McCarthy: Chance for Young Duo to Shine
Tuesday, 11th Aug 2015 06:00
Town boss Mick McCarthy says youngsters Myles Kenlock and Josh Yorwerth have a big chance to stake a claim for more regular involvement with the first-team squad when they’re amongst four debutants facing Stevenage in this evening’s Capital One Cup first round tie at Portman Road (KO 7.45pm).
McCarthy announced his team yesterday with 18-year-old Kenlock at left-back and 20-year-old Wales U21 international Yorwerth at the centre of the defence.
Academy scholar Kenlock’s only experience of senior football was during pre-season, while Yorwerth, who was also involved in several first-team friendlies after joining the Blues following his release by Cardiff, played a handful of games in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division for Hereford United last season.
Guinean international Larsen Touré and Brett Pitman will also make their Blues bows having joined the club in the summer, while Giles Coke and Jonathan Douglas will be making their first starts having come off the bench at Brentford on Saturday.
Dean Gerken will be in goal with skipper Luke Chambers at right-back, Kenlock at left-back and Yorwerth and Christophe Berra at the heart of the defence.
Douglas and Coke will be in the centre of midfield with Jay Tabb on the left and Touré on the right with Pitman and David McGoldrick up front.
“It’s a big opportunity for them both,” McCarthy said of Yorwerth and Kenlock. “If they want to make any impression on me and my team and being at this club and playing, they have to be able to play with Christophe Berra, Chambo and all those first team players. If that’s not an opportunity for them to shine, I don’t know what is.
“If I was playing Josh Emmanuel and Joe Robinson as well, a back four with no experience and a young keeper and no one in front of them, that might be different, but they’re playing in a team of experienced players.
“Tabby, who played 30-odd games last year, Larsen Touré, who has played loads of games, Didz and Brett Pitman are both experienced and you’re not going to get much more experienced than Jonny Douglas and Giles Coke in central midfield. They’re in a solid team that they should be able to benefit front."
He says the game is a good opportunity to improve his fringe players’ match sharpness in case they are required in the league games which come thick and fast in the next few weeks.
“We had a really good performance from the team on Saturday and then they can have a break and be ready and fresh to go.
“If they had to play every game, then I would be saying it’s too much but it gives these lads a chance and if they need to be ready to play, if the lads who played on Saturday aren’t [then they will be]. It gives them an opportunity.
“These are first team players apart from two of them, and they’ve got ambitions of being first-team players.
“If I need somebody on Tuesday against Burnley, they’ll have had a game at a really good level, a tough game. They’ll be prepared if I need them.”
Does he believe there are too many games during the first few weeks of the season with Town facing six, perhaps seven, matches in the first 21 days.
“Probably, but that’s the way it is. I’m not one that goes around and whinges about what we’ve got, we deal with it and deal with it the best we can.
“I think if I start whinging about it and moaning about it it filters through to everybody else.
“I’ve just been that pragmatic person throughout my career as a player and a manager and if that’s what we have to do I get on with it and make the most of it.”
McCarthy recalled his own senior debut with Barnsley back in 1977: “My debut was wonderful. We beat Chesterfield 4-1 and I scored the first goal, so if you want to talk to me about that, I’m more than happy!
“I was told on the Tuesday I was playing, made my debut, scored, then played every game that season. It was pretty good!”
McCarthy is yet to win a cup game as Town manager and hopes his side perform better than they did against Boro when the teams met in the competition at Broadhall Way two years ago when the home side ran out 2-0 victors.
“We’re at home this time, it was an awful performance,” he admitted. “I’m hopeful that my squad that copes with them in this game. And like Crawley and all those others, of course, I’m hoping for a better performance.”
The Town boss says he and his players were in on Sunday and have put the disappointment of surrendering their two-goal lead at Brentford so late on behind them.
“There was 90 minutes of really good play and I’m not going to let that overshadow it, I never do," he said.
“I come back in here, I get it out of my system on Sunday, I watch the game, I’ve chatted to them all and on Monday morning we’re cracking on. I can’t do anything about that now, except try and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
McCarthy will be facing an old team-mate in Teddy Sheringham tonight with the Stevenage manager in charge of only his second competitive game, Saturday’s opener at home to Notts County having ended in a 2-0 defeat.
“In 1990, a few years ago now, when I joined Millwall Teddy was there," McCarthy recalled. "I think he left the following season and went to Nottingham Forest.
“He was a terrific player and he went on to much bigger and better things than Millwall, of course.
“I’ve spoken to him a few times since he went back to West Ham [as an attacking coach], although I’ve not spoken to him since he went to Stevenage but I’m sure I will on Tuesday.”
What’s it like making those first few steps into management? “Nervous. It’s always a worry because of the stats [regarding managers who lose their first jobs and don’t get the chance again].
“It makes it a lot easier if you’ve got plenty of dough and you’re made for life and you’re not worried about the financial side of it, which I think is the case for players now going into it.
“Going back 25 or 30 years ago, and I’m 23 years in, there were a lot of lads hadn’t made fortunes in their career and went into it and if you lost your job you never got another one.
“You can all look at the League Managers Association report on that, the percentage of managers who lose their first jobs.
“I doubt Ted will have that worry about him with the stellar career he had as a player and maybe he can relax and enjoy it and not worry about that side of it.
“But he’ll always worry about results and he’ll always worry about how his team plays, and whether he has enough players and all the stresses and strains of managing them.
“And he’ll still have to get results because it doesn’t matter who you are, who we think we are, if you don’t get results, it’s a tough job.”
As for the ultimate prospect of reaching the Capital One Cup final, he added: “It seems a long, long way away having had just one league game, but you can only get there by winning this one first. You’ve got to win what’s in front of you.”
While McCarthy has named his starting XI, he was keeping quiet about his subs, which is likely to be a mix of first-team regulars and youngsters.
However, wingers Alex Henshall and Cameron Stewart and defenders Joe Robinson and Kyle Hammond seem unlikely to be involved having been in the U21s side which won 2-1 at Leeds last night.
Midfielders Kevin Bru and Teddy Bishop (hamstring) are both ruled out, as is full-back Jonny Parr (thigh) while Luke Hyam is a longer term absentee having undergone knee surgery in the summer.
Sheringham has been impressed with the job his one-time team-mate has done at Portman Road.
“Fantastic,” he told the Hertfordshire Comet. “The limited funds that he’s had there. I know Mick very well, he was at Millwall when I was there and he’s a good lad, Mick.
“I’ve often complimented him on his teams and the way they play and it’s a tough draw for us, but one that we’ll go up there and compete for.
“It’s probably one of the most difficult ties of the round, it’s a big test for us. We’ll go there with optimism because I’m impressed with my players.”
Stevenage will be without on-loan MK Dons striker Tom Hitchcock, who was sent off on his debut after a clash with County’s Mawouna Amevor.
Striker Ben Kennedy is sidelined having undergone surgery on a hip problem, while midfielder Chris Whelpdale is a long-term absentee with a groin injury and skipper Ronnie Henry is out with mumps.
The tie in the competition two seasons ago, when Boro ran out 2-0 winners at Broadhall Way, is the only time the teams have previously faced one another in competitive action.
No Stevenage player has played for the Blues, although injured midfielder Whelpdale was a schoolboy at the Academy and his family are Town supporters.
Manager Sheringham’s son Charlie was a player in the Town Academy and was in the 2005 FA Youth Cup-winning squad.
Tommy Smith spent two months on loan at Broadhall Way early in 2008, making 15 appearances for the then-Conference side.
Last year the Blues exited the Capital One Cup at the first hurdle, losing 1-0 away at Crawley Town after extra-time. It was the ninth time the Blues had been knocked out of the competition by a side from a lower division in 12 seasons.
The Blues' best recent performance in the competition was reaching the semi-finals in 2010/11 when they were defeated by Arsenal.
This evening's game will go to extra-time if level after 90 minutes and penalties if the teams still can't be separated.
Tonight's referee is Fred Graham from Stanford-le-Hope in Essex, who showed 46 yellow cards and no red in 16 games last season.
Graham's most recent Town match was the 1-0 victory over Bolton at Portman Road in March, while he was also in charge for the 4-2 win at Brentford on Boxing Day.
The Blues have a remarkable record when Graham is officiating, winning nine, drawing two and so far losing none.
Fans travelling from the London direction by train should note there is a limited service involving replacement buses after the match due to engineering work.
Town team: Gerken, Chambers (c), Kenlock, Berra, Yorwerth, Coke, Douglas, Tabb, Touré, Pitman, McGoldrick. Subs from: Bialkowski, Smith, Knudsen, Emmanuel, Skuse, Benyu, McDonnell, Maitland-Niles, Fraser, Connolly, Murphy, Sears.
Photo: Action Images
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