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Kings of Anglia Issue 7 Magazine Offer With Jimmy Bullard and Tristan Nydam

McCarthy on ‘magician’ Celina, O’Kane’s red card, beating Leeds, Bialkowski conspiracies and new French signing

PUBLISHED: 18:23 13 January 2018 | UPDATED: 19:33 13 January 2018

Leeds keeper Felix Wiedwald is beaten by Bersant Celina's thundering shot into the top corner of the goal to give Town victory.    Picture: STEVE WALLER

Leeds keeper Felix Wiedwald is beaten by Bersant Celina's thundering shot into the top corner of the goal to give Town victory. Picture: STEVE WALLER

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy hailed ‘magician’ Bersant Celina for the super strike which secured a 1-0 win against 10-man Leeds United at Portman Road today.

Visiting midfielder Eunan O’Kane was dismissed for an apparent head-butt on Jonas Knudsen in the 37th minute, with Manchester City loanee Celina’s rising 25-yard strike into the top corner, in the 67th minute, proving the difference.

“I thought it was a really tough game against a team that’s in good form and has got good players,” said McCarthy, whose team remain 12th in the Championship table but have closed the gap to the play-off places to four points ahead of next Saturday’s trip to lowly Bolton.

“I haven’t seen the sending off, somebody says he’s head-butted him, and if that’s the case then he deserves to be sent off. That doesn’t make it easy though because they then scrapped away.”

He continued: “We needed a result over and above anything because we’ve just had three defeats on the bounce and we needed to get our fans back onside.

Bersant Celina fires Ipswich Town into the lead with a 25-yard wonder strike in the second half. Picture: STEVE WALLERBersant Celina fires Ipswich Town into the lead with a 25-yard wonder strike in the second half. Picture: STEVE WALLER

“Their fans were brilliant (Leeds had an increased away ticket allocation of 3,500 that filled the upper tier of the Cobbold Stand) and created an atmosphere that was brilliant to play and manage in. We’ve had to scrap it out. We’ve played well and I’m really pleased.”

On Celina’s wonder strike, he said: “That’s risk and reward. I did say ‘thank goodness you did (score)’ because sometimes he was causing us as many problems as he was them when losing it.

“But that’s Santy – that’s what you get. He does work his socks off. He’s a proper little character on the pitch. He kept trying to stay wide and him and Myles (Kenlock) linked up a bit.

“I said to him and Didzy (David McGoldrick) after the first half that it wasn’t happening for them and that maybe it wasn’t the game for them. Me being me I was having a dig at them. That one bit of magic in the second half wins us the game though and that’s great.

“We kept encouraging him to get the ball and to take them on, but there were a couple of crosses to the far post that went over Dom (Iorfa) and a couple of cut-backs that didn’t come off. That’s him though. It’s not easy to be that magician in a game like that. It’s tough. It wasn’t easy for their good players either. If you can find that one bit that wins you the game then brilliant.

“We had Tom Lawrence (on loan from Leicester) last year and the ‘Wee Man’ Ryan Fraser (on loan from Bournemouth) before that who have managed to produce that sort of thing for us. What we really need is one that’s ours!”

Dean Gerken, who had been out of the squad for the previous seven games with a hip problem, replaced the injured Bartosz Bialkowski in goal today and produced a solid stop from substitute Pierre-Michel Lassoga towards the end to secure the victory

“It’s remarkable really because he hadn’t trained up until the start of this week,” said McCarthy. “But he’s trained really well and I said to him ‘if that’s you injured then I’d like to be injured!’

Town manager Mick McCarthy pictured during the Ipswich Town v Leeds United game..    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMTown manager Mick McCarthy pictured during the Ipswich Town v Leeds United game.. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

“He’s been fabulous. Bart’s got a calf strain. To be fair I think he was still hoping he could play, but I told him he wasn’t playing because it was 19 to one – play one game and get injured.

“Gerks has done what he’s always done when he’s played; done well and got a clean sheet.”

With Bialkowski having been linked with a move to Premier League club Crystal Palace at the start of the January transfer window there have been inevitable conspiracy theories about the Polish custodian’s absence today.

“Somebody just reminded me about a quote I gave up at Leeds when we drew 1-1,” said McCarthy. “We’d murdered them and somebody said ‘some people might think that’s two points dropped’ and I said ‘some people can f**k off’. So if some people think Bart was out of the team because he wasn’t injured... similarly, alright! Does answer your question?!”

Bersant Celina screams with delight after scoring the only goal of the Ipswich Town v Leeds United game.    Picture: STEVE WALLERBersant Celina screams with delight after scoring the only goal of the Ipswich Town v Leeds United game. Picture: STEVE WALLER

With Town’s bench including the inexperienced young quartet of Michael Crowe, Chris Smith, Adam McDonnell and Aaron Drinan, McCarthy is attempting to bolster his squad with signings.

He explained: “As always plates are spinning, the same as everyone else, and we’ll see which ones fall on who’s heads. I hope it’s not mine.”

One player who has signed is 19-year-old defender Chris Goteni from Saint-Apollinaire, a side who play in the fifth tier of French football.

“He’s joined us until the end of the season with an option,” said McCarthy. “He came and trained with the first team and did alright. He played in a practice match the other day and was awful, but I’d seen enough in the training.”

Teenage striker Ben Morris has his sights set on a breakthrough season for Ipswich Town after receiving a surprise call-up for the England Under-19 squad.

Paul Hurst always got the sense Bartosz Bialkowski’s future was at Ipswich Town as the club worked to tie their star goalkeeper down to a new deal.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst has admitted he can’t guarantee leading scorer Martyn Waghorn will still be at the club by the time the new season starts.

Andy Warren casts his eye over Ipswich Town’s U23s’ 1-1 draw with Lowestoft Town - a game watched by Blues boss Paul Hurst.

Mark Heath and Andy Warren discuss all the latest Ipswich Town news – from Bart’s new deal to Paul Hurst’s cutting comments – in this week’s Kings of Anglia podcast.

Paul Hurst will be an interested spectator at Lowestoft this evening as he continues to assess Ipswich Town’s young players.

Ipswich Town are among a string of clubs being linked with a move for Norwich City winger Yanic Wildschut.

Ipswich Town beat Crawley Town 1-0, at East Grinstead Town, in their latest pre-season friendly last night. STUART WATSON gives his snap observations.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst said tonight’s 1-0 friendly win against Crawley Town was ‘a step forward’, but says his squad is ‘nowhere near the finished article’.

Ipswich Town produced a much-improved display in their second pre-season outing as they saw off Crawley Town 1-0 at East Grinstead this evening.

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