Defeat at table-topping Leicester City would leave Ipswich Town’s play-off hopes in the balance, admits Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy has not given up on a top-six finish but knows that defeat at Championship table-toppers Leicester tomorrow could leave his side facing a major uphill battle.

The Blues dropped to ninth in the table following last weekend’s goalless home draw against struggling Blackpool. The top five in the division are beginning to pull away meaning that Town – five points adrift of sixth-place Reading with 15 games to play – are among a host of sides battling for the final play-off spot.

Wigan, Brighton, Blackburn and Leeds are major rivals and all four of them hold a game in hand on McCarthy’s side.

“There is one spot that we’re all chasing,” admitted the Blues boss. “We’re 10 points behind the top five. If somebody tells me we can get 11 points more than Nottingham Forest between now and the end of the season... Well, I’d love to think we could, but we’d probably have to have a talk to them!

“Sixth spot is still there, but this weekend could be a watershed. I don’t know where Reading are playing (home to Blackburn) but if we don’t get anything, they win and suddenly they are eight points in front of us then it would be a hell of a test for us.

“That’s what we’re chasing though and we’ll keep chasing it as long as – and this is the nonsense, drivel, cliché that I might as well give you – it’s mathematically possible.

“That’s the last cliché I’ll come out with because I don’t normally do them.”

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Asked if he’d have taken this scenario had it been offered to him before a ball had been kicked this season, McCarthy paused before replying: “That would suggest I am happy and content with where we are, which I’m not. But yes, I probably would have done bearing in mind where we were last season. Right until three or four games to go we could have been relegated. That seems bonkers now doesn’t it?

“So yeah, I would, I’d have took it. But having done as well as we’ve done I do think we could be in a better position. I think we’ve had 12 draws (only Nottingham Forest have drawn more in the division) and I was looking back on them today thinking what could have been. Every manager will be saying that though. The ones in the bottom three will be thinking ‘we could have won that one’. Barnsley will be thinking ‘if we’d held on to that lead against Ipswich’.

“I’m looking at where we’d be if we’d have won at Wigan, which we should have done, if we’d won done the same at Reading and Birmingham. But we didn’t.”

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