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Rotherham United 1 v 0 Ipswich Town
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 22nd April 2017 Kick-off 15:00
Town Visit Rotherham With a Spring in Their Step
Thursday, 20th Apr 2017 19:12

Blues boss Mick McCarthy says his players have a spring in their step as they visit bottom club Rotherham having beaten promotion-pushing Newcastle United on Monday as they recorded back-to-back victories for the first time this season.

“That performance came on the back of a really good performance at Burton,” McCarthy reflected.

“There’s certainly a spring in their step, certainly better than the feeling that we had prior to going to Burton.

“That was a stressful time for everybody at the club because we were still in that relegation scrap.

“We were nine points [off the bottom three], then Blackburn won and it was six points and Wigan won.

“I thought the lads handled themselves really well and held it together. And the result and performance against Newcastle were really excellent.”

While McCarthy is keen for his now-15th-placed side to record a third win on the trot - for the first time since August 2015 - he has said he will field some of his fringe players in what is a dead rubber.

“If I make changes then it’s a bit like diluting the fact that we’ve had two good performances with the same team, getting two really good wins, two much-needed wins.

“But I hope people [won’t see it like] that. It might be an opportunity to see people that have not had a chance.”

He says he has to strike a balance with his selection and won’t be fielding a team of very young players.

“I certainly won’t be putting the kids in,” he said. “Tristan Nydam and Flynn Downes and Dozzer and all them. Rotherham will want to [win the game].

“The conundrum is whether I change all of them or most of them and then is that fair if I’m trying to look at somebody in terms of their form - would they come in and play better if there are only one or two changes? I’m sure they would. So that is a bit of a conundrum.”

McCarthy says Rotherham will be wanting to end their season positively despite a disappointing campaign which has seen them relegated by some distance. They are currently on 18 points, 22 fewer than 23rd-placed Wigan and 27 away from safety.

“They certainly will,” McCarthy said. “They gave us a good game when we played them down here [the match ended 2-2] and we know that on any given day the Championship can be turned on its head, I guess as was proved on Monday against Newcastle.

“It seems unfathomable that we could beat them after the way we played up there, but it was very much a different team, of course.

"And how we played against them and stopped them playing, it was a really good performance.

“Despite the fact that Rotherham are down, they’ll still be fighting tooth and nail, some to get jobs elsewhere, some to retain their status with Rotherham.

“And sometimes when a team’s been relegated, sometimes they start finding a bit of form that’s not been there all season.”

Among the players Town fans will be keeping their eye on at the New York Stadium will be 12-goal Rotherham striker Danny Ward, who Town were keen to sign in January.

McCarthy wouldn’t be drawn on his interest in the 26-year-old but admitted he has been impressed by him.

“He has done well,” he said. “I’m not going to get in that, talking about players I’ve been in for or spoken about.”

The Blues boss has previously signed the better players from relegated clubs - Cole Skuse was one of three signed from Bristol City in the summer of 2013 - and doesn’t rule out doing the same again in the future.

“We also took Paul Anderson and Dean Gerken, who all performed really well, two of them still are and Ando was terrific while he was here. I’ve no problem with taking players out of teams who have been relegated, no.”

Second guessing McCarthy’s side at Rotherham is tougher than usual given his intention to make changes, however, Bartosz Bialkowski is likely to continue in goal and the back four will probably again be - from the right - Jordan Spence, skipper Luke Chambers, Christophe Berra and Myles Kenlock.

In midfield, Skuse will probably be in his usual holding role but McCarthy could look to bring Teddy Bishop into the side, for either Grant Ward or Emyr Huws, with Andre Dozzell and Jonny Williams also in the running for a place but perhaps more likely to be subs.

Danny Rowe could start in place of Tom Lawrence, who is a doubt with an ankle injury, in what would then probably be a 4-4-2 system - which is also how the Millers have lined-up recently - with David McGoldrick and perhaps Dominic Samuel, who McCarthy has said he would like to see in match action.

Rotherham winger Anthony Forde will be fit to face the Blues following a leg injury, while right-back Darnell Fisher and left midfielder Joe Newell are OK after minor knocks.

Former Town keeper Lewis Price will be back in the Millers’ squad but will need surgery at some stage to address recurring tonsillitis.

Former Ireland international full-back Stephen Kelly is out for the season following achilles surgery, joining Lee Camp, Joel Ekstrand, Lee Frecklington (all knee) and Kirk Broadfoot (back) on the sidelines.

Rotherham’s Norwich-born boss Paul Warne says the Millers are determined to keep hold of star striker Ward, despite their relegation having turned down £2 million for him from an unnamed club in January.

“Only if an offer comes in near our valuation will we consider selling him,” he told the Sheffield Star.

“The chairman [Tony Stewart] said that to me, so if someone comes in with a cheeky offer we will just keep him for [next] season and get as many goals out of him as we can.”

Ward’s contract is up this summer but the Millers are taking up an option to keep him for a further year.

“I think when the season finishes the phone will start ringing again,” Warne added. “He had had a good year, playing in a poor team and scoring as many goals as he has.

“I think his overall performances have been really good and I think he will be an excellent addition to any team. But if he stays here, I would be cock-a-hoop.”

The Blues have won 14 of the previous games between the sides, all of which have been in the league, eight have ended in draws, with the Millers having won seven.

Rotherham are without a win in 17 matches since defeating Norwich City 2-1 at home in January, drawing only two of those games.

In October at Portman Road, McGoldrick netted a brilliant low drive deep in injury time to grab Town a last-gasp 2-2 draw against the Millers, whose point at Town remains the only one they have claimed on the road all season.

Freddie Sears had put the Blues in front in the third minute but man of the match Danny Ward equalised four minutes later, then put the visitors in front three minutes after the break. Town rarely looked like getting back on terms in a lacklustre second half until McGoldrick’s late strike.

Last time at the New York Stadium in November 2015, Daryl Murphy ended his early season goal drought by netting his first hat-trick in 11 years as the Blues thrashed Rotherham 5-2.

Brett Pitman and Jonathan Douglas had already scored before Murphy grabbed his first of the campaign to make it 3-0 at the break.

His second followed three minutes after the restart before the Millers hit back via Brandon Barker and Matt Derbyshire, but Murphy’s third in the 72nd minute ended any hopes of a dramatic comeback.

The Rotherham squad includes ex-Town keeper Lewis Price, who signed on a free transfer from Sheffield Wednesday last summer.

The 32-year-old joined Town as an academy scholar from Southampton and went on to make 74 starts and one sub appearance for the Blues between 2004 and 2007.

Millers central defender Semi Ajayi was on trial with Town in January 2015 when he played a game for the U21s.

Rotherham’s goalkeeper-coach is Mike Pollitt, who enjoyed a one-game loan spell with the Blues in November 2006, helping Town to a 3-1 derby defeat of Norwich City at Portman Road before his stint was cut short by injuries at his parent club Wigan.

Grant Ward spent last season on loan at the New York Stadium from Tottenham, making 35 starts and eight sub appearances, scoring twice.

Blues midfielder Luke Hyam, who is still out with an ankle injury, was on loan at the New York Stadium between November and December 2015, making two starts and three sub appearances.

Tom Lawrence spent a month on loan with Rotherham from his current parent club Leicester between November and December 2014, making six starts and scoring one goal.

Leon Best, still officially a Town player despite being told he won’t play for the club again, joined the Millers in November 2015 and went on to make 10 starts and six sub appearances, scoring four goals as he helped them to avoid what at one time seemed certain relegation.

Academy coach Alan Lee had a successful spell at Millmoor between 2000 and 2003 and fitness coach Andy Liddell was briefly a player and caretaker-manager there late in his career.

Rotherham have designated Saturday's match their Community Day of the Season.

Saturday’s referee is Jeremy Simpson from Lancashire, who has shown 158 yellow cards and five red in 37 games so far this season.

Simpson’s only Town game was the 2-1 defeat at Reading in September in which he notoriously awarded three penalties which led to the goals.

Danny Williams won the match with the third and spot-kick deep in second-half injury time, Jonas Knudsen, who is currently sidelined with a shoulder problem, having been adjudged to have hauled down Joey van den Berg at a corner.

In first-half injury time Grant Ward had been harshly penalised for handball for the game’s first penalty and Garath McCleary put the Royals in front.

Pitman fired home Town’s - also contentious - spot-kick five minutes after the break for a foul by Tyler Blackett.

Simpson also booked nine players in that game, five Royals and Knudsen, Chambers, Berra and Skuse.

Squad from: Bialkowski, Gerken, Crowe, Chambers (c), Kenlock, Emmanuel, Spence, Berra, T Smith, Digby, Skuse, Huws, Diagouraga, Dozzell, Bishop, Douglas, Bru, Williams, Ward, Rowe, McGoldrick, Lawrence, Sears, Pitman, Samuel, Moore.

Danny Baker Live! Good Time Charlie's Back. Ipswich Regent Theatre, Ipswich, Thursday 10th May 2018 at 19:30. Get your tickets before they sell out.

Photo: TWTD

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ipswich4life added 19:38 - Apr 20
Gerks is going to start aint he 😔

Mark added 19:52 - Apr 20
“That performance came on the back of a really good performance at Burton,”

It's because you started with positive line ups, Mick: Huws, Ward, Lawrence, Sears and McGoldrick started, fans enjoyed watching and we won both games.

Compare that to the home match against struggling Wolves where Ward, Lawrence and McGoldrick were our only attacking players, result 0-0 and depressed supporters.

itfchorry added 20:25 - Apr 20
70% still want McCarthy Out
20% undecided
10% want him to remain


warwickblue added 21:11 - Apr 20
Juggling with the youngsters in the squad is like rearranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic. Until MM has gone our default position will always be ugly, cautious, defensive football which, like the Titanic, belongs in a previous century.

ArnieM added 21:56 - Apr 20
Sadly , I now think Mick will be staying.

armchaircritic59 added 22:04 - Apr 20
Speaking of youngsters, does anyone know anything about Ben Knight? (one of our youngsters, only 14/15 i believe). He's been touted as one of the next "wonderkids" and has been heavily linked with Man City. I trust nothing's been done on the sly. Maybe we're just keeping him a secret for now!

slade1 added 23:42 - Apr 20
Mick has done a fantastic job this season to be honest.
We have no budget to spend and rely on free transfers and loan players.
When we went through the 'boring football' period it was a means to and end to make sure we picked up at least a point a game to keep us above the drop zone. Who else could have done any better with the team and budget we have?
ok it was boring football etc. but it was for a reason, we haven't got millions to spend and with the team we do have mick has done wonders.
I have been going to Portman road for 45 years now and times change, the rich get richer etc. and we just cant compete with that.
To keep this club afloat in the current times on a near enough zero budget is a job well done in my opinion.
Mick knows exactly what the situation is and is applying the necessary tactics to survive.
We are a club with no decent money to spend and what Mick an Terry have achieved is pretty damn good!
We have no right to demand pretty football each week, we have no demand to win each week, we should count ourselves lucky, very lucky that we have a team in the championship to watch week in week out. A team that can compete in this league with out the budget of other teams we face.
Mick knows the situation and plays the tactics to suit. We are a team with no money so to dig in and get a point here or there is good.
We dug in and gained a run of draws so picking up points, excellent to be honest! We are not Man city, Arsenal or Chelsea, we are Ipswich trying to survive on very limited resources.
So every one, please get real and realise what a great job Mick has done just keeping our beloved club afloat in the current football climate.
Excellent work Mick and excellent tactics and team selection with a means to an end.


bobble added 00:46 - Apr 21
1-1 boring draw is due again i reckon.

Dissboyitfc added 07:13 - Apr 21
Slade1 ... if doing a good job means picking your mates, has beens, out of form players, playing players out of position, negative tactics, boring the fans, turning the fans away, slagging the fans off, narrowly avoiding a relegation scrap, being outplayed by teams with less budget ( Lincoln home and away) then yes he has done a cracking job!

But all the above is not acceptable for me and many others, you can still provide attacking entertaining football without spending money. we did it against Newcastle!

MM out Now!

truckertractorboy added 07:22 - Apr 21
Lets face we know there had been no investment in the club we have all sat through the transfer windows waiting for some investment but still nothing. But it dont excuse some of the s#ite football we have seen thats mm fault with his boring selection of 7-3-1 tactics its never going to win over many fans . Lets see wat happens once the season ticket sales are announced hopefully enough people having given them up to shock the club back into reality

NBVJohn added 07:24 - Apr 21
Slade1 - I fully respect but don't necessarily agree with your point of view.

Blue75 - you are a silly little boy. Just because you disagree, your remarks about Slade1 are uncalled for and frankly pathetic.

There's a queue of numpty's who can't wait to express their indignation on this site every time MM swears (I also wish he would stop, but accept that I have used worse language myself) and yet apparently it's OK for people to spout this kind of stupidity. Grow up.

Sam added 07:36 - Apr 21
I think a win. But these new players starting might be a concern. UP THE TOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DurhamTownFan added 07:51 - Apr 21
First interview in ages where he's not had a pop at the fans! Maybe he IS staying after all (sigh!)

therein61 added 08:58 - Apr 21
Waiting for over 40 games to record back to back wins sums up this dreadful season.

walberblue added 09:10 - Apr 21
So old Big Mouth is going to lose half his playing squad, his best 5 players and with no additional budget from ME is going to rebuild the 1st team for a top six finish????

Really, is that how you're going to sell loads of season tickets over the summer???

And Newcastle were absolutely rubbish on Saturday, Rotherham will give Ipswich a harder game at the weekend. Newcastle were pathetic, Stick that in your Easter manager award pipe and smoke it, Mick.

Rotherham 2 ITFC 0

Oldsmoker added 09:58 - Apr 21
Slade1 & NBVJohn- well said.
Through the good times and the bad - always Town.
Seems the moaners are not renewing their season tickets, so the true supporters should drown them out next season.

Cheshire_Blue added 09:59 - Apr 21
I assume the figures quoted by itfchorry relate to those who post on TWTD and not the vast majority of ITFC SUPPORTERS.

essextractorboy93 added 10:09 - Apr 21
Will be exciting to see a few of the fringe players and youngsters getting a game tomorrow! Hopefully we can get a win and keep this good run going. Bishop needs to take his chance when he gets it, we all know he has the ability! And it'll be interesting to see what Rowe does, hopefully another gem from non league like Mings.

It has been a poor season and nobody at the club can deny that but there are positives like the emergence of the youngsters, especially Kenlock and Emmanuel.


blue75 added 10:11 - Apr 21
NBVjohn are they, slade1 might like the ladies of the night.

woohoo added 11:31 - Apr 21
We are safe.
They are gone.

Ferguson added 14:49 - Apr 21
When Jimmy HIll and the PFA got rid of the maximum wage footballers started to get paid on a par with entertainers who could reach a massive TV audience. It's Entertainment we've missed this season, pure and simple.

We'll keep the faith and keep the club alive and take pride in the blue and white. iF you're staying Mick just give us a season to be proud of next time..

Surco72 added 16:24 - Apr 21
Season goal was playoffs , we wont make top half, the season is a failure - dress it up how you want that is the bottom line
The decline with MM in charge has been going on for over 2 and a half seasons but some wont accept it

chripswich added 16:57 - Apr 21
fed up with reading anything from this prat..and therefore saying anything logical.
so just do us all a favour and just f*** off somewhere else McCarthy.

Kesblue66 added 17:12 - Apr 21
How many season tickets have been sold?

thebeat added 17:34 - Apr 21
Slade1 utter cobblers. Its been turgid negative cowardly football for over 2 years now.
Mick could have 20 million to spend, he'd still play 2 defensive midfielders and set up for a 0-0 90%of the time.
Cheshire Blue judging by social media, reaction in the ground and talk around the town id say those stats are about right.
Oldsmoker its the true fans who aren't renewing. We care what's happening to the club and are trying to get a reaction, to make them realise its not good enough.But if you want to watch the club do a Coventry you keep turning up and doing nothing about it

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