McCarthy: A Tough Ask But We Can Win
Wednesday, 14th Jan 2015 06:00
Boss Mick McCarthy believes his Ipswich Town side are capable of causing an FA Cup upset when they take on the Premier League’s third-placed side Southampton in tonight’s third round replay at Portman Road (BBC1 from 7.30pm, KO 7.55pm). McCarthy says he saw enough in the Blues’ display in the 1-1 draw at St Mary’s 10 days ago to feel his team is in with a chance.
“Yes, I did, certainly in the first half performance,” he said. “In the second we had to defend. We had to defend against them and I remember Manchester United having to defend against them and catching them on the break twice.
“We had a great break with Cameron Stewart and maybe if he’d played more games he might have taken him on the inside and scored.
“We’re playing against a very good side, who had a great result at Old Trafford on Sunday, but there’s no reason that we can’t win.
“The atmosphere will be fabulous under lights, that does help. But I can’t imagine it’ll be intimidating when that lot have just played in front of 75,000 people at Old Trafford. That’s not the case.
“But it inspires you playing in front of a big crowd. It’s fantastic. If we get that little bit of inspiration, who knows?
“What are they, third in the Premier League? It’s a really tough ask for us but we did enough in the first game to show that we could beat them.”
He says his Saints counterpart Ronald Koeman has done a remarkable job since taking over in the summer.
“I’ve enjoyed it because I think Ronald Koeman walked into a real eye of a storm there,” he said. “It’s a good club with good players but they seemed to be selling all the best ones.
“It’s just all settled down with a minimum amount of fuss and they’re third now and beat Man United at Old Trafford.
“They seem to have a right good bunch of lads. When I saw them celebrating on the pitch at Old Trafford they were all together. They seem to be doing it without any pretentious superstars which I really love.”
He singled out Morgan Schneiderlin, who scored Southampton’s goal in the game at St Mary’s, as a player who impressed him both against the Blues and in the Manchester United game.
“He’s a good player is Schneiderlin,” McCarthy added. “He played against us when I was at Wolves in the Championship, that’s a long time ago now, and has just progressed and got better and better.
“You can understand why there are other people looking at getting his services, but I can understand even more why they said ‘no, get lost, he’s staying with us’.”
With the Blues having a vital league match at Millwall on Saturday, McCarthy says that ideally he’d like the game to be over one way or another without having to go to extra-time or penalties.
“If we’re going to win I’d like to do it within the 90 minutes,” he said. “And if the end result is going to be a defeat, and I’ve no idea, I’d like it done in 90 minutes, whatever the case may be.
“I don’t want extra-time, I don’t want penalties, I don’t want to still be here at midnight.
“Let’s have a result in 90 minutes, I think it would suit both teams because they’ve got Newcastle away on Saturday, so I don’t think they’ll want to be here until midnight either.
“Just for the sake of our league push. If it’s going to be a defeat, I’d sooner it was in the 90 minutes, same it it’s going to be a win. I just do not want extra-time.
“Not that I’ll be trying to influence that if it’s 0-0 at 90 minutes, of course, but let’s get it over and done with.”
He says the squad will have looked at who might be involved in a shoot-out should one be required.
“We’ll have a look [on Tuesday]. In other competitions we’ve always practised when it’s come to penalties.
“It’s who fancies them, I have to be honest. We’ll have some [on Tuesday] morning and we’ll see. Some of them will fancy them and spray them really wide. It’s on the night.
“What happens if our best penalty taker, David McGoldrick, stands up and misses a couple [on Tuesday] morning? He’d still want to take one on Wednesday night.
“It is a case of who fancies it. I’ve been in teams where I’ve seen the centre forwards say ‘I don’t want a penalty’ and I’m thinking ‘wow! You’re the bloody goalscorer and you don’t want to take the penalty!’ and being amazed by it.
“Some of the strangest ones who you think wouldn’t take a penalty breeze up to it and stick it in the top corner. It’s who fancies it, I think, it’s how they feel on the night.”
While the game won’t quite be a sell-out, it’ll be another big crowd with prices having been reduced. McCarthy hopes that those who are back at Portman Road having stayed away for a while or there for the first time will be encouraged to return.
“I hope so, sometimes it is about capturing hearts and minds. They turn up when you’ve had a nice little run and then you lose and they go ‘it’s the same old, same old…’
“We haven’t done that. I know we lost on Saturday but it wasn’t like we were well beaten, it wasn’t like we played badly, it was just a mistake and having watched it again I was happy enough with that performance.”
Having lost to Derby on Saturday, McCarthy is keen for his team to get back to winning ways as soon as possible, even if that would mean another fixture to add to an already busy period.
“Just winning another game would help, especially on the back of a defeat,” he said. “It might not make it any easier that we’d have Crystal Palace to play here on the Saturday and on the back of playing Millwall and then Brighton in midweek. We’ll try and win the game and I’ll deal with whatever comes my way.”
In terms of his team selection, the Blues boss always planned to make changes but the unavailability of Cole Skuse, Jay Tabb and Teddy Bishop due to illness means his options are limited in midfield.
“We seem to have a whole load of competition for places there but it’s there we have the problem with, whether it’s through injury or sickness,” he said.
Given the players at his disposal, McCarthy seems likely to go with a midfield of Stephen Hunt on the left, St Mary’s goalscorer Darren Ambrose on the right and Luke Hyam and Kevin Bru in the centre.
Dean Gerken looks set to start in goal with skipper Luke Chambers at right-back and Tommy Smith and Christophe Berra at the centre of the defence.
Jonny Parr could return in place of Tyrone Mings at left-back with the 21-year-old having hinted that he’s also suffering with the illness bug on social media.
Up front, David McGoldrick again seems likely to partner 17-goal Championship top scorer Daryl Murphy.
Recently returned striker Noel Hunt is unavailable having not been registered for the original tie.
The Saints will be without recent signing Eljero Elia for the same reason, while defender Toby Alderweireld will miss out due to a hamstring problem.
Winger Sadio Mane is with Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations and defender Maya Yoshida is with Japan at the Asian Cup.
Southampton boss Koeman is expecting another tough game, telling the Saints official site: “It will be difficult. It was a difficult system to play against [in the first game].
“They had good defending and are physically strong, and it’s not easy to create a lot of chances against them.
“I think we have to learn from the first game and if we play like how we played in the second half then we have good possibilities to win the game.
“Of course the win against Manchester United will bring a lot of confidence to the players.
”Maybe it will be more comfortable [against Ipswich] but we know it will be a tough game.
“I wasn’t happy about the replay because we already play a lot. It’s a tough week but if you start a week like Sunday then it’s not so difficult.”
He says he'll switch some of his personnel but probably not too many: “Maybe we will make changes because now with Toby [Alderweireld], he will be injured for some weeks. We don’t have a lot of other changes but we have to look.
“We would like to go on in the FA Cup but it doesn’t mean that it’s the most important. The most important is the league. The players are feeling well, and if there is a good freshness, then I don’t change a lot.”
Midfielder Jack Cork could return to the first team after an ankle injury, while youngsters Harrison Reed, Matt Targett and Lloyd Isgrove, and Ireland international Shane Long may also be in line for involvement at some stage.
Historically, the Blues have the edge having won 25 games against Southampton, losing 22 and with 20 ending in draws. However, the Saints had won all four of the previous FA Cup ties between the clubs prior to the 1-1 draw at St Mary’s.
Darren Ambrose, making his first start since returning to the Blues for his third spell, put Town in front with his first goal for the club in almost 12 years in the 19th minute, but Morgan Schneiderlin equalised for the Premier League side on 33.
The teams had last met at the same stage of the competition back in Town's 1999/00 promotion season when the Saints won 1-0 at Portman Road with Dean Richards netting the goal.
More recently, they faced one another in the fourth round in 2009/10 when Wayne Thomas and Michail Antonio netted for the Saints and Pablo Couñago scored in the final minute for the Blues.
Previously, Town were at the Dell for a third round tie in 1990/91 when the home side ran out 3-2 victors. Before that, Town fell to a hefty 7-1 third round defeat in their 1960/61 promotion season.
The teams last faced one another in the league during Southampton’s 2011/12 Championship promotion season, in March 2012, at St Mary’s when Jason Scotland’s late deflected goal secured the Blues a deserved 1-1 draw.
The Saints went ahead in the 74th minute via Rickie Lambert but Scotland’s goal five minutes from the end claimed the point for Town.
Earlier that season in the Saints' most recent appearance at Portman Road, Town fell to their third home defeat in a week as Southampton won 5-2.
The Saints were 3-0 in front at the break through Lambert (2) and David Connolly, however, Town fought back to 3-2 via Keith Andrews and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, but Adam Lallana added two more late on to seal a deserved victory.
Blues striker David McGoldrick and keeper Bartosz Bialkowski will be up against their old club, while Tyrone Mings was with their academy as a schoolboy and keeper-coach Malcolm Webster is another former St Mary's employee.
The Saints squad includes former Town keepers Kelvin Davis - who was on the bench at St Mary’s - and Cody Cropper.
The match is all-ticket with all fans having to present a paper ticket of some variety with the game not loaded onto season cards. Full details on the club site. Given the near-capacity crowd fans are advised to arrive early.
Wednesday’s referee is Graham Scott from Oxfordshire, who has shown 79 yellow cards and one red in 25 games so far this season.
Scott’s most recent Town match was the 2-1 home victory over Doncaster in April in which he booked Christophe Berra and three Rovers players.
Squad from: Gerken, Bialkowski, Chambers (c), Parr, Mings, Berra, Smith, Clarke, Hyam, Bru, Ambrose, Anderson, S Hunt, Stewart, McGoldrick, Murphy, Sammon, Bajner.
Photo: Action Images
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