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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

Ipswich Town legend Russell Osman says the club’s players need to start taking responsibility after a worrying slump in form continued with a 1-0 home defeat to rivals Norwich City on Sunday.

Premier League Cup

Ipswich Town Ladies 1

C&K Basildon 0

Ipswich Town Ladies are through to the second round of the Premier League Cup after beating Southern Premier Division side C&K Basildon Ladies 1-0 at Felixstowe & Walton United’s Goldstar Ground.

The East Anglian derby misery goes on following yesterday’s 1-0 home defeat to Norwich City – that’s nine games without a win against the Canaries in almost nine years. More pertinently, that’s seven defeats in nine across all competitions for the Blues.

Ipswich Town striker David McGoldrick admits he faces ‘a big decision’ as he enters the final few months of his contract.

The mood music has changed and things could unravel very quickly for Ipswich Town.

Can anyone explain what happened in the second half? I can understand the lack of quality, but where did the passion go? Northstander Terry Hunt gives his thoughts on Ipswich Town’s 1-0 loss to Norwich City.

Town lost the East Anglian derby 1-0 at Portman Road this afternoon. MIKE BACON gives his marks out of 10 and you can do the same.

Ipswich Town’s misery in the East Anglian derby continued with a 1-0 defeat to Norwich City at Portman Road this lunchtime. STUART WATSON analyses the match.

Ipswich Town midfielder Cole Skuse said he and his team-mates were left ‘racking their brains’ after Norwich took all three points in the East Anglian derby today.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy declared himself pleased with his side’s performance, but bitterly disappointed with the result following today’s 1-0 home defeat to rivals Norwich City at Portman Road.

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