Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughMick’s the man for The Tractor Boys - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Mick’s the man for The Tractor Boys - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Mick’s the man for The Tractor Boys


With two wins in three games virtually doubling Ipswich’s points tally for the season, it is clear to see that new manager Mick McCarthy means business.

The Irishman, who took over from Paul Jewell a little over two weeks ago, has brought a new leash of confidence not only to the players but the fans as well.

There’s no doubt that there’s a lot of work for McCarthy to do as the Tractor Boys are currently in the relegation zone and in the pack of five clubs currently cast adrift at the bottom of the Championship.

We are only a third of the way through the season though and McCarthy has enough time to get Town out of this predicament they are currently in. Seen as a bit of a surprise appointment, McCarthy admits that he relishes the challenge ahead of him.

Without a home league win on a Saturday afternoon in seven and a half months, McCarthy masterminded this ill-fated statistic with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Burnley on Saturday to leave Portman Road in a state of pandemonium.

Although he endured a difficult stay in Suffolk, in fairness, former boss Jewell made some astute loan signings before his imminent departure.

Stephen Henderson, Danny Higginbotham, Guirane N’Daw, Richie Wellens, Bilel Mohsni, DJ Campbell and Daryl Murphy are all vastly experienced players who have made a name for themselves in English football. Add to this the short-term signing of Nigel Reo-Coker and it’s even clearer to see.

What didn’t work under Jewell was the sheer volume of players coming in at the same time and the need for results immediately after a shockingly woeful start to the season. It all seemed a bit desperate from Jewell and when it goes wrong with so many loan and short-term contract players playing it looks a bit of a mess.

Jewell was under huge pressure as well and his inconsistent chopping and changing of tactics, formations and player selections only harmed his side’s lack of confidence and self-belief that saw them accumulate only three points out of a possible thirty prior to his sacking – a mightily horrendous return that merits a change in manager.

New managers bring this in abundance and none more so than big Mick who has so far tried to keep a settled side for his three matches in charge, despite and even in the humiliating 5-0 defeat to table toppers Crystal Palace last week.

This was Ian Holloway’s first game in charge of the Eagles but not the first time he has overseen his side embarrass Ipswich this season. The 6-0 defeat to Blackpool back in August combines with the Palace game as the main reason behind Town’s overwhelmingly shocking -19 goal difference. 

It is clear to see that there is certainly room for improvement defensively. And McCarthy has wasted no time in trying to address this. Former Charlton full-back Kelly Youga has been signed on a short-term contract until January, presumably as defensive cover for Aaron Cresswell as well as central defence. Youga’s career has been severely hampered by injury; his last club being Yeovil Town where he made only one 45 minute appearance.

Town could do with scoring a few more goals as well. A measly 13 goals in 16 appearances, making Town the lowest scorers in the league, isn’t going to get you far up the league table. Goals win games. McCarthy knows that and he will be sure to deal with this.

With the deadline for loan signings closing next Friday, McCarthy has already inquired about potential temporary and loanee players to get the side through until January and a player circulating the rumour mill is Arsenal midfielder, Emmanuel Frimpong. Having enjoyed a loan spell at Wolves together, Frimpong has made no secret that he admires the Irishman and with McCarthy feeling the same way, it is certainly a possibility.

Even more so considering that midfielders Massimo Luongo and Wellens have both returned to their parent clubs after loan spells at Portman Road and with little expectation of a return.

For now, McCarthy can only work with what he is given. In January, the fun and games will begin. With the majority of the loan players set to return then, McCarthy will be in for a busy time. That’s without even starting to think about the 13 players whose contracts run out at the end of the season, if not before. Club captain Carlos Edwards, Lee Martin and Reo-Coker are the biggest names on this list, which also include first-team regulars Andy Drury and Jason Scotland.

This is re-iterating the challenge McCarthy faces at Ipswich, he knew it would be tough and it certainly will be. Particularly so considering that this is as strong and competitive as the second tier of English football has ever been. It will be a rollercoaster remainder of the season for Town fans, and one full of character building for everyone involved but Championship survival is paramount.

Will Ridgard