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Brighton and Hove Albion 1 v 1 Ipswich Town
Barclays Premier League
Tuesday, 14th February 2017 Kick-off 19:45
McCarthy Out to Build on Villa Win at Brighton
Monday, 13th Feb 2017 17:48

Town boss Mick McCarthy admits he would have taken two draws from the away games at Aston Villa and Brighton but having won 1-0 at Villa Park on Saturday the Blues visit the Amex on Tuesday evening with a chance of recording back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

“I’d have taken two draws, of course I would and we’ve got three points already but I don’t want to settle for that, I want to go down to Brighton and get something, and so do the players,” said McCarthy, whose side climbed to 13th after the win at Villa.

“They’ve been encouraged by their performances and certainly by the result on Saturday.”

He says he’s happier after the recent upturn but says he never felt any pressure from owner Marcus Evans during the Blues’ poorer run of form.

“I’m not under any pressure from Marcus, I never feel that,” he added. “I get a little bit sick of talking to [the media] about my job.

“I feel better in myself because my team has played well and the players have played well and had good results.

“It’s not about what you think or anybody else thinks, I don’t really concern myself with that.

“I’ve been annoyed, I’ve put myself under pressure to have a good team, so, yes, I do feel better about myself but that’s because my team’s played well and we won on Saturday, not because anybody else might be thinking nicer things about me, I’m not bothered.”

McCarthy has unsurprisingly been impressed with what he’s seen of Brighton, who are currently second in the Championship having spent much of the season swapping top spot with Newcastle United.

“They’ve got a really good team, Chris doesn’t change it much, it’s been 4-4-2,” he continued.

“They’re a really solid outfit, they’ve got a goal threat, there’s no doubt about that. I saw them against Huddersfield and Huddersfield were brilliant against them, they absolutely bashed them, but I’ve seen them play this year and they’ve been outstanding.

“They’re just really solid, really consistent. They’re always going to have a bad result at some stage, and we all know that Huddersfield are a good team. They’ll be gunning for us, that’s for sure.”

Having missed out on automatic promotion last season on goal difference and then lost out again in the play-offs, McCarthy says the way they have bounced back this season has shown their strength of character.

“I think that’s remarkable and a test of their mental strength definitely, from Chris, he’s been about, he’s had promotions before and he’s been a success wherever he’s been,” the Blues boss said.

“But for the players to come back and be as consistent again I think is a real sign of a good team, a good manager getting the best out of them and a bunch of lads that are pretty confident.”

McCarthy is close friends with Seagulls boss Chris Hughton, the two having played alongside one another for the Republic of Ireland for many years, and he admits he’d like to see them win promotion.

“For the fear of upsetting somebody else like I did last year when I said I hope they win the play-offs, my opinion’s not changed this year,” he added.

“He is a pal of mine, I played with him for a long time, he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, dead straight, dead honest, just a regular guy.

“He did his hard yards with Spurs as the assistant and coach and he’s had great success as a manager and I wish him every success this year, of course after we’ve been there.”

Having added seven players to his squad in January, McCarthy’s options have again been limited by injuries with Christophe Berra (concussion), Cole Skuse (achilles), Steven Taylor (hamstring, Dominic Samuel (broken toe) and Danny Rowe (groin) all having picked up problems in addition to the longer term absentees.

“We had the old versus young game before the match and on Friday I was having to leave people out of it,” he added.

“Tommy Smith, Luke Hyam and Dougie didn’t take part in it because we’d got to the 20 [outfield players] and now we’re struggling to get it up to 16 again. It’s been nuts, the injuries.”

Skuse’s absence in central midfield has given Grant Ward a chance to impress alongside new loanees Emyr Huws and Toumani Diagouraga in the central midfield three.

“He’s played there before, he made his debut there and came on and scored a hat-trick from that position in a three, so quite clearly he’s done it. And he does offer a goal threat, that’s for sure,” McCarthy continued.

“He’s pretty comfortable wide right, which is his best position I’m not quite sure, but he’s been excellent in the centre of the pitch.”

The latest injuries have given players on the fringes their chance to show they're worth inclusion on a more regular basis.

“I’m hoping that they’ll play well, I never want squad members to not go in and play well, that’s what they’re there for," the Town boss added.

“That’s what they earn their money for, when they get their opportunity to come in and do it.”

Bartosz Bialkowski will again start in goal with McCarthy hinting at his pre-match press conference that he will continue with his three-man backline, despite the loss of Taylor and Berra.

That would see Jordan Spence on the right and Jonas Knudsen on the left of skipper Luke Chambers with Josh Emmanuel the right wing-back and Myles Kenlock on the left.

In midfield, Ward will continue alongside Huws and Diagouraga, while Tom Lawrence - still walking that suspension tightrope - partnering David McGoldrick up front.

Brighton have no new injury worries but full-back Gaetan Bong is expected to miss out again due to a knee injury, while former Blues loanee Liam Rosenior won’t be involved as he continues his comeback from an ankle injury.

Winger Anthony Knockaert, who was close to joining the Blues on loan two years ago when with Leicester, will be fit despite suffering a knock to the ankle during Saturday’s 4-1 home win against Burton Albion.

Brighton boss Hughton isn’t expecting an easy evening, despite Town’s lengthy injury list.

"Ipswich are always a threat. They went through a difficult period, but they have a manager I know very well,” he told the Brighton Argus.

"Whenever he is called upon to turn things around he can, because of the quality of the man and the quality of players they have got.

"In my time here we've never had a comfortable game against Ipswich. They are on the back of a very good victory at Villa, so they are coming here in good form with good confidence. We certainly have to be aware of that."

Historically, Town have the upper hand, having won 31 of the games (28 in the league) between the sides, Brighton 24 (22) and with 14 (13) ending in draws.

The Seagulls will be looking for their seventh successive home win, while the Blues have won two of their last three matches at the Amex.

Town still haven’t recorded the same result in successive league games since drawing with Wolves and then Norwich back in August, 27 games ago, a new club record.

In September at Portman Road the game between the sides ended in a 0-0 draw. Town were the better side but were unable to turn their superiority into goals even after the Seagulls were reduced to 10 men in the closing stages after Dale Stephens's red card.

The teams last met at the Amex Stadium four days after Christmas 2015 when Daryl Murphy netted his seventh goal of the season to see the Blues to a 1-0 victory at Brighton, their fifth successive away victory which equalled a club record set in 1976. Murphy seized on an error by Seagulls defender Lewis Dunk in the 32nd minute.

Brighton keeper David Stockdale spent the first half of 2011/12 on loan with the Blues making 18 appearances.

Full-back Rosenior was with the Blues on loan for most of the 2009/10 campaign making 28 starts and three sub appearances, scoring once.

Striker Leon Best, who has been told he won’t play for Town again and is also currently sidelined with a groin injury, spent the second half of the 2014/15 season on loan at Brighton from Blackburn and made six starts and seven sub appearances without scoring.

Blues assistant boss Terry Connor was a player with Brighton between 1983 and 1987.

Tuesday’s referee is Roger East from Wiltshire, who has shown 97 yellow cards and five red in 22 games so far this season.

East’s most recent Town match was the 5-1 defeat at Reading in September 2015 in which he yellow-carded Jonas Knudsen, Luke Chambers, Cole Skuse, Ryan Fraser and no home players.

He also took control of the play-off semi-final second leg against Norwich at Carrow Road in May 2015 in which Christophe Berra was red-carded and Cole Skuse and one Canary were both booked.

Prior to that, he was in charge of the 2-2 draw at Birmingham in August 2014 in which he cautioned only one home player.

Squad from: Bialkowski, Gerken, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Kenlock, Emmanuel, Spence, Digby, Diagouraga, Huws, Douglas, Bru, Bishop, Ward, Lawrence, Sears, Pitman, McGoldrick, Moore.

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walberblue added 18:30 - Feb 13
After the Villa win, "The win is a big boost for me, the team, the club and Marcus Evans." No thanks or mention of the fans. "It's all about me"

woohoo added 18:34 - Feb 13
"Ipswich are always a threat."

Well, lets hope so!

Mark added 18:39 - Feb 13
Anything at all at Brighton would be an unexpected boost. It would be hard with a full strength team, but going there with our injury list is a real challenge. Everyone expects us to lose, so maybe that will take a bit of pressure off and we can put in a good performance.

Kentish_Tractor added 18:58 - Feb 13
Would take 0-0 right now if you offered it to me.

BlueMachines added 19:19 - Feb 13
This guy is so negative he would have probably taken 2 1-0 defeats.

Bluetone added 19:41 - Feb 13
Me me me me I I I I.

Sums up McCarthy and his arrogant outlook.

Dissboyitfc added 19:43 - Feb 13
The Dino does it again. Just when there is a little bit of feel good factor he reminds the fans and his feelings towards those fans by saying its not about what we think ( actually it is) and he is not bothered about the fans feelings.

Never wanted a manager out of ipswich more than i want him gone!

McCarthy OUT! just go!

cromwellblue added 20:07 - Feb 13
Happy posters are out again

Since you want the fans to get credit for the Villa result are you taking some responsibility for the toxic atmosphere at Portman Road which won't have helped performances?

No, thought not. Just MM for that one.


jabberjackson added 20:14 - Feb 13
It's so nice that he's so chummy("He's a pal of mine", on repeat) with so many of the managers in the Championship
Ollie, Brucie, Hughts...the list is endless
I wish I was as popular

Although this comment makes me think Chris Hughton doesn't like Mick as much as Mick loves him
"Ipswich are always a threat. They went through a difficult period, but they have a manager I know very well,”
Obviously thinks he is a bit of a chippy c**k, like so many of the posters on here do...

sereneblue added 20:36 - Feb 13
Let's build on are win at Villa by having two shots on goal and not camping in our own half for the whole game.

cat added 20:46 - Feb 13
I don't expect MM to come out with any praise or respect for the majority of the fans for one minute, he ain't that type of bloke!! coupled with the fact he is often on the receiving end of some abuse, specially from fans like myself. However there are fans who are still in favour of him, so he should show a little humility to them and also to the fans who travel and attend games. I have had enough of him though and have done for 18 months now. I do not think he is capable of taking us forward and come the end of the season the table will show this. The style of play is old hat, and clearly don't fit with our traditions of pass and move football. I do however, for all his faults (which there are numerous) respect the man for being a mans, mans, (proper bloke) and I like that, and also for the fact he does comes out with some corking one liners!!
Dino out though imo :)

Ipswichbusiness added 21:25 - Feb 13
It will be interesting to see how we line-up. With only two centre-backs seemingly match fit, the obvious option would be to revert to 4-4-2 which would mean an extra midfielder in front of the back line. However, midfield seems to have its own lengthy casualty list at the moment so I expect 3-5-2 with Knudsen as a makeshift left centre-back; not ideal but probably the best in the circumstances.

hello66 added 22:15 - Feb 13
Well his come out showing his true colours, given up before the game even starts.

Sets the team up defensive style of play does care one horse hair for fans as long as he gets a point always from home if he stubbles over the line to a win sits in the press room having a pop at us fans looking for entertainment.

Let's remember the stats from last game one shot on target ! ..... he got lucky . ( very pleased with win all of us fans we want to stay up )

Please set the team up to have a go at goal ..... well if we get two shots on goal tomorrow it will be 100% improvement.

Mick out ! .... I want to win ..... I want to stay up.... I want attacking intertaining style ...... oops sound like one of my children. ...... ok I will settle for Mick gone in the summer !

Dissboyitfc added 07:22 - Feb 14
Cat...Proper post, well said!

TimmyH added 08:29 - Feb 14
Confidence is a strange thing and can get you results particularly in this league, a draw tonight would be a decent result - just don't set the team up Mick to defend (like you generally do). I can't see us winning this with a 1 shot on target again but a draw as mentioned would be noteworthy.

Guthrum added 08:30 - Feb 14
Well you weren't at Villa on Saturday if you think that's how it went, sereneblue.

And, apart from the honesty of cat, the rest of the blubbering over not being cuddled by McCarthy (despite the abuse directed towards him by those same people) is just pathetic.

The man and his team are managing to wring a reasonable number of points from the "Month of Doom" during which we were supposed to get none. Give them some credit.

oldelsworthyfan added 08:40 - Feb 14
How about

Emmanuel Spence Chambers Knudsen Kenlock
Ward Diagoura Huws
Lawrence McGoldrick

with Smith, Bishop and Sears on the bench, but leave Douglas at home?

stourvalleyblue added 09:23 - Feb 14
defense was the only option with the players available.
the players we have now allow a better balanced team with a competitive midfield that has the ability to push forward.
as for the posters on here who think Mick is "dissing", them you get what you deserve for the abuse you send him.
i am sure if any manager was advised by all his teams supporters ...

Ferguson added 10:01 - Feb 14
There have been many occasions over the years where injury has led to our managers being forced into adopting new formations and new styles of play; and where new faces have stepped up to the mark and made a real contribution.
I'm not a fan of his but I was pleased by Chambers leadership on Saturday. The spine of the side looks good, we've got effective wing backs and the midfield is revitalized.
Effectively we've got a new team out there tonight. If I'm wrong I'm wrong, but I think the lads will have a real go at Brighton. Lawrence to score. Bart will probably be man of the match again and 2-1 to the Town.


weevil added 10:07 - Feb 14
The fans have nothing to be praised for by MM, we've all be gunning for his neck for the past 3 months (deservedly so)

Don't complain when he doesn't mention the fans saying its all "me me me" with MM, because when you talk like that you're exactly the same.

Brighton is going to be an extremely tough fixture, I am just very grateful we won at Villa against the grain because I doubt lightning will strike twice, Brighton have more quality in attack than Villa do, and if Brighton have that many shots on target, we will not keep a clean sheet, no matter how many brilliant saves our player of the season Bialkowski does.

carsey added 10:38 - Feb 14
I don't really give a flying f*ck anymore what McCarthy thinks or says I am only interested in what happens on the pitch and the results.
We may have had only one shot on target at Villa but we scored and we won and I felt much better on Saturday evening because of it.
My main concern tonight and on Saturday is that Tom Lawrence doesn't get booked and therefore misses the Norwich match. He is a game changer and it really would be nice beat them and shut my Scum loving relatives up for a few days.

BlueMachines added 12:32 - Feb 14
So wrong stourvalleyblue. Times when Johnmy Williams and Dozzel were sat on the bench and we were starting with Skuse and Douglas are not to be forgotten. Either of those more forward thinking players could've played.

Bluetone added 14:50 - Feb 14
School holidyas and the McCarthy is greast mob are all posting says it all for me.

SheptonMalletBlue added 14:55 - Feb 14
Well said Blue machines. There is no getting away from the fact that McCarthy is cr*p manager who has been forced to make the recent changes. His style is negative, always had been. The sooner he goes the better. Then hopefully a new manager with a more positive outlook on the way the game should be played will see us be more competitive and get back to where we want to be.

Brownie added 15:57 - Feb 14
Lots of sensitive people on here..

MM had plenty of opportunities to pick positive teams and make positive substitutions. He didn't and he rarely does. He constantly picked players out of form and position. I support the team but want a change of manager. My view on that won't change.

I do think credit to the team & MM for the last couple of performances and results. I just think it is time to change. I don't agree with those though who burst into tears every time he does not mention the fans or analyise every word in interviews to look for some perceived insult.

Big game tonight but let's go for the win Mick!


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