Bring on Boro says Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy's men were unbeaten in November

Mick McCarthy's men were unbeaten in November - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Now is as good a time as any to face high-flying Middlesbrough at Portman Road, says Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy.

Now is as good a time as any to face high-flying Middlesbrough at Portman Road, says Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy.

Last season’s beaten play-off finalists spent big in the summer and arrive in Suffolk tonight placed second in the Championship table.

However, Aitor Karanka’s men have been handed a tough schedule this week – tonight’s Sky televised game (7.45pm) coming just three days after their 2-0 home defeat to Everton in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals.

And the Blues could be ready to capitalise given their own impressive form of late.

“The reality is this is a good time to face them,” said McCarthy, whose side are unbeaten in six, including three wins from their last four.

“Playing Tuesday-Friday is a tough ask for them, they’ve got to travel here and we’re on a good run of form. Whether that will give us an advantage only time will tell.

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“All I can say is that with the confidence that we have at the moment we’re happy to play anybody.”

Town’s topsy-turvy season saw them rocket to the top of the pile early on, then tumble into the bottom half only to rapidly climb back up the table.

Another unbeaten November saw them record comfortable victories against lowly Bolton (2-0 at home), Rotherham (5-2 away) and Charlton (3-0 away), setting things up nicely for a festive schedule that includes matches against several of the division’s forerunners.

“No-one should suggest that our recent wins have been easy because when we were in the bottom three, back when I first arrived here, we slapped a few teams,” said McCarthy.

“It will be a different prospect playing Middlesbrough though. They are a very, very good side and they’ll be one of the teams for promotion I think.

“Strangely though it’s sometimes better, easier, going up against the teams at the top because you’re not just expected to turn up and win.

“That said, the support we had against Bolton here recently was fantastic. They didn’t just sit back and say ‘go on and win it then’ they actually inspired us to win it.

“It’s always more nervy, as a player or a manager, when you walk out onto the pitch for a game that people expect you to win.

“Against Middlesbrough people will turn up hoping we win, rather than expecting it.”

- Follow @Stuart_Watson on Twitter for all the latest on Ipswich Town and buy today’s papers for an in-depth two-page match preview.

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