Beattie staggered at Tommy Smith’s omission from Ipswich Town’s side which lost to Brentford
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town legend Kevin Beattie was staggered to see Tommy Smith dropped last weekend and hopes the homegrown defender is handed a new contract soon.
Smith, 26, had been an ever-present in the Championship this season but was on the bench for last Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat to Brentford. Skipper Luke Chambers returned to his favoured central role alongside Christophe Berra and Kevin Foley was right-back.
The New Zealand international, who has been at Town since the age of 14 and made 249 appearances for the club, is coming to the end of his current contract.
McCarthy has confirmed the club will activate an option to extend both Smith and Luke Hyam’s deals by another year and then discuss their longer-term futures in the summer.
“I’m a big Tommy Smith fan and I hope his contract gets extended,” said former Blues centre-back Beattie, the man often voted as the club’s greatest ever player.
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“I was staggered when he was left out last weekend. He hasn’t made many mistakes Mick, but that’s one of his biggest ones in my opinion.
“Okay, he tried playing with a proper right-back, but why suddenly try that after two clean sheets?
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“Luke Chambers wasn’t that good at centre-half, I must admit. He’s improved a lot at right-back and is often there attacking at the back post. I’d say he is fully qualified for that position now.
“If it came down to a choice of two out of three (Smith, Chambers or Berra) at centre-back it would be a tough call, but right now I’d be going with Luke and Tommy. You’ve got to play your captain and I think Tommy deserves to play.”
McCarthy said: “Tommy was unlucky not to play last weekend. Of course, when you lose a game all the decisions are wrong. Had we won and had two full-backs who had contributed, people may have seen it differently.
“It hadn’t been going particularly brilliantly, so if I kept doing the same thing then that would have been the definition of madness.”
Beattie added: “Mick and Terry have got a hard job ahead of them, but I hope they stay and that Marcus (Evans) gives them a few bob to spend.
“There’s talk of Aston Villa, but Mick is an honourable man and I don’t think he’d leave us.
“I remember when Newcastle wanted Sir Bobby (Robson) and he stuck with us. He had some tough times here too but look what happened.”