Attack could be the best form of defence as McCarthy heads back into the Wolves’ den

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy. Photo: Sarah Lucy Brown

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy. Photo: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy goes back into the Wolves’ den with something of a dilemma on his hands this Saturday.

The Blues have won back-to-back home games against Blackpool and Cardiff, while Wolves have just lost successive away matches against Birmingham and Middlesbrough.

As a result, Town have a three-point cushion over Kenny Jackett’s side heading into Saturday’s televised clash at Molineux (12.15pm).

The pressure is all on the hosts. And McCarthy’s trademark ultra-pragmatic outlook suggests his focus will be on keeping it tight rather than going for the jugular.

The Blues boss’ mantra all season has been ‘there’s no such thing as a bad away point’. So often he has heaped effusive praise on opposition players prior to games. So often he has adapted his formation in order to counteract the other team.

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And yet you get a feeling that, with the games beginning to fast run out, a new, almost bullish side to the experienced Yorkshireman is starting to emerge.

Following the disappointing 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield he proclaimed, uncharacteristically, that nothing but two victories would do in the next two home matches. It was an attitude that lifted both players and supporters.

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Speaking after Tuesday night’s pulsating win over Cardiff, the Blues boss said: “Maybe the dynamic has changed a bit for them (Wolves) because they now have to win. It would be silly of us to go there and sit back and invite pressure though. We’re one of the best teams at hunting the ball and stopping people playing.”

With Freddie Sears in top form and Daryl Murphy hitting the goal trail again, attack could very well prove to be the best form of defence against a Wolves side conceding sloppy goals left, right and centre.

McCarthy spent six largely successful years at Wolves. He led them to a Championship title. And he was sacked when the team was only in the Premier League relegation zone on goal difference, still with 13 games to go.

He insists this game has not been in the back of his mind. And yet the way he and assistant Terry Connor celebrated victory at Molineux last season suggests this game holds an extra edge for the duo.

– The battle for fifth and sixth spots. The run-in is analysed, while Derby, Wolves and Brentford reporters have their say in today’s EADT and Ipswich Star.

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