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McCarthy Looking for Return to Winning Home Form Against Cardiff
Friday, 30th Oct 2015 16:07

Town boss Mick McCarthy is looking for his side to get back to winning ways when they face Cardiff City at Portman Road on Saturday and improve on what’s been a disappointing showing on home turf so far this season.

Having won 15 of last season’s 23 Championship matches on Suffolk soil, McCarthy’s men last won at home on August 18th when they defeated Burnley 2-0.

Their only other league victory in their six games at Portman Road so far this season came three days earlier when Sheffield Wednesday were vanquished 2-1.

Overall, the Blues are without a win in their last six league games with their previous three home matches all ending in draws. McCarthy says all of those games might have ended in Town wins.

“We did well to get back in those games and should have gone on to win them, actually,” said McCarthy, whose side also face Bolton at home on Tuesday.

“The chances that we had in the three games, Bristol City, Huddersfield and Birmingham, in the second half we came back into them really well and could have won them and probably should have done.

“But we gave goals away, which is unlike us. They’re disappointing results, we don’t want to lose points at home, it’s always been a strong point.”

McCarthy, who says he has seen signs of improvement in the two recent away performances, particularly at Nottingham Forest where the Blues were only denied victory by Liam Trotter’s 95th minute equaliser, saw Cardiff in action in Monday’s 0-0 draw at home to Bristol City.

“I went to watch them on Monday night, they’re a good side playing off their 4-4-2 formation,” he said.

“They’ve still got good players who remain from the Premier League days. They’ve had to change quite a bit about them but they’re still a very competent team. They’re above us and have been going well.”

He added: “I was asked the other night whether the league is stronger and I think it is. Teams are better, they’re better equipped.

“There are a lot of teams who have played in the Premier League and quite a few of them who have played in the Premier League quite recently, Cardiff one of them. They have got a very good squad.”

With Town having three games in eight days McCarthy says he expects to rotate his squad over the course of those matches.

However, for the Bluebirds visit he seems likely to stick closely to the team which came so near to winning last week.

McCarthy reiterated his post-Forest backing for keeper Dean Gerken at last night’s Supporters Club AGM and seems certain to stick with the former Colchester man in goal, despite criticism of his role in the equaliser.

Jonny Parr will come in at left-back for Jonas Knudsen, who suffered a hamstring injury in the early stages at the City Ground but is expected to be OK for Tuesday’s game against Bolton.

Skipper Luke Chambers is set to continue at right-back with Tommy Smith and Christophe Berra at the heart of the defence.

Cole Skuse is over the ankle problem which forced him off last week and seems set to partner Kevin Bru in a two-man middle of midfield if McCarthy plans to match the visitors’ shape.

Freddie Sears could switch to a wide right role with Ainsley Maitland-Niles or Tommy Oar - who is over the concussion which cut short his full league debut against Huddersfield a fortnight ago - on the left.

Up front, Daryl Murphy is likely to continue his search for his first goal of the season alongside David McGoldrick with Brett Pitman coming off the bench at some stage.

Cardiff boss Russell Slade, whose side is eighth, five places and four points above the Blues, says Town are a decent side despite their recent poor run.

“Ipswich were a real threat last season,” Slade told the Bluebirds official website. “Mick had them in a really good place, with great balance to his team.

“They’ve still got a very good group of players together. You look at their squad and it’s well capable of getting into the top six.

“In order to compete at the top, you need to be difficult to beat at the back, and have threats going forward.

“We’ve lost just four football matches in 23, but we’re working hard on creating chances and having that ruthlessness in the final third.”

Cardiff will be without striker Kenwyne Jones, a scorer for his former loan club Bournemouth against the Blues last season, due to a shin injury. Defender Ben Turner has been out of action since pre-season with an ankle problem.

Midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi is a big doubt having suffered a hamstring injury in Monday’s game against Bristol City, however, Joe Ralls is expected to be back after a hamstring problem.

Town have the upper hand historically, winning 21 (19 in the league), drawing 12 (12) and losing 12 (11).

The Bluebirds are without a defeat in four, although won only one of those matches, a 1-0 home victory over Middlesbrough a fortnight ago. Their most recent away win was a 2-1 victory at Nottingham Forest at the end of August. They have kept a clean sheet in their last three games.

In April at Portman Road, Freddie Sears, Cole Skuse and Daryl Murphy were on target for the Blues as they won 3-1 to cement their position in the play-off places.

Sears put Town ahead after eight minutes and Eoin Doyle equalised for the Welshmen before Cole Skuse lashed in a 30-yard stunner on 29 - his first and still only goal for the Blues - then Murphy sealed the victory in second-half injury time.

In October, the Blues’ undefeated run was halted at eight games as Cardiff came from a goal down to win 3-1 at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Daryl Murphy put Town ahead with a brilliant strike in the 29th minute, Peter Whittingham equalised with a similarly special effort on 37, before Federico Macheda netted two minutes after the break and Adam Le Fondre added the third on 69.

Cardiff midfielder Stuart O’Keefe was an academy schoolboy with Town, while the Bluebirds' Icelandic midfielder Aron Gunnarsson had a trial with the Blues' youth set-up when also a schoolboy.

Bluebirds central defender Semi Ajayi, who is back with his parent club after a spell on loan at AFC Wimbledon, was on trial with the Blues in January when he played a game for the U21s, coincidentally against Cardiff.

Town centre-half Josh Yorwerth, who is currently on loan at Crawley, joined Town after being released by the Bluebirds in the summer following a trial at the end of last season.

Blues U21s coach and former left-back Mark Kennedy joined Town from Cardiff in the summer of 2010 for £75,000.

Town U18s coach Alan Lee was also with the Bluebirds before moving to Portman Road in January 2006 for £100,000.

Saturday’s referee is David Coote from Nottinghamshire, who has shown 32 yellow cards and two red in eight games so far this season.

Coote's most recent Town match was the 2-2 draw with Brentford on the opening day when he booked only Bees' midfielder Jota.

Coincidentally, he was also in control for the 3-1 defeat at Cardiff last October in which he booked Tyrone Mings and two home players.

Prior to that he was in charge of the 2-1 defeat on the opening day of the 2013/14 season and the 3-1 home loss to Wigan later that season.

During the previous campaign he took control of he 2-1 defeat at Hull and the 3-0 home victory over Millwall.

Town squad from: Gerken, Bialkowski, Chambers (c), Parr, Emmanuel, Berra, Smith, Malarczyk, Skuse, Douglas, Bru, Coke, McDonnell, Maitland-Niles, Touré, Oar, Sears, Pitman, Murphy, McGoldrick.

Photo: Action Images

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essextractorboy93 added 16:20 - Oct 30
These 2 homes games coming up are a great chance to get back on track! Would be good to see Oar start, he looked good at Old Trafford and was unlucky to get injured against Huddersfield. Hopefully Skuse/Bru partnership in central midfield.


hoppy added 16:27 - Oct 30
Another stunner from Cole Skuse like last season would be nice...


EastTownBlue added 16:33 - Oct 30
David Coote took charge of the Brentford match in August.

braveblue added 16:42 - Oct 30
'we gave goals away which is unlike us'. No it's not!! It wasnt a year ago but since last January we give goals away all the time. When is he going to accept the defence is not good enough!!

PhilTWTD added 17:04 - Oct 30

Yes, he was. My error, must have forgotten it when I saw he took control of last year's game at Cardiff. Amended.

therein61 added 17:36 - Oct 30
Here we go again, Gerken, Chambers(out of position) unbalanced Smith and Berra we are set up to try and get a point at home again!!!!!! for heavens sake Mick take your blinkers off!! I am again making the over 400 mile round trip for what my heart says will be a result to kick off our season after the huge blip we have had recently but my head says I will be rewarded with the dross that has become the norm(hope I am wrong!!!!) for Christ's sake Town give us something to shout about for a change, instead of the continued confusing selections from a manager who feels as bullet proof as his favourites.

Norwichbeater added 17:40 - Oct 30
I have been very critical lately mostly out of frustration. It is difficult attending games after a hard weeks work and watching dire football, which in fairness it has been! However MM has done a good job in the 3 years under the circumstances. I just wish we could play better football. We were doing well until the reading game and then MM went straight back to the negative football instead if seeing it as a one off match. We really should be seeing off teams at home with our strike force. We just need to have the right formation and a little flair in midfield. Come on Ipswich put a smile on mine and my kids face tomorrow. Let's have a happy Saturday night and then look forward to the Bolton game. Come on you blues!

tractorboybig added 18:11 - Oct 30
We are all looking foward to winning games.
fortune favours the brave. Its time for changes>>>>>>>>>>

muccletonjoe added 18:20 - Oct 30
Very much doubt if it will be 3 points tomorrow, with a guy in charge who doesn't learn from his mistakes, can't see us turning it round anytime soon

TR11BLU added 18:39 - Oct 30
Sears out wide to accomodate Murphy (who couldnt hit a cows arse with a banjo) in his search for a first goal of the season.....
Gerken in goal
Chambers out of position
Skuse who is so bloody negative

Another thrilling game to look forward to then

ONENIL78 added 18:52 - Oct 30
......cardiff are a decent team

jas0999 added 19:48 - Oct 30
Two home games. Two wins the minimum expectation. Anything less and it will be even more lost ground.

Garv added 20:05 - Oct 30
Stoped reading when I read "we might have won all of those games". Can't speak for the Bristol game but Birmingham and Huddersfield were dire performances devoid of any creation and good football with barely any chances created. Draws were absolutely fair results.

TimmyH added 20:42 - Oct 30
The chances that we had in the three games, Bristol City, Huddersfield and Birmingham, in the second half we came back into them really well and could have won them and probably should have done. " - I think we all know Mick this is a slight over exaggeration!
Not winning at home since August 18th is really poor...

blueboy1981 added 22:34 - Oct 30
OK Mick - give us a fighting chance of a win by NOT playing your favourites, play players in there best positions for once - and make sure we have (has he ever ?) ROUND pegs in ROUND holes.

Now that would be progress - and maybe we have a win on our hands at long last.

I guess, I'm expecting too much tho' - and we'll have 'more of the same' - typically McCarthy style.

bluebare added 22:58 - Oct 30
my round trip is over 650 miles every weekend home game and I just live in hope of a victory

Kirbmeister added 23:54 - Oct 30
With Parr at RB, If we drop Smith and play Chambers in the centre who do we play at RB to make us into world beaters then?

Kirbmeister added 23:55 - Oct 30
Meant Parr at LB but my question still stands.

Kirbmeister added 23:59 - Oct 30
bluebare - 650 miles that's impressive. My 20 mile round trip from Woodbridge is a big enough struggle!

GiveusaWave added 02:23 - Oct 31
In complete agreement with Garv's comments above. We need to get back to winning ways and raise our performance considerably against Cardiff City.

Doubt Parr will be at RB. We all know Chambers never loses his position there. Expect Parr at LB. Given recent results would expect Tabb to start against Bolton, as he's a different class. Well done to all those that are traveling to the game. Unfortunately, I will be listening to it on the radio again and watching the widget here, so I hope supporters can give an UNBIASED view after the game regardless of result. If we get beat 4-0 but played well but were plain unlucky, then let's not lambast the team! I' m hoping for a 1-0, with Murphy scoring his first of the season.

GiveusaWave added 02:31 - Oct 31
It's easy to make decisions in hindsight kirbmeister but we should never have signed Coke and Toure. We should have made a concerted effort to sign Richard Stearman who undoubtedly would have picked us before Fulham because of his history with us. We would be a bit less well off right now but would have a very solid RB who would be first choice every game. Given the amount of goals that have been conceded from that side too, we would be in a very different position in the table right now. Sometimes one player can make a huge difference.

battyblue added 05:29 - Oct 31
Thats right Mick change virtually nothing and expect a different Freddie Sears where he is best down the center for Christs sake he will score goals instead of persisting with Murphy who doesn't look interested.

battyblue added 05:32 - Oct 31
I would have Alibi ahead of Murphy at present and Pitman come to that but then again one of Micks Has to Play no matter what merchants.

Kirbmeister added 07:22 - Oct 31
Guentchev - Stearman was excellent for us but I'm guessing he picked Fulham cos they're paying him a whole load more money. We can't compete with the richer clubs that's why we won't be challenging for anything.

brittaniaman added 09:28 - Oct 31
To think when we had our last win it was Summer and we were going to PR. in T shirts and Shorts !!
and now we are in warmer coats and Trousers still, we have not seen that win ????
Let us all hope and Pray that this afternoons game will see the change we have all been long awaiting for A DEFINITE WIN !! nothing else will DO !!!!!!! and the same again TUES.
are we asking too much Guys ? THINK NOT !!!

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