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Top-Six Finish Now Difficult But McCarthy Not Giving Up
Friday, 8th Apr 2016 06:00

Boss Mick McCarthy admits that finishing in the top six is looking “increasingly difficult” but says while it is still within reach the Blues will continue to fight for every point. Eighth-placed Town, who are seven points plus goal difference off the play-off places, have six games remaining, starting with Saturday’s home match against Brentford.

“We will try and get every point we possibly can and still try and get in the play-offs, although that’s become increasingly difficult,” he said.

“There’s no doubt that everybody within the confines of this training ground is all pulling together, that’s fine, there’s no doubt about that. And within the club I would hope that’s all the same.

“There’s none of us set off disappoint anybody, but I understand fans want to come and see us win and we’re all trying our best to make that happen.

“It’s still within reach, who knows, if we win on Saturday we’ve got Sheffield Wednesday next.

“Doesn’t look like it at the minute, it’s pie in the sky with the results we’ve had and the performances, maybe.

“But if we do win on Saturday and we won the following Saturday, suddenly it would all be open again.

“There is [still a lot which can go up and down with the other clubs in the running before the end of the season]. We’ve got to win, it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference unless we win. They can all do what they want, we’ve got to win.”

With the end of the season approaching, betting odds at Betway's Sportsbook currently have Ipswich priced at 14/1 to be in the play-offs after the remaining six matches.

He added: “It’s within touching distance. As my mate said, it’s the stick needs to be a bit longer, that’s all.”

McCarthy says that now’s not the time to pacify unhappy fans by introducing youngsters such as Andre Dozzell into the first team, although they may well get their chance if and when the top six is mathematically out of reach.

“Let’s concentrate on [trying to reach the play-offs] rather than anything else. But if it does become out of reach, then it would be a consideration,” he said.

“I always found that winning placates the fans and, of course, if you’re winning, no matter how you play people like it.

“If you’re not winning and you’re not playing well, that’s just horrible, I get that. I don’t particularly like it either.

“We talked recently about my pragmatic nature and the way my teams are and I said that but for that we might be in League One and but for that we may well be at the bottom scrapping away against relegation. Who knows?

“There are a few that would be happy to be in our position and I’m sat here unhappy about it. It depends which way you’re looking at it from.”

Town have gone 273 minutes since their last goal, despite fielding a side including three front players and Ben Pringle behind them in the last two games.

McCarthy says the Blues have lined-up more defensively on previous occasions and found the net more easily.

“It’s strange, isn’t it?” he continued. “We’ve had teams which have been far more disciplined and organised and rigid in their formation and won games, we’ve played and stuck at it and just not been as expansive.

“There’s not answer to it. You can sit in and nick a result or you can be all over them and get caught on the break, which, to be honest, we did with Rotherham. We were doing the attacking and got done on the break.”

He says the players are continuing to work on the training field as they try to end the goal drought.

“TC’s has his routines every Friday, not every Friday, if we’ve played Tuesday that’s too much because it’s a bit demanding then to be doing what he would do. But they continue practising.

“Nothing changes, it doesn’t change that much. You get into a routine and practice things and then you don’t ease up and stop doing it, then start doing it because we haven’t scored goals, it’s not fickle as that.”

The Town boss is pleased to have midfielder Teddy Bishop and striker David McGoldrick available again after their injuries but says they’re not yet ready to start games.

“I’m 100 per cent Bish is over his injuries but he’s nowhere near 100 per cent fit and ready to play 90 minutes,” he said.

“But that’s the minor side of it. The big side of it is that he’s not suffering with any injuries, he’s training every day, it’s brilliant.

“Didzy, I’m not certain about to start and play, that’s still the same. He had his 30 minutes cameo and I think he’ll benefit from that.

“Throwing them in and asking them to play 90 minutes, it’s just so different. Gradually getting the minutes into them so they can compete for 90 minutes is the way forward.”

Does he wonder what might have been this season had he had the duo fit and hadn’t also lost Ryan Fraser for two spells and more recently Daryl Murphy to injuries?

“Of course, but it doesn’t do me any favours thinking about that. And there’s nothing I can do about that at any stage, whether it’s when we’ve lost Murph, we’ve had Ryan missing for two chunks of the season. We just have to concentrate on Saturday and try and win the game.”

McCarthy has said he plans to freshen his side up for their third game in eight days and one of those who could come into the starting line-up is Luke Varney, who has impressed his manager having got over his achilles injury.

“I’m delighted with him, he’s been great. He’s an example to any professional. From snapping his achilles about this time last year to come back and train the way he’s done and to contribute the way he has and just to be a really good pro around the place is fab.”

Reflecting on the 2-2 draw at Brentford on the opening day of the season, when the hosts netted twice in injury time, McCarthy said: “It was one of our best performances and one of our biggest disappointments because we should never have lost two points in that game, as we have done in other games, at Forest, at Bolton, I can’t remember anywhere else off the top of my head.

“That was one of the best performances and one of the biggest regrets, biggest disappointments because we should have had three points from it.”

The Blues boss is unlikely to switch his keeper, Bartosz Bialkowski, or his back four of skipper Luke Chambers, Tommy Smith, Christophe Berra and Jonas Knudsen.

McCarthy may look to change things around in midfield. If he sticks with the 4-3-3 system he has utilised in recent matches Cole Skuse could be joined in the deeper lying roles by Luke Hyam with Kevin Bru perhaps coming into the more advanced position.

With Daryl Murphy still injured, Brett Pitman seems likely to continue in the central striking role with Luke Varney perhaps coming into the side for Liam Feeney on one flank with Freddie Sears on the other.

The returning McGoldrick and Bishop are likely to be introduced from the bench in the second half.

Brentford have a lengthy injury list with midfielder Josh McEachran out for the remainder of the campaign having refractured a metatarsal.

One-time Town trialist John Swift, who is on loan from Chelsea, is out with an achilles injury, while Leandro Rodriguez (hamstring) is not yet ready to return.

Lewis Macleod (knee), Philipp Hofmann (back) and Andreas Bjelland (cruciate) are also set to miss out, while Marco Djuricin has returned to training having been ill.

Bees head coach Dean Smith says his side is full of confidence after back-to-back victories over Nottingham Forest away, 3-0, and at home to Bolton, 3-1.

“The six points were just what we needed and they are what our performances deserved,” he told the Brentford official site.

“It gives everyone a bit of a breather but it also gives people renewed confidence and smiles on the faces.

“Hopefully, we can take that into Saturday’s game now against Ipswich Town who are pushing for the play-offs.

“I have a lot of respect for Mick McCarthy and the job that he has done at every football club.

“He gave me some great advice when I first took over at Walsall and he was at Wolves. I am looking forward to pitting my wits against him.

“We have got to be at our best because they are fighting to get into the play-offs. Every game in the Championship so far has been a physical test.

“There are a lot of physical players about in the league but we have got a good technical ability to our play as well.

“Historically the pitch at Portman Road has always been fantastic, so hopefully it will be the same and we can play some of our football.”

The teams have only met on 11 previous occasions with the Blues having had much the better of the West Londoners.

Overall, Town have won six of the games between the sides (two in the league), the Bees one (one) with four (four) ending in draws.

On the opening day of the season at Griffin Park, injury-time goals from Andre Gray and James Tarkowski saw Brentford grab a shock 2-2 draw.

Town had seemed well on their way to claiming all three points via goals from Kevin Bru and debutant Ryan Fraser either side of the break, but the Bees struck twice in time added on to claim a hugely unlikely point.

In March last year at Portman Road, Town missed a succession of second-half chances as the two play-off challenging sides drew 1-1.

Daryl Murphy put the Blues ahead in the ninth minute via his 22nd goal of the season, then Jonathan Douglas hit back for the Bees, before the Blues failed to take numerous opportunities to win it in the second half with Murphy missing a gilt-edged chance just after half-time.

Three current Town players have previously been with Brentford. Jay Tabb was at Griffin Park between August 2000 and June 2006, making 114 starts and 42 sub appearances, scoring 24 goals.

Centre-half Tommy Smith was on loan at Brentford between January and March 2010, making eight starts.

Former Bees skipper Jonathan Douglas joined the Blues on a free transfer last summer having made 186 starts and one sub appearance while at Griffin Park, scoring 17 goals.

Brentford loanee Swift was on trial with the Blues from his parent club Chelsea with a view to joining on loan in November 2014 but having impressed the Town management suffered an injury and the move never materialised.

Bees winger Alan Judge came close to joining the Blues from Notts County in the summer of 2013 but ended up moving to Blackburn.

Following the game the Supporters Club is staging their annual Player Awards Evening where the Player of the Year and the Academy Player of the Year will be named. Tickets to the event, which will be attended by the players and management staff, have already sold out.

Saturday’s referee is Phil Gibbs from the West Midlands, who has shown 56 yellow cards and two red in 19 games so far this season.

Gibbs’s last Town match was the 1-1 draw at AFC Bournemouth in which he booked only Luke Hyam.

Prior to that, he was in charge of the 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough in September 2012 in which he again only showed one card, a yellow to a Teessider.

Earlier that year Gibbs refereed the Blues’ 1-0 home victory over Barnsley, while his only other Town game was the 2-1 defeat to the Tykes in October 2009.

Squad from: Bialkowski, Gerken, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Foley, Berra, Smith, Digby, Hyam, Douglas, Skuse, Tabb, Bru, Bishop, Pringle, Feeney, Maitland-Niles, Touré, Sears, Pitman, Varney, McGoldrick.

Photo: Action Images



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TR11BLU added 06:53 - Apr 8
freshening it up.... I suppose it's hyam for Douglas then.
9

paulcooperisgod added 07:03 - Apr 8
The best way to freshen up town? Take a trip to villa park with your cv so we can 'freshen' up the managers office. NO BALLS NO AMBITION just go MM
6

Mick_Mills_Tache added 07:04 - Apr 8
If that's the case, Mick, set us up to WIN games. Don't set us up to not lose and to draw games.
17

TractorCam added 07:10 - Apr 8
We have 1 win in 6 which includes failing to beat Bolton, Rotherham and Charlton, it's over Mick.
14

oioihardy added 07:17 - Apr 8
So many tools on twtd now. How can you say we haven't improved under mick. I don't see us in league 1 which is what would of most certainly happened under Jewell. He came in and saved us. Got us to play offs , which I think he don't it too soon too early because the bar was set SO high when our team isn't ready still to be a play off team , because of the lack of funds. I mean on our budget which in guessing is really small who do you think we could bring into the team to improve it for a really small fee !? The best we can do is look lower league. We were over achieving last season down to Murphys form. When people see this/ understand this they won't cry for mick to be sacked the idiots
-23

PJewellisaGod added 07:36 - Apr 8
Coke for Douglas then?
I have given up.
3

essex57 added 07:55 - Apr 8
Oiohardy couldn't agree with you more unfortunately not many will I won't say any more as it upsets essexboy.
-20

hoppy added 08:05 - Apr 8
"Throwing them in and asking them to play 90 minutes, it’s just so different. Gradually getting the minutes into them so they can compete for 90 minutes is the way forward.”

How about starting McGoldrick and then replacing him after 45 mins or an hour then? It would be getting more minutes into him, without expecting 90 from him, and you could bring Pitman on to replace him - as Pitman has also been more effective from the bench too. Or does that make too much sense?
15

prebsa added 08:13 - Apr 8
Hoppy thats far to sensible dont be so silly.
3

planetblue_2011 added 08:29 - Apr 8
We need to win all 6 games to reach the playoffs as we have sheff weds & Derby to play.
Win every game 1.0 that will do us.
I'll wake up now haha
0

Drew added 09:18 - Apr 8
An attacking line up would be nice:

Bart
Chambers Smith Berra Knudsen
Skuse
Pringle Hyam Bru Feeney
Sears
0

Surco72 added 09:54 - Apr 8
MM saved us from relegation ? we were only a quarter of the way through the season and that squad is his best return of points since he has been here .

He was stubborn over Bart which clearly cost us points this season and is stubborn over his negative centre midfield pairing which has cost us .

Bart

Chambo, Berra , Smith
Feeney , Foley , Hyam , Pringle
Dids
Sears Pitman
10

Bert added 09:58 - Apr 8
Fair and appropriate comments from MM which is more than I can say about the unrepresentative and unrealistic posters who have no balance in their views.
-12

Daleyitfc added 10:11 - Apr 8
“I always found that winning placates the fans and, of course, if you’re winning, no matter how you play people like it."
That shows how much attention he pays to fans' comments here and elsewhere (none), or indeed the local press, because people did NOT like it even though we beat Blackburn last month.
6

essexboy added 10:12 - Apr 8
Essex57,you just cannot bite your tongue can you.As you keep saying on here,everybody is entitled to there opinion.
9

chenners17 added 10:16 - Apr 8
When you look at the highlights from last years game at home against them AND the game this season away, the confidence was brewing within the team and we actually looked a decent team! What has happened?!
1

chenners17 added 10:17 - Apr 8
bru looked really good against Brentford this season and last season we were creating numerous chances which we just aren't doing this year
1

Bob7881 added 10:41 - Apr 8
essexboy its easy to make comments when hiding behind a PC one way or another McCarthy wont be here forever then when he does go he can take his groupies with him.
2

TimmyH added 10:41 - Apr 8
BIG question is under Mick (if he stays for the next 2 seasons) can you see us under him getting a 27 goal a season scorer? change the defense from this season? have one of the most influential full backs (Mings) of last season in the Championship? stop playing 2 defensive midfielders (as per this season)? and improve or get to sixth place?...the answer to those (probably) is no!
It would have been a travisty if we didn't make the play-offs last season, if Mick is to stay his mindset has to change, start playing passing footballers in midfield which would be aided by defenders who are comfortable passing from the back. BIG doubts we'll achieve anything like last season if Mick remains here.
4

Bob7881 added 10:47 - Apr 8
The mindset will not change he dosent know how to. Just a thought if anyone wants to watch cart horses and donkeys try Easton Farm Park its cheaper.
2

essexboy added 10:49 - Apr 8
Bob7881,If you were to read my posts very carefully I have never said he should leave,BUT,I have been very critical of his tactics and team selection.I think I'm qualified enough to comment on this as I go to every home and away games and have been doing so for the past 40 years.
2

martin587 added 11:04 - Apr 8
Why is it that posters on here cannot accept each other's points of view.We are all entitled to air our thoughts.we all love this team and want whatever is best.
5

Bob7881 added 11:04 - Apr 8
essexboy well if you feel that way all well and good. I have been consistant from day one IMO McCarthy is not for me i hate the style he plays so i now spend my money watch other teams around Europe. Im not saying boycott ITFC but i wont return until the football improves. ITFC have always been my club and i always want the best for them but i want to see decent football as well. My first game was 1972 so feel qualified to an opinion.
4

essex57 added 11:23 - Apr 8
Essex boy full respect for your attendance I've been to all home and all bar 3 away if I'm to be honest the seeds of this season were set at Colchester in the friendly we gave away too many cheap goals although I'm forever the optimist I did say to my pal I think we would struggle this year.
Onto Brentford cruising then let in 2 ridiculous extra time goals.
Nottingham Forest battled to get in front then extra time AMN tippy tapping the ball in the attacking half gave it away and we pay the price.
Many games poor defending from set pieces cost us points the list goes on.
Could it of been rectified perhaps I still maintain that any combination of our current squad would not guarantee any different results.
I fully believe that MM has worked with both hands tied as all the rhetoric about cash being available was rubbish talk is cheap and anybody isn't going to bite the hand that feeds it unless prepared to walk away.
Finally if we hadn't had the injuries it most probably would of been better and we could of been looking forward to the playoffs.
My only criticism of MM is that perhaps he should say a little less at press conferences sometimes little is better it's what he says that mainly gives fuel to some of the rhetoric on here.
In conclusion I hope he's given another chance next season as I feel with all the players back and hopefully some investment we can progress.
I await the down arrows and all the usual abuse I receive.
9

martin587 added 11:24 - Apr 8
Bob7881,I see you are knocking other people's posts,but are you justified if you don't watch Ipswich play anymore.Essexboy has been very consistent with his posts and regularly questions the management and owner.just because he has never said MM should leave it does not mean that he or other posters on here want him to stay either.I'm sure I speak for many posters on here.
1


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