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McCarthy hoping for defensive improvements with Webster and Smith available again

PUBLISHED: 16:19 12 October 2017 | UPDATED: 18:15 12 October 2017

Ipswich Town defender Adam Webster could return to the starting line-up at Sheffield United. Photo: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town defender Adam Webster could return to the starting line-up at Sheffield United. Photo: Steve Waller

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy is hoping his side will tighten up defensively now that centre-backs Adam Webster and Tommy Smith are available again.

The Blues may be among the leading Championship goalscorers (20 in 10), but they have also conceded more than most too (16).

There have been mitigating circumstances, a host of injuries meaning it’s often been a patched up back four with the likes of Jordan Spence, Dominic Iorfa and Jonas Knudsen all having played out of position.

Webster and Smith are back now though after both missing a lot of football this calender year. It’s a timely boost given the tough-looking run of fixtures coming up – starting with Saturday’s game at third-placed Sheffield United.

• Town quartet passed fit for trip to Bramall lane

“I’d like to think we can tighten up more and not give the goals away we have,” said McCarthy.

“Bristol City were good two weeks ago (winning 3-1 at Portman Road), but two of their goals were deflected when all is said and done.

“There are other games where we’ve not helped ourselves though. Against Sunderland we score five, but I’m still not happy with the two we conceded.

“When you get defenders back you hope that you’ll concede less goals. But, if we’ve got the amount of attacking players on the pitch that we have, then it does make it harder to shut up shop.”

Webster, 22, took the step up from League Two side Portsmouth in his stride at the start of last season, exciting fans with his comfort on the ball before an ankle injury effectively ended his campaign in January. He returned to the starting line-up for the Carabao Cup tie at Luton back in August only for his ankle to give way again.

• Webster: My loyalties lie with Ipswich

“He looked a really good signing,” said McCarthy. “It’s been such a shame that he’s had the injuries because he really was thriving at this level and everyone was enjoying watching him play.

“I think he would have been attracting a lot of attention had he carried on playing as well as he been. There were clubs looking at him because the reports on how well he was playing and how highly I was speaking of him don’t go unnoticed.”

He added: “He’s great on the ball, but he should be concentrating on keeping it out the net this weekend.”

• Webster a Premier League player in the making, says boss

The Ipswich Town stalwart recalls his fondest memories, his regrets and expectations in his final interview before jetting off to begin his American dream.

Tommy Smith will be watching from afar as Ipswich Town attempt to find a new level of consistency to force their way into the Championship play-offs.

Tommy Smith leaves Ipswich Town after more than 267 appearances for the Blues over 10 years - he certainly made his mark. We’ve picked out the best pictures from his time at Portman Road.

Premier League Cup

Ipswich Town U23 0

Sheffield United 2

Ipswich Town U23s paid for failing to convert their chances as they lost 2-0 to Sheffield United in the Premier League Cup at Portman Road, writes Harry Mallett.

Ipswich Town will miss the ‘influence and experience’ of departing stalwart Tommy Smith, according to striker Martyn Waghorn.

Long-serving defender Tommy Smith admits the tears were flowing when he said goodbye to his Ipswich Town team mates having today completed his move to MLS side Colorado Rapids.

Ipswich Town remain 12th in the Championship table following Saturday’s dire 1-1 draw at lowly Bolton Wanderers.

Martyn Waghorn knows he and his team-mates must rediscover their clinical side and begin to put together winning runs if they are maintain any kind of play-off push.

Former Ipswich Town player Georges Santos joined Andy Warren for a special edition of the Kings of Anglia Podcast.

Joe Garner turned home to finish off a superb Ipswich Town move as the Blues rescued a draw at Bolton.

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