FA Cup run could enhance Ipswich Town’s promotion push, says McCarthy

Mick McCarthy at Brentford on Boxing Day

Mick McCarthy at Brentford on Boxing Day

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy has not hidden his disdain for cup competitions in the past.

When in charge of Wolves he was handed a suspended fine for changing 10 of his starting XI for an FA Cup clash, his team fighting to avoid Premier League relegation at the time.

With his current team second in the Championship table and unbeaten in 11 matches though, the Blues boss – whose side face fourth-place Premier League outfit Southampton in the third round, at St Mary’s, tomorrow (3pm) – says he wouldn’t be adverse to a few rounds of knock-out football during the second-half of the campaign.

Asked if he felt he had enough strength in depth to cope with additional matches, he replied: “We’ve got what we’ve got in the building. That’s what we are. I don’t see why not? I’d like to win it and get another game. A cup run can enhance a promotion push, I think.”

He continued: “Some ties provoke more interest than others; Man United against Yeovil, Palace going to Dover. That’s the sort of tie I didn’t want. I didn’t want Altrincham or Accrington or Dover because history and notoriety can be made in those games.

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“So when the draw was made I thought it was great because I thought we can go and try and compete against a Premier League team. And if we lose the game people will say ‘well you were playing a good Premier League side’.

“If there’s any pressure it’s on them to win their home tie against a Championship side. They’re not daft though, they’ll know we’ve been up the top of our league for a while now. I think they’ll pay us a healthy amount of respect actually.”

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Asked if beating an in-form Premier League side would be a big psychological boost to his already confident players, McCarthy said: “I don’t think about it that deeply. Beating anyone gives you a lift. What we don’t want to do is get slapped and come away feeling the opposite.

“You don’t want to go out and play a Premier League side and look like you don’t scratch the surface. I’ve been in games like this where you do alright as the Championship side, but you don’t get much of the ball, you don’t get many chances and you come away losing 1-0 and feeling a bit deflated. That’s what I don’t want to happen.”

Southampton’s success this season has surprised many, following a summer which saw manager Mauricio Pochettino, as well as key players Luke Shaw, Dejan Lovren, Calum Chambers, Adam Lallana and Pablo Osvaldo, depart.

“People are always quick to say what teams are going to do,” said McCarthy. “‘Expert opinion’ isn’t always expert opinion is it? I didn’t give it a moment’s thought about what Southampton were going to do because it didn’t interest me.

“I was at their game yesterday (2-0 home win over Arsenal) and they’ve got some real capable players. I’m not going to say it made me any happier that we’re playing them!

“They’re fourth in the league and I think they’ll want to cement that with a little bit of a cup run as well. I can’t see him (Ronald Koeman) diluting their team too much. He’ll see this game as a good chance to progress to the next round.”

– See today’s EADT for full match preview. Follow @Stuart_Watson on Twitter for live match updates tomorrow.

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