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Ipswich Town 0 v 0 Sheffield United
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 10th March 2018 Kick-off 15:00
McCarthy: Home Crowd Can Give Us an Extra Lift
Friday, 9th Mar 2018 19:30

Town boss Mick McCarthy has urged the Portman Road crowd to get behind his side in what could prove to be crucial back-to-back home games against Sheffield United on Saturday and Hull City on Tuesday as the Blues, 12th, seven points off the top six, look to re-enter the play-off race.

“The home crowd can always give you an extra lift, of course,” McCarthy said. “I’ve always said at every club I’ve been at ‘Come and support the team’ because that’s what you’re doing essentially, you’re coming to support the team.

“And it helps if you get good support. And if it’s rubbish at the end, then boo by all means, I’m cool with that, never worried about that at all.

“At Sheffield Wednesday, what was there 22,000 there? And to be fair they were still trying to get their team going, trying to get them at it and we played well.

“So, yes, the home crowd is a big advantage if it’s partisan, noisy and they support the players.”

McCarthy, the subject of abusive chanting during games over the last couple of seasons, who many fans would like to see move on in the summer, has previously acknowledged that there is a symbiotic relationship between supporters and the team on the pitch, each lifting the other.

He added: “It’s our job to play well and to try and entertain [the fans] and win games but surely if I go anywhere, if I go to the pictures or to the theatre or to a game of football I go with the intention of enjoying it and supporting it.

“I keep saying, whatever happens here, they support this club, by doing it with their money first and foremost and then their support at the grounds. It makes a helluva a difference. You all know it does.

“Are you asking me the question because of certain reasons? I fully understand that but come and support the lads, come and get behind them, start it off, make it an atmosphere.

“Blooming heck, we went to Sheffield United and it was throbbing that place. And when we’ve had it here over the years, we’ve had it at some of the Tuesday night games I can remember looking back, Palace here when we beat them 3-0 and we were struggling then and we needed to get out of the relegation zone.

“Middlesbrough when we slapped them them down here and the place was rocking. So, I’d like to get it like that again because we all enjoy it more and, of course, the fans do as well.”

McCarthy says sometimes a particular incident in a game can spark an atmosphere.

“I went to Millwall against Cardiff and, to be fair, they were at it and partisan to start with.

“And then Shaun Hutchinson had a tackle on the big centre-half and it lifted the crowd after 20 minutes, it sparked them into life. And it sparked the team in to life. But it does help if you’ve got that support of the fans.

“What I would say is don’t come and not want to support the team. That’s a big difference.”

Referring back to that Crystal Palace match in his first season at Portman Road, he recalled an incident involving Richard Stearman, who will be in the Blades side tomorrow, which had a similar effect.

“A terrific servant to me at Wolves and here,” he said of the defender. “I’m going back to that Crystal Palace game, we were getting a bit of a doing here and Stears went flying into Jonny Parr and it was an unbelievable tackle. He won the ball but Jonny Parr was carted off [injured] sadly for him.

“That started that game, we beat them 3-0 then, I think Frank Nouble had an epiphany that night, he ran riot.

“But that one thing can set it off and it did. Stears was great, he’s a really good guy and he’s been a good servant for me but at every club he’s been at he’s done well.”

Town - four points behind the Blades, who are ninth - are currently seventh in a Championship away form table based on the last six matches but 17th in the home equivalent having picked up only five points while scoring just two goals.

McCarthy says he can’t explain the disparity: “No, I can’t. I haven’t got an answer for you. We try and do the same. We approach the game away from home at Sheffield Wednesday the same way we approach it here at Portman Road, I don’t change.

“We play the same way, so I haven’t got an answer for you unfortunately. I haven’t got answers for everything, although I try.”

Have the lower crowds at recent games - the attendance for the last home match against Cardiff was only 13,205, the lowest at a league game for almost 20 years - and flat atmosphere at some matches had an impact on performances?

“If that’s what you think then you write it,” McCarthy responded. “I’ve not got an answer for you and I’m not going to blame that either, not a chance.

“We don’t sit in that dressing room worrying about whatever’s going to go on and we don’t talk about it, we go out and try and win the game and it only happens as it happens.

“We set off with that positive intention and we try our best to win the game and we’ll be doing the same with these next two matches.”

Town have lost 1-0 twice to the Blades already this season, in the Championship at Bramall Lane in October and at Portman Road in the FA Cup in January.

Asked whether the Blues owe the South Yorkshireman one, McCarthy joked: “No, we owe them two!”

The Blues boss felt there wasn’t much in either game: “No, there wasn’t. I thought they started well up at Bramall Lane. I had to change it and we got back into the game and I thought we did all right then and we could have got something out of it. Here in the FA Cup game, there was nothing in it at all.”

Having started the season like a house on fire following their promotion from League One as champions, the Blades have been more inconsistent of late and were comfortably beaten 3-0 at Craven Cottage in midweek.

“Fulham gave them a doing the other night but I don’t think it’s any embarrassment when Fulham do it to you, to be honest,” McCarthy reflected.

“But I know Chrissy Wilder and Alan Knill, they’ll want a response because they need the response to get back in that top six if they’re going to get there.

“They’ve been there pretty much all season, so they’ll be feeling pretty sore about that. It’ll be a tough game. They’re a good side. I saw them at Reading recently and they’ve pretty much got a bit of everything.”

McCarthy has a lot of time for Wilder, who followed a 99-point League Two title with Northampton with last season’s League One championship with the Blades when they made it to the full 100.

“He has certainly got something about him,” he said. “He quite clearly knows the game, he’s a good coach and he’s done it in different leagues as well.

“He must manage his players well. I think he runs a tight but happy ship, it’s content, people are happy with him and they like playing for him. And that’s a big part of the game.”

Having previously said the Blues are out of the play-off running, does he now believe his team would be firmly back in the hunt if they beat the Blades and Tigers?

“It’s a big if that, isn’t it?” the Town boss pointed out. “Of course it’s an opportunity, but I can sit here and say, ‘Oh yes, if we win those next two games we’ll be right back in it…’.

“Of course, I fully understand that but I am that pragmatic manager with my feet on the ground, knowing that we’re not just going to go out and beat them because we’ve had two away wins.

“But we’ll be trying damned hard and, yes, if we can it would be brilliant and that game in hand on Tuesday would put us right back in the mix.

“And I hope the players ram my words down my throat. I didn’t say it with that intention, I said I thought it was unlikely we’ll get in the play-offs because I believed it, and I still think it is. Not because of us, but because of the teams that are above and they’re good teams.”

If Town do miss out on a play-off place but finish in the top 10 McCarthy says that would constitute a decent season for the Blues given the big money spent at many other clubs, a number of whom are well below them in the table.

“If we finish in the top 10 I think that is a good finish for us,” he insisted. “And if anybody hears me saying that and are screaming that we ought to be in the top six, well so be it, I can’t help that.

“I think that would be an achievement considering the level of investment at other clubs and a lot of those clubs are beneath us, some of them are in the relegation zone.”

McCarthy has said he’s likely to shuffle his pack during Town’s four games in 12 days of which tomorrow’s match is the second.

However, Bartosz Bialkowski will be in goal fresh from receiving his first international call-up by Poland, while the Blues boss is likely to continue with the back three of former Blades loanee Cameron Carter-Vickers, skipper Luke Chambers and Adam Webster.

He may well switch Jordan Spence for Dominic Iorfa at right wing-back, while Myles Kenlock will replace Jonas Knudsen on the left if the Danish international doesn’t make it having reported a tight hamstring.

In midfield, McCarthy could opt to stick with the combative trio of Cole Skuse, Callum Connolly and Luke Hyam which started at Hillsborough or may recall Grant Ward or Stephen Gleeson for Hyam.

Up front, McCarthy will be forced into one change with Mustapha Carayol out with the groin injury he suffered at Sheffield Wednesday.

McCarthy has a number of options to play alongside Martyn Waghorn, among them Joe Garner, Freddie Sears, who he said changed the game at Hillsborough, and Bersant Celina.

“Joe’s not trained as much as he ought to have done but, of course, he’s still in the squad and he’s always a threat,” McCarthy considered.

“Freddie came on and not having played so much I thought he was excellent and changed it.

“Santie’s desperate to play, so it’s nice to have some options. At least I’m not saying, ‘He’s got to play’ because I’ve got nobody else. I prefer the options.”

Waghorn netted both Blues goals against the Owls, ending a run of 15 games without a goal.

How was Town’s 12-goal top scorer in the days after netting twice at Hillsborough, the second a stunning a freekick?

“Knackered, that’s how he’s looked!” McCarthy joked. “No, he’s only trained today and he looked fine.

“You’ll see him tomorrow morning on Soccer AM there’s a nice little bit on there with him and Santie [and Jimmy Bullard] so have a look.”

He added: “Waggy’s a really lovely character, he’s a really nice man, he’s been great around the place.

“I saw him and his cricket celebration, he’s just good with other people. We’ve got a lot of good lads, but he’s been excellent since he came in.

“Freddie, all last season and this season, they come in, they train, they play, they’re selfless, they give everything they’ve got but they want to score goals. I have to say Waggy looked like he was getting frustrated.”

Blades 15-goal top scorer Leon Clarke will be assessed ahead of the match having missed the 3-0 defeat at Fulham with an ankle injury sustained in their previous match, a 3-1 win at Reading.

Another striker, James Wilson, is also close to a return from an ankle injury after three weeks out.

“He’s worked extremely hard, Leon, since coming off against Reading,” manager Wilder told the Sheffield Star.

“All my players have been working hard, they all want to be involved. There’s no picking and choosing games.

“We’ll give him as much time as needed to get himself ready. The same as James.

“But I’m not going to stick him on the bench if he’s got a big opportunity of missing a chunk of games. Hopefully the two or three days which have passed since our last game will give him that chance.”

Defender Kieron Freeman could return having dislocated his knee when colliding with then team-mate Carter-Vickers when the sides met at Bramall Lane in October.

“Kieron is back involved with the first team now,” Wilder added. “So that’s good to see. George Baldock’s performances have been good throughout the season. But Kieron is also really pushing.

“He’s a good player too and he can play in different positions. It’s good to have him where he is now. It gives us options and decisions to make.”

Reflecting on the game he said: “People will look at the table and look at the fact we’ve also beaten them in the FA Cup as well this year.

“They’ll do that and think we should be nailed-on again. But they are an established, experienced Championship club. Look at the players they’ve got and also look at their manager.

“Make no mistake, this will be another tough game for us. We know it’s an important stage of the season and they are a good side in good form at the moment. We’ve got to make sure we’re ready.”

Town have had the better of the Blades over the years, winning 23 times (22 in the league), drawing 24 (21) and losing 21 (18) of the meetings between the sides.

The teams last met in the FA Cup third round at Portman Road in January when the Blades won 1-0, Nathan Thomas smashing the winner in the 25th minute.

The Blues, who last won a match in the competition in January 2010, never looked like getting back into the game, failing to register a shot on target in the entire 90 minutes, and the visitors, who fielded a very young side, might have added to their lead in the second half.

At Bramall Lane in the Championship in October, Chris Basham’s goal four minutes after half-time saw the South Yorkshiremen to another 1-0 victory over the Blues.

Waghorn went closest to scoring for Town with a shot against the bar shortly after the Blades’ goal, but the home side deserved their victory.

The teams last met at Portman Road in the league in February 2011 with Sheffield United on their way down to League One.

Goals from Damien Delaney, David Norris and a stunning third from Connor Wickham saw the Blues to a 3-0 victory over the visitors, who were reduced to nine men.

Delaney put Town in front with a header in a very poor first half with Norris adding the second after the break.

Grant Leadbitter missed a penalty before Wickham brilliantly ran from his own half to seal the win, prior to Robert Kozluk and Lee Williamson receiving red cards within a minute during the closing stages.

The Blades squad includes former Town loanee Stearman, who moved to Bramall Lane from Fulham last summer.

Stearman spent the second half of 2012/13 on loan with the Blues from Wolves, making 15 appearances.

Canadian-born striker Caolan Lavery, a former Northern Ireland U21 international who is currently on loan at Rotherham, joined the Blades from Sheffield Wednesday in the summer of 2016.

Lavery, 25, signed for the Owls in the summer of 2012 having turned down a professional contract with the Blues during the previous season after coming through the Town academy.

Blues on-loan Tottenham defender Carter-Vickers spent the first half of the season on loan with the Blades making 18 starts and scoring one goal, on his debut at Bolton in August.

Saturday’s referee is John Brooks from Leicestershire, who has shown 120 yellow cards and six red in 39 matches so far this season.

Brooks will be taking charge of only his third Championship match and has refereed neither the Blues nor the Blades previously.

Squad from: Bialkowski, M Crowe, Spence, Iorfa, Kenlock, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Carter-Vickers, Webster, Skuse, Connolly, Hyam, Bru, Gleeson, Nydam, Ward, Celina, Waghorn, Garner, Sears.

Photo: TWTD

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Dissblue added 19:46 - Mar 9
Ah look at that! He wants to be friends now.
Bless him.

OldClactonBlue added 19:48 - Mar 9
If you insist on playing three defensive (and no attacking) midfielders as well as five defenders you can hardly expect anyone other than a diehard to get too enthused.

When I go I always start positive but often the line-up knocks you back before the game even starts.

blueboy1981 added 20:05 - Mar 9
Crowd ? - What crowd ?

osborne added 20:11 - Mar 9
Yeah. Let's get behind Mick and the boys going for three on the trot. COYB!

black_shuck added 20:23 - Mar 9
If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us,
do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?
And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?

HackneyBlue added 20:25 - Mar 9
My friend has 2 corporate tickets,he cant attend so offered them to me as for over 30years had been a season ticket holder, i could not bare to watch another turgid,defensive non footballing affair again so chose to decline,he asked 7 yes 7 ex ST holders and still has them.
Excite us Mick and maybe you will get a response,carry on playing pub football will not get Portman road rocking.

Gforce added 20:34 - Mar 9
Nil nil

poldark added 20:37 - Mar 9
You just love moronic mick get behind the boys he says how much do you bet he plays 8 behind the ball thump it upfield hope someone gets there head to it and the opposition make a mistake .
Just clear off McCarthy

warktheline added 20:46 - Mar 9
Boo if you like if we are rubbish! I've no problem with that......I'll just tell you to f*** off!'ve burnt your bridges !!!!!!

wayway added 20:47 - Mar 9
'Every point is a prisoner'. Gate under 13000

muccletonjoe added 20:47 - Mar 9
And these idiots are people who are supposed to support the club. They live for moronic comments on here

co12blue added 20:54 - Mar 9
The only way the crowd will give you a lift is to do one in the summer.
You may have forgot the way you’ve treated the fans over the last few seasons.
Swearing at you own fans at Norwich putting the icing on the cake.


GerkensBeard added 21:10 - Mar 9
Any poster care to offer who they think would be doing a better job than McCarthy is for next season? Let’s put some perspective on it. McCarthy has spent less than £5 million in his time at the club and yet manages to make us competitive near on every season barring last season. Please can someone offer up a manager who they think could do a better job which such limited funds. You look at the names on our team sheet. If I was an opposition supporter playing Ipswich town I wouldn’t find really any of them as household names or threats to the opposition. Only maybe Waghorn. Yet he gathers his players and comfortably beat a Sheffield Wednesday side which must of cost over £20 million to assemble in probably the space of 3 years.
I’m sure Mick would love to play expansive football with flying wingers but does he have the money to buy the quality? No he doesn’t. Instead he has to work with what he’s got and makes us solid, organised and gives us a chance to get the win. I’m sure if he played open attacking football we’d be picked off by the quality there is in this division.
In terms of a possible replacement for Mick I can only think of one. You want someone who plays attacking football who knows the league and will be happy to work on a tight budget? Someone who’s out of work? Steve McLaren I think ticks those boxes. A foreign manager with a very much McCarthy group of players I’m sure would find it hard to implement his ideas. A league 1 or league 2 manager who doesn’t know the league? And no money to spend? No thanks. So that offers my other alternative being Gerard Nash. Knows the players through the club and will bring through the youngsters, would work on a tight budget but then again has never managed in the league.
Every player of current and past talks about what a great manager Mick is. I’m sure if he was given the Keane money we’d be promoted by now. I mean he got us to the playoffs with Jay Tabb and Paul Anderson on the wings for Christ sake. I guess that season has given fans expectation now in which we have little money to improve our squad which would also improve our style of play. Anyway as you can see I’m bored on a Friday night. Hope you enjoyed my rant

ArnieM added 21:12 - Mar 9
Is Mick trying to build bridges with the Town faithful by any chance? This doesn’t sound like the usual MM to me! Give him credit . He’s trying. I think he’s staying , and wants the fans support for the coming season, as well as this one. Do we swallow OUR pride and move on with him ?

alfromcol added 21:23 - Mar 9
Several 1000 will give MM a lift, when ever he wants to go.

J45 added 21:32 - Mar 9
Anychance everyone could get behind the team over the next two games and forget about mick and your views on him. There is nearly no chance of us making the play offs but I think it’s sad some people on here are so caught up in getting mick out they are hindering the teams slim playoff hopes (very slim). Once the playoffs are out of the question then protest do whatever you need to becasue it won’t matter then. If we go 1-0 down on Saturday and are playing rubbish get behind them be positive even if micks tactics aren’t.

Just to say I in no way support mick but at the same time I do support Ipswich town and I want them to win. My dream would be at the end of the season for mick to be lifting the trophy at Wembley telling us all to Foxtrot Oscar!!

None of this aimed at you alfromcol you know my views:).


alfromcol added 21:35 - Mar 9
Message received and understood.

TimmyH added 21:45 - Mar 9
@ArnieM - the answer to that is quite simple - No!

KillarneyBlue added 22:11 - Mar 9
Let’s get a win tomorrow and who knows what might happen. Please just support the lads on Saturday.

harlingblue added 02:49 - Mar 10
Two important home games in a matter of days, two wins could still ignite the final part of our season, and add some fun.
Time for all TOWN supporters to come and SUPPORT THE TEAM, leave the 'MarMite' situation on the back burner for the time being and bring some positive vibes into the ground and hopefully onto the pitch.

beornioblue added 06:35 - Mar 10
I an not a Mick fan by any means but I am a blue and I will be supporting my beloved Town today no matter what because some of the reactions of late from Waghorn, Sears and Garner have renewed a belief that maybe they do care!! You show me you’re proud to wear our proud badge any I will shout you on Up a Town!!

therein61 added 07:06 - Mar 10
Given something worth watching home crowds will return thus giving the team more support.

blue75 added 07:27 - Mar 10
It’s quite simple really we Ipswich fans aren’t happy watching our team sit deep inviting the opposition to attack over and over again hoping to get a draw or if we’re really lucky we’ll nick a goal with one of our few shots on target!! Can’t believe McCarthy hasn’t worked that out in the years he’s been here!

black_shuck added 08:25 - Mar 10
“Listen, unless somebody decides otherwise, you’ve got me, boring old big nose f***ing fart with s***e football until May. Unless somebody decides different.”

warktheline added 08:39 - Mar 10
@muggletonjoe and whatagerkin, you are the 'idiot' and others like you! Morons that accept how appallingly our owner allows the club to slip further behind rival Championship clubs! A couple of wins and you firmly grasp the straw shouting 'Mighty Messiah Mick' does he do it on such a small budget? Do what? Keep Ipswich Town in mediocrity! You don't need a 'budget' to play 'entertaining' football ! The man picking the team is fully aware the club lacks any ambition thus is more than 'content' with circumstances and will continue to enjoy his contract stress free! It's 'supporters' like yourselves adding 'complacency' to an already 'lacklustre' environment ! How thankful all of us should be towards Bart and Waghorn....that includes you,Evans and McCarthy!!

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