Are Ipswich Town at a crossroads?

Town manager Mick McCarthy and assistant Terry Connor during the Ipswich Town v Brentford (Champions

Town manager Mick McCarthy and assistant Terry Connor during the Ipswich Town v Brentford (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 09 April 2016. Picture: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says the club finds itself at a crossroads.

The Blues boss took over a team that was bottom of the Championship table in November 2012 and, working with a shoestring budget, has overseen finishes of 14th, ninth, sixth and seventh.

Town are now preparing for a 15th successive campaign in the second-tier, with the relegated trio of Newcastle, Aston Villa and East Anglian rivals Norwich set to join them with more than £100m in parachute payments.

“Seventh is not the worst finish – a lot of teams would swap places with us,” said McCarthy. “But we are a bit of a crossroads now. We’ve got some good young players coming through – can we integrate them, can we get them in the team?

“There is all this talk about changing the style of play and a different way of playing, but I didn’t hear that when we got in the play-offs. We’re playing exactly the same way now, we’ve just not quite had as much success with it.”

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Blues owner Marcus Evans recently said, rather vaguely, that he would consider spending a million pounds on a transfer fee again.

“There are deals we can’t do, but there’s no point moaning about it,” said McCarthy. “I’ve had a career of making the best out of whatever hand I’m dealt. As always, it’ll will be about the right recruitment. We’re certainly not going to change what we try and do. Whether we can do it better next year, that’s the test.

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“We’ve got to score more goals from midfield. Wide players certainly is going to be an issue because we’ve lost Tabby (Jay Tabb, released), (loan players) Ainsley (Maitland-Niles) and Ryan (Fraser) will go back to their clubs, while Ben Pringle was only on loan too. That’s certainly an area we need to be looking at.”

McCarthy added: “It’s interesting about how people view me, view the players and view the club. We finished in the top six by one goal and we were all brilliant. That positivity, praise and good feeling was deserved and we’ve not been that far away from repeating that this season.

“We’ve lost players through injury and there’s no doubt that had an effect. We’ve still put the work-rate in, we’ve still tried as hard as we can, we’ve just missed that little bit of magic dust I think.

“Some of the performances at home have fallen below the standard we set and then season just petered out, but nobody is more disappointed than I am and the players.

“We’ve not always played as well as we possibly could, but then we’re not the best team in the league – nobody ever said we were.

“As I keep saying, there is still a lot to be proud of and thankful about when it comes to this group of players and the club.”

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