Audio: Paul Digby looking very much at home at Ipswich Town, says Mick McCarthy

New Ipswich Town signing Paul Digby

New Ipswich Town signing Paul Digby - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy believes new signing Paul Digby is a gamble worth taking.

The 20-year-old arrived on loan from League One side Barnsley last week, with a view to a permanent summer switch, and has been put straight into the starting line-up for this afternoon’s FA Cup third round home tie with Portsmouth.

The 6ft 4in youngster made his Barnsley debut aged just 16 but several injuries then restricted his progress and he has found himself out of favour at Oakwell this season.

“He had a growth spurt which took its toll,” explained McCarthy. “He’s played a number of positions – he’s played full-back, centre-midfield, centre-back. I would like him to concentrate on centre-back because I think he could make a good one.

“This fella has got a bit of a pedigree in terms of him coming through the England youth ranks and he’s come here and impressed. He’s not looked out of place in training. In fact, he’s looked very much at home.

“He’s a good size, he’s quick enough, he can actually play football from the back too. He can head it, he reads the game well, he doesn’t mind a tackle and likes to block things.

“It’s not the first time I’ve taken a chance on somebody. I did it with Tyrone Mings and Kevin Bru and they were successes. They don’t all work out. The big centre-forward Balint (Bajner) didn’t work out, but let me tell you if you get 50% right you’re doing okay.”

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Meanwhile, McCarthy says Portsmouth’s rapid fall from grace should act as a reminder to Ipswich Town fans to be thankful for their 14 successive seasons in the second tier.

“I’ve laughed when people have moaned about this club being the longest serving club in the Championship,” he said. “Well there are many who would be delighted with that stat, Portsmouth being one of them.

“People always seem to sneer at anything below the Premier League, but there are levels below this too you know. There’s nothing wrong with being happy in your own skin. Always try and improve, of course, but don’t be too critical of where you are.”