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McCarthy: Focus on Recent League Performances Not Cup Exit
Friday, 20th Jan 2017 21:00

Boss Mick McCarthy is hoping his players emulate their last three Championship performances and are able to put Tuesday’s embarrassing FA Cup exit to Vanarama National League leaders Lincoln City behind them when the Blues visit Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

Prior to Tuesday’s woeful display at Sincil Bank, which saw Town dumped out of the FA Cup by non-league opponents for the first time since Peterborough beat them 3-2 at Portman Road in 1960, the Blues had put in improved displays in the Championship.

VIctories over Bristol City and Blackburn at home, 2-1 and 3-2 respectively, sandwiched a 2-1 loss at QPR, a game McCarthy’s side really should have won.

“They always say one game at a time and you can only take the Lincoln game but I’ve said to the players today that our last three performances in the league have been good, certainly the two home performances and results were good,” McCarthy said.

“And that’s really what we should focus on. We can’t do anything about the FA Cup, it’s gone, it’s done. I know if I spoke to Norman Hunter he’d still remember the Colchester game [in 1971] when they [Leeds United] got beat, and Allan Clarke.

“I played with both of those and they both told me at FA Cup ties that would be with them for the rest of their lives, and it is. And the same with Tuesday for me.

“But it’s just part of my history, that. I’ve got a pretty good history if I look through mine, I’ve had some good results and some bad ones and that’s just one of the bad ones unfortunately.”

Is he confident his players will be able to put Tuesday behind them? “I hope so, Wednesday was a tough day. It was for me, probably was for the rest of them, humbling, humiliating, embarrassing. It was.

“But sometimes that suggests the opposition weren’t very good and yet they were, they were a very good team and they’ve not lost at Sincil Bank since September. But in spite of all that we shouldn’t lose to them.

“So, congratulations to them, they played very well. And I’ve been the giant slayer, I’ve been the one that’s turned the big teams over and it’s a great day then, the day after, you’re basking, glorying in telling how good you are.

“But when you’re the bigger team it’s horrible and it was a horrible day Wednesday. But you’ve got to get over it.

“I came back to work on Thursday, I’ve got a game on Saturday and we’ll soon find out whether they’ve got over it.

“I don’t know with individuals, you can go around and ask them and they go ‘I’m fine’, I’m never quite certain about that but we’ll see.”

McCarthy admits performances such as Tuesday’s from his team do concern him, although he accepts responsibility for the similarly disappointing display as his side lost 2-0 at home to Fulham on Boxing Day.

“Fulham, we almost sat back, tactically as much as anything, we knew their full-backs would get forward and we tried to deal with them, and it didn’t work,” he admitted.

“I’m not going to blame the players for that one. There’s still an element that they can change it on the pitch and do more, but that was as much down to me as it was them. The other night, does it worry me? Yes, it does. I wouldn’t want to see many of them.

“That’s the first time I’ve seen that. God bless the FA Cup because I’ve seen other teams get turned over, not only us, but it’s only us that concerns me and concerns the people in Ipswich, of course.

“But it’s been happening for years and years and years. And like I said, I haven’t got an answer. I can’t tell you the reason why, it’s just not very nice when it happens to us, to me.

“Like I say, I’ve been on the other side when I’ve been on the winning team as a lower team and it’s fab. That’s what the FA Cup’s all about.”

Huddersfield have been the Championship’s surprise package this season and are currently fifth, nine places and 12 points above the Blues.

McCarthy believes they can maintain their play-off form for the rest of the season: “They are a good side, mind you there are a lot competing for those top six spots. But I think they’ll manage it.”

Looking at their squad, he identified who he believes is the Terriers’ key man: “I’d say Aaron Mooy is the standout player without a shadow of a doubt, he’s the one for me that’s driven that team.

“Any time I see him play, he seems to be all over the place, he’s the one that gets the ball, he’s got a personality, he makes the team play, makes them tick.

“And I think they’re very good going forward. They try to get you pressed in and they go chasing it and go after you but I think you can score against them.”

Questioned on whether Tuesday’s performance made up his mind regarding some of the players involved, he added: “It’s made up my mind that they’ll all be here and all be in the squad because I’ve only got about 12 fit ones that are first-team players!

“[I’m not really in a position to wield the axe], and by the way they’ve been great for me, they don’t deserve to be [axed] on that one performance.”

One player who may have enhanced his standing on Tuesday was central defender Paul Digby, who came into the side as a replacement for Adam Webster, who has been ruled out for the season due to an ankle ligament injury.

“To be fair to Diggers, the other night he didn’t do anything wrong, I can’t be saying anything was down to him,” McCarthy said

“He’s been out for a long time [with a knee injury], thought he might be going out somewhere else on trial or on a loan deal but suddenly he’s in the team. Fair play to him, he was ready to go.”

Despite Dean Gerken having been similarly blameless in Tuesday’s defeat - indeed, the former Colchester keeper prevented the Imps from taking a first-half lead with a very sharp save - Bartosz Bialkowski is set to return in goal.

Given his available personnel McCarthy may well opt to stick with the three-man backline, which would see skipper Luke Chambers in the middle with Digby to his right and Christophe Berra to his left. Josh Emmanuel and Jonas Knudsen will be the wing-backs.

In midfield, Cole Skuse will take up his usual holding role with Andre Dozzell and Kevin Bru likely return to the starting XI having been on the bench at Lincoln.

Up front, Freddie Sears seems likely to come back into the team alongside Tom Lawrence with Brett Pitman set to return to the bench after his calf injury.

New signings Kieffer Moore and Jordan Spence are both likely to be among the subs, while we understand 17-year-old Tristan Nydam has travelled with the squad.

Terriers midfielders Jonathan Hogg (quad strain) and Rajiv van la Parra (knee) are both back in training after injuries and will be in the squad.

But on-loan Chelsea midfielder Kasey Palmer is out with a hamstring injury, while Australian Mooy, the man McCarthy cited as Huddersfield’s key player, is a doubt with a back injury.

Winger Sean Scannell is a long-term absentee with an ankle problem, while former Southend midfielder Jack Payne, a player the Blues were keen on last summer, is suspended having been red-carded in last week’s 2-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday.

Huddersfield have signed striker Collin Quaner from Union Berlin and the big German will be available to face the Blues.

Historically, Town have won 22 games between the sides (including the only cup tie), the West Yorkshiremen 13, with nine ending in draws.

If Town fail to win they will have gone 23 league games without repeating the same result in successive matches - since they drew with Wolves and then Norwich in August - beating the previous club record of 22 established in 1965/66.

In October, Championship leaders Huddersfield recorded their first win at Portman Road for 20 years as Christopher Schindler’s second-half header saw the Terriers to a 1-0 victory.

The Blues, who were beaten at home for the first time in the league this season and failed to score for the fourth successive match, never looked like getting back into the game after the German centre-half had put the visitors in front from a 58th minute corner.

The teams last met at the John Smith’s Stadium in February last year when loanee Ben Pringle’s first Town goal after 19 minutes saw the Blues to a battling 1-0 victory.

Pringle netted in a first half largely dominated by the home side who missed a succession of chances and played the final quarter of a hour of the game with 10 men, Jonathan Hogg having picked up an injury after they had used all their subs.

Blues academy coach Alan Lee was with the West Yorkshiremen until the summer of 2013 before returning to Town.

Striker Leon Best had a trial with the Terriers at the start of 2015/16 and featured for their U21s - coincidentally against the Blues - before moving on and joining Rotherham.

Huddersfield frontman Nahki Wells spent time on trial at Portman Road as a teenager. He did enough to be asked to stay on for a longer spell but the homesick youngster opted to go back to Bermuda and the Dandy Town Hornets before later making his return to English football with Carlisle and then Bradford before joining the Terriers in January 2014.

Saturday’s referee is Andy Davies from Hampshire, who has shown 88 yellow cards and four red in 25 games so far this season.

Davies has only taken charge of two Town matches, both of which have ended goalless and both of which have seen the opposition reduced to 10 men.

He was in charge of the 0-0 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion in September, in which he showed eight yellow cards, two of them and then a red to Seagulls midfielder Dale Stephens. Luke Chambers, Josh Emmanuel, Jonathan Douglas and Tom Lawrence were the Town players cautioned.

Prior to that, Davies’s only other Blues game was the 0-0 home draw with Huddersfield last October when he red-carded Terriers striker James Vaughan for a second bookable offence in the final minute.

Squad from: Bialkowski, Gerken, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Emmanuel, Spence, Webber, Berra, Digby, Fowler, Skuse, Douglas, Bru, Dozzell, Nydam, Ward, Lawrence, Sears, Best, Pitman, Moore, Morris.

Photo: TWTD

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Chondzoresk added 06:14 - Jan 20
I am off to watch Walsham le Willows v Newmarket... I will be focusing on that, watching decent local football.....not the turgid crap served up by you McCarthy. Come to think of it, why are you still here?

bedsitfc added 06:16 - Jan 20
I just hope we go out onto pitch positive!!!!!

I would rather lose the game playing to win it than losing it playing for a draw

Suffolk_n_Good added 06:56 - Jan 20
Notice there's no mention of the remarkable "Dougie" it's hard to tell if he's one of the fit ones or one of the injured!!

I genuinely can't believe that we've got to Friday & McCarthy is still here, disgraceful.

Brownie added 06:57 - Jan 20
I went to the Huddersfield game at back end of 2014/5. We lost as most of you will recall & were poor to be frank but like supporters do we still supported! And we had optimism..

Almost 2 years on we don't. Whether you are in or out in terms of Mick nobody can think we are better team now. The players still here are older & out of form(Berra & Skuse for example) or injured(Didz,Bishop,Smith).

That's the problem. We need to see light at the end of the tunnel and at the moment if we do it will definitely be the old oncoming train.

The person to change that is the owner. Time to change the manager and bring in new life, new ideas & new players. We won't go down but don't wait until the summer. MM is almost asking to be sacked with his current comments & demeanour. Loyalty is good but don't bury your head in the sand Marcus. Time to come out of the shadows & show us you can lead this club out of its current state.

Penguinblue added 07:06 - Jan 20
Unbelievable usual cr@p. Forget everything else, you are a clueless negative manager for Ipswich.

Just go. You can indulge everyone else about how great your life and history is , good luck to you - just get out of our club.

McCarthy OUT

Akaroablue added 07:09 - Jan 20
I suggested two years ago on this very sight to look at Adam Mooy! stand out in the A League, do the Ipswich Town scouts not bother?


Akaroablue added 07:11 - Jan 20
Sorry site

yorksblue added 07:13 - Jan 20
Sheff u v gillingham. A much better proposition for me tomorrow, im afraid.

DurhamTownFan added 07:22 - Jan 20
I read the headline and then the story, but MM still didn't give me a reason so believe that I should.

Surely yesterday he was basically saying 'ok I'll go but not til the summer'. He's basicallly admittting that it's all gone horribly stale. So what are we supposed to do for the rest of the season if the football remains awful and the results just as bad?

What will it take for ME to sack him earlier?

GTRKing added 07:34 - Jan 20
The club is going thru a tough time at the moment, we need to give full support to the player etc... & Mick is only using what he has got & he will be off in the summer... so let's finish the season on a high, if you wanna protest about mick or the players do it before or after the game, not during the game...

I do want mick out like most of you as he has lost the plot... but will back him until end of then season before he leaves etc... I will then look forward to a fresh start with a new manager.

Dissboyitfc added 07:36 - Jan 20
i can tell you why, Negative Tactics and wrong personal and thats not being wise after the event, look at the history books and playing Douglas seldom resulted in a victory. Douglas along with others are past it or not good enough!

You have more lives than a cat!

mickeyjb added 07:46 - Jan 20
I've gone from going to the matches to sitting on my phone looking at the comments to now remembering that we had a game that ended an hour or so ago. I can not believe the apathy that MM has brought. So yes he is around for a few more months, ok fair enough, there's nothing I can do about that and my stay away attitude will not change a thing so as so many others have said, I will still love Ipswich town, but I will turn my attention to non league football. My 17 year old son plays in the Wessex Premier league (step 9) and that is far more entertaining. MM's ramblings have turned into white noise, a bit like the teacher in Charlie Brown (for those of you old enough to remember that show)!! Sad times.

dirtydingusmagee added 07:56 - Jan 20
He is not interested [only in himself],Evans is not interested ,Why the hell should the fans be,the season is dead,the club is being strangled.NO POINT supporing current regime,.There are plenty of ways of enjoy Saturdays and many are less expensive.Stay away until next season when hopefully/thankfully McCarthy will peddling his crap elsewhere.Let Evans know we have had enough.

GiveusaWave added 08:11 - Jan 20
3 points needed urgently, if only to lift spirits a little....

WestNorfolk_Blue added 08:23 - Jan 20
Started to read but got bored with the same old, same old. Relating back to games in the 70's is fine but I reckon if Mick was to dwell and concern himself with every cr*p performance he is likely to burn in hell a bitter and twisted fool!!

positivity added 08:26 - Jan 20
hope he goes with the team suggested, looks the best available, and we need to keep trying with 3-5-2 for a few games.

midastouch added 08:53 - Jan 20
Clutching at straws Mick! Even if we cause an upset on Saturday (and to think it's now an upset to get 3 points against the likes of Huddersfield, how far we've slipped!) it won't compensate whatsoever for the prodigious embarrassment you and your players caused us Tuesday night. You've turned us into a laughing stock and heads should roll (managerial and playing staff).

wilnesstepover added 09:16 - Jan 20
We've got a pretty good history as a club too Mick if you hang to go back down that road. Certainly good enough to reject some of the absolute crap we've been treated to this season hence the criticism. You seem to take great pleasure in trying to pin the little Ipswich underdog tag on us with your cowardly tactics aka Fulham at home which is why we need a change at top to implement someone who is not afraid to take the game to sides and blood youngsters with technical ability and desire to improve

Michael11 added 09:53 - Jan 20
Ok so we should focus on the 3 wins in 8 games? Let's not forget that Wigan and Blackburn are both in the bottom 3 and Bristol City are 19th.

DurhamTownFan added 09:57 - Jan 20
Anyone who agrees with MM and supports anything he or Milne says has fallen for it, hook like and sinker. I just can't believe how many posters on here write in support of MM and ME when the club peddles out a positive-sounding story! Have your own opinions and stick with them! If MM was rubbish on Tuesday night, he still is, regardless of what he comes out with in his press conferences

OldClactonBlue added 09:58 - Jan 20
Comparing Ipswich today to Leeds of the Seventies now. What utter rubbish.
And I was at Layer Road that day, Colchester didn't win because Leeds were absolutely dreadful!
Get out. Go and take some other club back to the dark ages.

muccletonjoe added 10:09 - Jan 20
Cant believe he is sill here after tuesday.

MicksZzzTactics added 10:31 - Jan 20

Neither can I .... or Theresa May (off the record obviously LOL)!
Anyway this here page below should definitely "cheer you up":-) .... and if you follow English Football outside of ITFC even just vaguely you will probably know that a notable number of these here "casualties", high or low, had the noble ****DIGNITY**** to resign themselves!!!

blackcat added 10:31 - Jan 20
This game will show you everything you need to know about the whole team, If the respond by fighting to prove that the cup game was an embarrassing mistake and their better than that..
Or show they really don't care!
Hopefully Bilakowski will play as he is keepin us in with a chance most games
The rest need to do so much more than they have all season, but mostly MM needs to stop hijacking the team and turning wins into loses

Lightningboy added 10:36 - Jan 20

Scraping wins vs Bristol "9 defeats in 10" City & Blackburn "bottom 3 all season" Rovers.

Is Mick still on the sherry trifle?

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