McCarthy Expecting Another Tough Tie With Preston
Tuesday, 14th Jan 2014 06:00
Mick McCarthy is expecting another tough game when the Blues take on Preston North End in their FA Cup third round replay at Deepdale this evening (KO 7.45pm). As in the first game, the Town boss will field a much-changed side with six first-team squad members not travelling.
McCarthy was impressed with the Lilywhites during the 1-1 draw at Portman Road: “We knew they were no mugs when they came down here and that was proven.
“Is there a lot of difference between teams in the top six of League One pushing for the Championship and us? I’m not so sure.
“They’ve got some good players on show, Paul Gallagher, Lee Holmes, Kevin Davies, I thought they’d got a really solid midfield, Neil Kilkenny, Iain Hume playing up front.
“They’re names which have been in and around the Premier League in some cases and the Championship. I think Simon Grayson’s done very well with that squad.”
McCarthy feels bringing in several players short on match fitness partly accounted for the Blues’ under par display in the first match.
“Let me firstly give Preston some credit because I thought they were good. I played five players who hadn’t been playing and maybe that had an effect.
“I think those five that played probably dragged the rest of the team down rather than the five who had played dragging the other five up with them.
“It was difficult, they hadn’t been playing. But first and foremost, I thought Preston were excellent, I thought they deserved the draw but I needed to make the changes and I’ll be doing it again at Deepdale.”
Luke Chambers (hamstring), Aaron Cresswell (knee), Daryl Murphy (thigh), Anthony Wordsworth (tonsillitis), Cole Skuse (dead leg) and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (hamstring) all miss the trip due to injuries but McCarthy says he would have made changes in any case.
“Possibly, Saturday’s opponents Millwall aren’t playing in the FA Cup midweek, as we are. I probably would have done the same and the ones who played in the first game, of course, have now had more football. It’s not like they’re going into the game on the back of missing five games, they’ve all played.
“But I want to win the game. I wanted to win the game last time. I don’t know how Simon Grayson will feel about it with his team and changes, they had a game on Saturday and then Tuesday they’ve got another game and they’ve got important league games coming up, having lost to Wolves on Saturday.
“He might look to make a few changes. I’m making changes but it’s going to be as strong a side as I possibly can field.”
The Town boss has confirmed that Scott Loach will start in goal, as he did in the first game, with Tommy Smith and Christophe Berra set to continue at the heart of the defence. Skipper Carlos Edwards seems likely to start at right-back with Tyrone Mings on the left.
McCarthy seems likely to go with a four-man midfield – Preston again utilised a 4-4-2 system at the weekend – with Ryan Tunnicliffe and Luke Hyam in the centre and Stephen Hunt on the left and Paul Anderson on the right.
Up front, David McGoldrick, who scored Town's goal in the first match, is likely to be partnered by Paul Taylor. Academy scholars Byron Lawrence, Kyle Hammond and Matt Clarke will join veteran striker Alan Lee on the bench.
Blues boss McCarthy knows Kevin Davies, one of Preston’s main threats and the scorer of his side’s equaliser at Portman Road, well having been on a golfing trip with him a few years ago.
“He’s excellent. I thought he played very well down here,” he said. “He’s still got plenty of energy and he’s such a good target man. You can find him at any time and when he gets it he holds it up, he brings other people into play.
"He’s a top fella. I spent a week on holiday playing golf with him, it was fantastic. He’s just a great guy, I got to know him and his family.
“We were part of a golfing week, there was a few of us and me and Kev played together all week. David Moyes and Gary McAllister were also there, so we had a good fourball. A friendship grew from that.”
Davies looks likely to start for Preston but boss Grayson is unable to call on new signing Scott Wiseman, who is not eligible having joined from Barnsley after the initial tie at Portman Road.
Striker Stuart Beavon is expected to be back in the squad having missed Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Wolves, due to a virus.
The Blues have a poor record against the Lilywhites historically, winning nine games (eight in the league), drawing eight (seven) and losing 12 (11).
Prior to the 1-1 draw at Portman Road earlier in the month, the clubs have met in the FA Cup on two previous occasions, in February 1954 when the Lilywhites won 6-1 at Deepdale and eventually made the final, then in January 1980 when Town ran out 3-0 victors, also on Preston territory with Paul Mariner netting twice and Alan Brazil once.
Preston beat Wycombe Wanderers 1-0 away in round two, having defeated Barnet 6-0 in the first round. They are currently fourth in League One.
Tonight’s game is Town’s first FA Cup replay since the 1-0 home victory against Chester City in January 2007. This evening's winners will face Nottingham Forest at the City Ground in the fourth round on Friday 24th January with an 8pm kick-off.
Tuesday’s referee is Keith Stroud from Hampshire, who has shown 102 yellow cards and six reds in 22 games so far this season. Stroud’s most recent Town match was the 0-0 draw at Millwall last season when he booked five players, two Blues and three Lions.
Probable squad: Loach, Gerken, Edwards, Hammond, Mings, Smith, Berra, M Clarke, Hyam, Tunnicliffe, Tabb, Anderson, Hunt, Lawrence, McGoldrick, Nouble, Taylor, Lee.
Photo: Action Images
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