McCarthy: We'll Not Let Season Just Peter Out
Thursday, 5th Apr 2018 19:20
Town boss Mick McCarthy says there’ll be no let up from the Blues, who travel to Brentford on Saturday, despite their season having nothing left in it from a competitive perspective and his departure at the end of the campaign having been confirmed last week.
Town visit Griffin Park 12th in the Championship - one place and five points behind the Bees - 10 points away from the play-offs and 19 off the relegation places.
McCarthy says Monday’s display against Millwall, particularly after the break, showed that his team are maintaining their usual levels of commitment despite effectively having nothing left to play for.
“The second half performance puts that thought to bed for anybody who might think that,” McCarthy said. “That the lads are not with me, they’re not motivated, they’re just letting the season peter out. No chance.
“It’s funny because we were coming down the tunnel on Monday and [Millwall skipper] Steve Morison was having a word in the referee’s ear and I heard him and I said, ‘Hold on a minute!’, chipping my two penneth in.
“And he said to me, ‘What’s up with you? You don’t even want to be here!’. I said, ‘That might be the case, but it doesn’t mean I don’t want to win’.
“So there’s a big difference, there’s a big difference about whether I want to be here or not be here.
“The fact that I’m not going to be here doesn’t mean to say I’m going to down tools and not compete and not be snarling in the fourth official’s ear if I think somebody else is doing it. That’s never going to happen.”
McCarthy has been impressed with Brentford in the four seasons since they were promoted to the Championship with manager Dean Smith having joined him in being linked with a currently vacant role elsewhere in recent days.
“I see Dean has been linked with the West Brom job as well as me because he was at Walsall and he’s from that area, so I think that probably suits,” the Blues boss said.
“He’s been very good, however they’ve done it because they shut their academy, they have a different way of doing things, but he’s made good signings. They’re a good football team and he’s been successful.”
After two games in three days over the Easter weekend McCarthy is likely to tinker with his side to some degree, however, keeper Bartosz Bialkowski seems certain to continue after another man of the match performance on Monday.
The Blues could switch to a four-man backline, having played the second half in that system on Monday and with Brentford operating in a variant of 4-3-3.
That would probably see skipper Luke Chambers to the left of Adam Webster at the heart of the defence with Jonas Knudsen at left-back and Jordan Spence on the right.
In what could be a three-man midfield, Cole Skuse will probably continue in his holding role, although he is a doubt having taken a blow to the head against Millwall, with Luke Hyam the Bristolian's probable replacement if he doesn’t make it. Callum Connolly, Grant Ward and Stephen Gleeson will be in the running for starts in the other two roles, along with Hyam if Skuse is OK to play.
Up front, Martyn Waghorn will almost certainly be in the middle with Bersant Celina, Mustapha Carayol, Freddie Sears and youngster Ben Folami vying for the other roles.
Alternatively, McCarthy could opt to start in a 4-4-2 system with Carayol and Celina wide and Sears or Folami joining Waghorn up front.
Young Irish defender Barry Cotter could travel with the squad, McCarthy having said the former Limerick man may make his Blues debut before the end of the season.
Brentford’s Dutch winger Florian Jozefzoon is expected to miss out due to an ankle injury he picked up during Monday’s 1-0 win at Bristol City, but Lewis Macleod is likely to return to the squad having missed the Robins clash with a knock.
Midfielder Ryan Woods remains suspended having been sent off against Sheffield United at the end of last month.
Despite the Blues' current mid-table position and McCarthy’s impending departure, Bees boss Smith isn’t anticipating anything other than a challenging afternoon.
“I have never had an easy game against one of Mick’s teams and I’m never likely to,” he told iFollow Brentford.
“It’s going to be tough and we are going to have to be as good as we were on Monday to win.
“It looks, from the outside, that he has a fantastic relationship with the players. They have played as much as they can for him and will continue to do so.
“I saw Mick’s comments the other day about the driverless car; I did like the analogy. It must be very tough for him knowing that he is leaving at the end of the season but with games continuing.
“He’s done a fantastic job there. I know what a professional he is and what a tough game it will be on Saturday.”
The sides have only met on 15 previous occasions with the Blues having had the better of the West Londoners overall, although not in league competition where the record is evenly balanced.
Town have won six of the games between the teams (three in the league), the Bees three (three) with five (five) ending in draws.
In August at Portman Road, Waghorn and Joe Garner were on target as Town took their start to the season to five wins out of five by beating Brentford 2-0.
Home debutant Waghorn opened the scoring in the 35th minute with his one-time Rangers team-mate netting the second with a header six minutes after the restart to take the Blues to second in the Championship.
Last time the teams face one another at Griffin Park in August 2016, Brentford defender John Egan scored twice just after the break to consign the Blues to a 2-0 defeat. Egan nodded home a header on 48 and then slammed in a rebound eight minutes later.
The currently injured Tom Adeyemi is the only current Blues player to have represented the Bees. The midfielder was at Griffin Park on loan from Norwich in 2012/13 when he made 29 starts and 10 sub appearances, scoring three goals.
Brentford winger Alan Judge, who returned to action in January following the serious leg injury he suffered at Portman Road in April 2016, came close to joining the Blues from Notts County in the summer of 2013 but ended up moving to Blackburn.
Saturday’s referee is Robert Jones from Merseyside, who has shown 108 yellow cards and eight red in 38 games so far this season.
Jones’s last Town game was the 1-0 victory over Leeds in January in which he red-carded Eunan O’Kane for head-butting Jonas Knudsen in the 37th minute. He also booked Dominic Iorfa and Callum Connolly and two Whites players.
Jones, who has only refereed 18 previous games at Championship level, was also the man in the middle for December’s 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough, his only other Blues match to date, when he showed two yellow cards to home players before being replaced by fourth official Geoff Eltringham at half-time.
Squad from: Bialkowski, M Crowe, Spence, Kenlock, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Carter-Vickers, Webster, Cotter, Skuse, Connolly, Hyam, Bru, Gleeson, Nydam, Ward, Celina, Carayol, Waghorn, Sears, Folami, Morris, Drinan.
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