likely to reclaim the armband and start on the right with the Blues boss having options on the left. New addition Hunt would appear too short of match fitness to be in the side from the off will probably be utilised from the bench.
Tunnicliffe could continue in that role, however, the Town manager may also be interested to see the on-loan Manchester United man move into the middle – as he did briefly at Sheffield Wednesday last month – alongside Cole Skuse with Luke Hyam perhaps dropping out. If so, Jay Tabb could start on the left.
Up front, McCarthy might stick with the David McGoldrick-Daryl Murphy partnership from the start with the Irishman having been on target against Barnsley last week, with Taylor involved as a sub later on.
If he switches to a front three, Murphy is likely to be on the left, Taylor on the right with McGoldrick in the centre.
McCarthy says Blackpool have become a bit less gung-ho under Paul Ince’s management: “They [had a certain way of playing under Ian Holloway] in the Premier League and I know Ollie has said he regrets being as cavalier as he was because he continued that cavalier thing right up to the end and it was only goal difference or a point that they went down on.
“They were terrific, I think everybody enjoyed them being there. They’re still playing 4-3-3 or whatever way you want to put it, but they’re probably not as cavalier as that. They’ve been fairly defensively sound, they’ve only lost one game, I believe.”
The Blues boss says a difficult summer might ultimately have helped them: “They’re in a really strong position, probably a surprise package because in the summer Paul Ince couldn’t seem to get any players in.
“I don’t know what it is, whether it’s a siege mentality. I see they’ve got Neal Bishop from Notts County, he’s played wide left, he’s played right-back, played in behind, and he’s a midfield player.
“It just seems to me that they’ve got something going and it’s good. And they’re doing it without Paul, of course, because he’s not even in the stadium.
“God forbid he comes back and they get beat, there’ll be serious trouble! I hope we beat them before his first game. But it’s going to be a really tough game.”
What do Town need to do in order to turn their recent draws into victories? “That’s a dangerous question because I could just say we need to score more goals than the opposition, which is the simplistic answer, but it’s the truth of it when we’ve played really well, and we have in games,” McCarthy said.
“And it always seems like you’re blaming the strikers for that. But no, we’ve had other players with chances. Can we get goals from elsewhere?
“There have been games when we’ve been really on top and you know that, Leeds at home, Wigan away, Birmingham away.
“When we really needed to take advantage when we were playing well. And if you don’t, it’s sod’s law, you get something against you, and that’s what’s happened. We’ll keep battering away like we always do.”
Blackpool boss Paul Ince has two games of a five-match stadium ban left to serve after "violently shoving" a fourth official after September’s 2-1 win at Bournemouth.
The former England international watched last week’s 1-0 victory over Nottingham Forest at Sky’s studios in Wilmslow while keeping in contact with his staff on the bench.
Ince played for his opposite number at Wolves and knows what to expect from his teams: “Any team managed by Mick McCarthy is a tough game, because I know him from when I was at Wolves with him. He is a fantastic man and manager,” he told the Blackpool official site.
“It’s a very tough game. I watched them play against Wigan a couple of weeks ago, when they should have won. Then they went to Derby and scored four goals, so they can score goals away. They’ve got some good players and a lot of height.
“You can’t underestimate any team in this league, but if we play the way we have been then we’ve got a chance of winning the game. The reason that we’re doing so well is because the fans are behind us, there is no pressure on the team to perform.”
The former England skipper says he has only 16 fit senior players with former Town loanee Bradley Orr (thigh) joining the likes of Barry Ferguson, Craig Cathcart, Bob Harris, Chris Basham and Isaiah Osbourne in the treatment room, while on-loan Liverpool youngster Jack Robinson is suspended.
Historically, Town have won nine games between the sides (eight in the league), eight have been drawn (eight) and Blackpool have won five (four). The Tangerines, who are undefeated in seven and have lost just once in the league this season, are currently fourth in the table, 10 points and nine places above the Blues.
The teams last met at Portman Road in February when Michael Chopra, now a Seasider, came off the bench to net the only goal of the game shortly after the break to see the Blues to an important 1-0 victory.
The 29-year-old was sent through by Guirane N’Daw in the 50th minute and confidently took his chance.
In August 2012, Town’s positive start to last season came to an abrupt end as they were beaten 6-0 by Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.
The home side went in front via an Aaron Cresswell own goal before Gary Taylor-Fletcher made it 2-0 just prior to the break.
Tom Ince claimed two goals shortly after half-time – in addition to three assists – Craig Cathcart added a header and sub Nouha Dicko completed the rout in injury time.
Aside from Chopra, who has made two starts and six sub appearances without scoring since joining the Tangerines from the Blues on a free transfer in the summer, Orr and Ricardo Fuller have also represented Town during loan spells.
Orr, currently on loan at Blackpool from Blackburn, made 13 appearances for the Blues in just over two months at the club last season.
Fuller, who joined the Tangerines in the summer, scored two goals in three games while on loan with the Blues from Southampton at the end of the 2005/06 season, also picking up a red card while at Portman Road.
Then-boss Joe Royle wanted to sign him on a permanent basis but the £500,000 fee was beyond Town’s means and the Jamaican joined Stoke City.
Veteran midfielder Barry Ferguson was close to joining the Town youth set-up as a schoolboy back in John Lyall’s time as Blues boss, while centre-half Kirk Broadfoot is understood to have been a player Mick McCarthy showed interest in during the summer.
Ahead of Remembrance Sunday, the players will be drummed onto the field by drummers from The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment with the two captains carrying a poppy wreath. A bugler will play The Last Post before a minute's silence.
Saturday’s referee is Iain Williamson from Berkshire, who has shown 24 yellow cards and one red in nine games so far this season.
His most recent Town match was the 2-1 defeat at Millwall in January 2011, Paul Jewell’s first game in charge of the Blues.
Squad from: Gerken, Loach, Chambers, Hewitt, Veseli, Mings, Smith, Berra, Skuse, Hyam, Wordsworth, Tunnicliffe, Edwards, Anderson, Tabb, Hunt, Murphy, McGoldrick, Nouble, Taylor.
Photo: Action Images
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