Eight Ipswich Town first-team players will miss the cut today as Mick McCarthy won’t take keeper risk

Back-up goalkeeper Dean Gerken (left) and Tommy Smith on the bench for Ipswich Town. Picture: Steve

Back-up goalkeeper Dean Gerken (left) and Tommy Smith on the bench for Ipswich Town. Picture: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says he would never risk not naming a goalkeeper on the bench.

Little more than a month ago, the Blues boss had just 12 recognised first-team outfield players to pick from when Lincoln visited Portman Road in the FA Cup. As a result, untried youngsters George Fowler, Pat Webber, Shane McLoughlin, Adam McDonnell and Ben Morris were among the substitutes.

Since then, long-term absentees Teddy Bishop, David McGoldrick, Tommy Smith, Myles Kenlock and Paul Digby have all returned to fitness, while Jordan Spence, Steven Taylor, Toumani Diagouraga, Emyr Huws, Danny Rowe, Kieffer Moore and Dominic Samuel were signed during the January transfer window.

Even discounting out-of-favour striker Leon Best, McCarthy has 24 first-team outfielders to pick from for this afternoon’s Championship match at Aston Villa. That means that eight will not make the cut when he names his 18-man squad.

And that’s still with Adam Webster, Luke Hyam, Jonny Williams and Giles Coke in the treatment room.

Asked if he would consider not naming a keeper among his substitutes, he replied: “If you look at the stats, the amount of times you have to call on a keeper from the bench is rare. I wouldn’t risk the embarrassment of getting a 6-0 though. You can only play three subs, so it’s insurance, assurance and sensible.”

He continued: “I’m going to have to leave people out now, but that’s why you have a squad. I think I’ve got a little bit of carte blanche to do what I want with them because we’ve hardly been ripping it up.

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“Look at how many goals we’ve scored from midfield with Doz (Dozzell), Bishop, (Kevin) Bru and Dougie (Jonathan Douglas). I’ve got more players now and more options. They are going to have to put up with that I’m afraid.”

Last weekend, Bru, Douglas, Dozzell and Digby were left out of the match-day squad completely for the 2-2 home draw with Reading. Kenlock and Samuel come into the reckoning today, but Smith and Rowe – despite both playing for the Under-23s on Monday night – aren’t fully fit.

Hyam will make his return from a knee injury in an U23 game at West Brom next Monday.

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