Do teams with less to play for make for tougher opposition towards season’s end?
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Mick McCarthy is unconvinced by the theory that playing teams with little to play for, towards the end of the season, is more difficult than facing a side that is desperate for points to win promotion or avoid relegation and possibly playing with nerves.
After Ipswich’s trip to 13th-placed Cardiff on Saturday, the Blues face three of the current top-seven and five teams in the bottom-eight positions of the Championship, during the season’s run-in.
With Town not completely safe from the drop – seven points clear of the bottom three – McCarthy’s team will be looking to put a couple of wins on the board sooner rather than later.
“That’s a theory isn’t it, that if a team is going for things they might tighten up?,” said McCarthy.
“But I was at Fulham (on Tuesday) and they were in the play-offs for a while (during the game) and now they are out of the play-offs.
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“It was a different game for them, a real pressure game for them that, but Fulham were brilliant at times in the first half and Blackburn, who are scrapping tooth and nail at the bottom of the league, were great in the second half and deserved to win.
“I have no idea if that (theory) happens. We played Barnsley, who are not going to go up and are not going to go down and they were good.
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“I would prefer for us to play well, I am not picky and choosy about the opposition.”
McCarthy will be without the ineligible Emyr Huws for the trip to Wales, while Kevin Bru (knee) and Kieffer Moore (groin) are doubts.
Brett Pitman, meanwhile, is pushing for a start, having set up Tom Lawrence’s late equaliser at Barnsley last weekend – the former Bournemouth man playing an effective cameo after coming on as a late substitute.
“The ones that are left out, you always want them to have a positive response, and he (Pitman) did,” said McCarthy.
“He came on and put a bit of quality in and we managed to score.
“We have got good lads, they are not sulkers, and that annoys me as much as anything in the game that.
“When they are in the team ‘we are all friends’ and everything is good and when they are out of the team they are sulking.”