Daryl Murphy and Cole Skuse could return fresher after injuries, says Mick McCarthy

Cole Skuse and Daryl Murphy

Cole Skuse and Daryl Murphy - Credit: Ashley Pickering

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy believes key duo Cole Skuse and Daryl Murphy can provide the team with a timely boost in a crunch clash at Cardiff tomorrow.

Since joining the club in the summer of 2013, midfielder Skuse has been one of the first names on the team-sheet. He started all but 10 of 122 league games before a toe injury prevented him from featuring in the last five matches. It’s been the same for Murphy over the last three seasons, the Irish striker starting all but 13 of 125 league games before a calf strain sidelined him for the last two.

“I’m optimistic they will be okay for Saturday,” said McCarthy. “And having those two back would be a boost for any team. They’re both very, very good players, important players for us, and it’s a real boost to have them back.

“That’s no disrespect to anybody else in my squad, but those two have been picked week-in, week-out on merit.”

Asked if the duo could hit the ground running, the Blues boss said: “Yes. Skusey is as fit as anybody and has that endurance in him. So has Murph. In a strange way it might be that a break gives them a chance to finish the season on a high and full of running.”

McCarthy says he is ready to rotate his squad as the games continue to come thick and fast, the Blues playing five games in 15 days this month and travelling 1,000 miles in the process.

March started with a 1-0 home win over Nottingham Forest and continued with a 2-2 draw at Bolton on Tuesday night. It continues with another long trip, this time to face top-six rivals Cardiff in south Wales tomorrow, and concludes with home games against Blackburn and Rotherham next Tuesday and Saturday respectively.

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Asked if he will rotate his squad for the coming games, McCarthy replied: “Absolutely.

“It’s not been easy to do that up until now, because we’ve had so many injuries, but we’ve now got three games in quick succession off the back of a bonkers long trip to Bolton. Now we’ve got a similar trip to Cardiff, so if I can get fresh legs in the team I will.”

Midfield trio Kevin Foley, Ben Pringle and Kevin Bru all picked up knocks in midweek, but should recover in time.

“Kev took a nasty bang in the ribs, on top of a bang he’d already taken in the ribs the game before, so he is suffering a bit,” said McCarthy. “I would anticipate they’ll all be okay though.”

Meanwhile, the Blues boss was asked when long-term absentees David McGoldrick, Teddy Bishop and Ryan Fraser may return to action.

“I think Didzy (McGoldrick) will be champing at the bit to be involved on April 2 (at Wolves),” said McCarthy. “He will train on Sunday, have a week’s training, and if we could get a game into him against Nottingham Forest then I think he would be very much a part of the squad again.

“He’s an incredibly talented player and we’ve missed him whenever he’s been out. Of course he’s got a European Championship place (with the Republic of Ireland) to go for as well, so there’s added motivation.

“I don’t know about Teddy. He’s not as advanced as Didzy. We thought he might train Sunday, but he’s not quite ready.

“And I’m waiting to hear from Bournemouth about Ryan.”