Booing Grant Holt will only make him raise his game, warns Mick McCarthy

Huddersfield Town's Grant Holt holds off a challenge from Wolverhampton Wanderers' Richard Stearman.

Huddersfield Town's Grant Holt holds off a challenge from Wolverhampton Wanderers' Richard Stearman. - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Ipswich v Huddersfield: A cacophony of boos will only make pantomime villain Grant Holt raise his game today.

So warns Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy ahead of Holt’s return to Portman Road for the first time since his hat-trick for bitter rivals Norwich City in 2010.

The 33-year-old front man is now on loan at Huddersfield Town from Wigan, the Terriers arriving in Suffolk looking to extend a five-game unbeaten run under new boss Chris Powell.

Asked about the prospect of Holt – the man Town fans loved to hate as the Canaries claimed 4-1 and 5-1 victories in the East Anglian derbies of 2009/10 – getting a hot reception this afternoon, McCarthy replied: “I don’t think it will bother him one iota. I think he’ll thrive on it.

“I think the more they do boo him, the more belligerent and tougher he’ll be.

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“If they’re caning you then you want to play better. Does it put some off? It might do, but I don’t think it will bother him much. He looks like a hard-nosed pro to me.”

Does that mean that McCarthy’s message to the home fans is not to give Holt any added motivation today?

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“I’m not giving any messages to fans, it’s not my place to do that because they turn up and pay their money,” he said.

“If they want to boo him, then boo him. I’m not bothered.

“As a player, and even now as a manager, I always turn up and think ‘they can boo me all they like’. That just makes me want to win more. Then when you do beat them your smile is even bigger than usual because you’ve been getting dog’s abuse.”

David Nugent is certainly a player who has always raised his game in the face of boos and jeers at Portman Road. The Liverpudlian has scored on every one of his outings at the Suffolk venue, cupping his ears playfully to the crowd in way of goal celebration.

From an Ipswich point of view, loanee Jonny Williams certainly rose to the occasion when he was booed for his Crystal Palace

connections at the Eagles’ rival club Brighton last season. The midfielder silenced a packed Amex Stadium that day, celebrating wildly in front of the travelling fans after setting up a goal in a 2-0 win.

Town are looking to bounce back following Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss at Cardiff City, an eight-game unbeaten run ended and the winless streak extended to four matches.

McCarthy said: “I think it’s nailed on that I’ll get a good reaction. I don’t worry about that.

“I know I came off and said ‘that’s as bad as we’ve played’... Well we haven’t played badly this season, so maybe it was as bad as we’ve played, but that doesn’t make it awful. We’ve just set ourselves a high standard.”

– See today’s EADT for full match preview. Follow @Stuart_Watson on Twitter for live match updates.

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