Braveheart! Mick McCarthy hails bloodied and bandaged Christophe Berra

Christophe Berra

Christophe Berra - Credit: Lucy taylor

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy hailed bloodied and bandaged centre-back Christophe Berra following his imperious display in Saturday’s 2-0 home win over Reading.

The Scottish defender required stitches to a head wound after the match, sustained during a second-half which involved a good old-fashioned battle with Reading’s Russian target man Pavel Pogrebnyak.

Second-half goals from Daryl Murphy and Paul Anderson sealed a fully deserved victory, the Blues back to their organised and spirited best following the seven uncharacteristically soft goals conceded in the successive defeats to QPR, Preston and Millwall.

“I’m delighted he’s come off needing stitches,” said McCarthy, whose side are back up seventh in the Championship table ahead of tomorrow night’s game at a Leeds side winless in seven.

“I wish the other three at the back came off needing stitches and had broken noses. That means that they’re heading it.

“I’ve been a little bit miffed in the last two or three games because our defenders have been picking themselves up off the floor and complaining about being fouled. I don’t like that. I like the opposition players picking themselves up and complaining about my defenders.

“That’s the way defenders should be. It happens doesn’t it? You get a broken nose and stitches from time-to-time. You win games by doing that.”

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Town kept 14 clean sheets in McCarthy’s 34 games in charge in the second half of last season, but Saturday was only their sixth shut out in 29 matches this campaign. Only six teams have conceded fewer goals (31) in the Championship so far though, with the Blues’ goal tally of 39 only bettered by four league rivals.

Luke Chambers, Berra, Tommy Smith and Aaron Cresswell have all been virtual ever-presents in defence this season, with Tyrone Mings acting as cover for left-back, right-back and centre-half since young duo Elliott Hewitt and Freddie Veseli were sent out on loan to get some much-needed game time.

Keen to let the latter two continue their development at Gillingham and Bury respectively, rather than sitting on the bench at Ipswich, McCarthy has moved to bring in cover in the form of Middlesbrough right-back Frazer Richardson.

The 31-year-old former Leeds, Southampton and Charlton player – out of contract in the summer – has joined on loan until the end-of-the-season and could be in the squad at Elland Road tomorrow night.

“He’s a top lad and knows the score,” said McCarthy. “He knows Chambo is playing and he wants to come here and fight for a slot.”