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Kings of Anglia Issue 8 Magazine Offer

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 manager Paul Hurst says there will be times he had to abandon his ideals, but that he is very clear about how he wants his team to play in the long run.

Grant Ward believes he is a good fit for Paul Hurst’s style of play at Ipswich Town but knows he needs a runs of game if he is to perform at a consistently high level.

Mike Bacon looks back on a week of such sadness with the loss of Ipswich Town’s greatest-ever player, Kevin Beattie

Mark Heath, Stuart Watson and Andy Warren fill in the blank on some big Ipswich Town topics.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst has thanked supporters for sticking with him and the team following a nine-game winless start to the season.

Mark Heath, Stuart Watson and Andy Warren are back to discuss the latest goings on at Ipswich Town.

Paul Hurst has been impressed with the form of goalkeeper Dean Gerken since the 33-year-old was brought into the side in place of Bartosz Bialkowski.

In our new daily feature, we take a look back at what happened on this day in Ipswich Town history.

One of Ipswich Town’s greatest ever players was honoured with a testimonial match at Portman Road in 1982 for his service for the football club

Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst admits he’s frustrated at the repeated injury set-backs being suffered by creative midfield duo Emyr Huws and Teddy Bishop.

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