‘Good planning’ means it’s Ipswich Town who benefit from an extra day of rest this Easter Monday

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy. Photo: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy. Photo: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy is glad that it is his side that go into a crucial Easter Monday match with the benefit of an extra day of rest this year.

The Blues boss voiced his discontent last season after seeing his side’s top-six push falter over the Bank Holiday period.

Having lost 3-1 at Watford on the Saturday, the Blues were then held to a 2-2 home draw with Bournemouth just two days later – the Cherries having played their first festive fixture on Good Friday.

With that in mind, McCarthy made sure one of his first tasks when the 2014/15 fixture list came out last summer was to try and organise a Good Friday match.

Bournemouth obliged to the proposed date change and the two teams played out a 1-1 draw at Portman Road.

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And that meant Town’s players could rest on Saturday as Huddersfield Town – their opponents at 3pm this afternoon – were playing out a scrappy 1-1 draw with Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.

“That’s good planning,” said McCarthy. “We played Watford on the Saturday last year and then had to play Bournemouth, who played on the Friday and move the ball about as well as anybody, two days later. We were goosed on that day, to be fair, and got done by a deflected free-kick.

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“That weekend did for us and I was determined for it not be a factor this time.”

Town took the lead inside six minutes on Friday, Freddie Sears providing an emphatic first-time finish after good work by Daryl Murphy, then soaked up lengthy periods of Bournemouth pressure.

In the end the free-flowing Cherries were forced to switch to Plan B, brought on target man Kenwyne Jones and found an 82nd minute equaliser when the former Stoke and Sunderland striker – only signed on loan from Cardiff last week – headed home from a corner with his first touch for the club.

Admitting that it had been ‘a fair result’, McCarthy said: “We go to Huddersfield with another great point in our pocket.

“If we go there and win it will be four points from the Easter weekend. That has to be the mentality – just go and try and win away from home.”

Today’s hosts, Huddersfield, have little to play for in terms of promotion or safety, while rock-bottom Blackpool – all but relegated – and mid-table Cardiff then visit Portman Road.

When it was pointed out that his side do not have to face any more teams currently above them in the table over their remaining six matches, McCarthy quipped: “Yeah, because all those beneath the top seven are easy – he says with his tongue in both cheeks. Not at all.

“We had Wigan here and we drew (0-0). We had Reading here and we lost (1-0). Yet we go to Watford and win (1-0).

“You try and win money on the Championship. I don’t think the fixtures left are significant at all. We’re all fighting for something.

“Everyone has personal pride and no-one is going to roll over and have their bellies tickled.

“Teams will see us as a scalp because we’re in the hunt for promotion. We’ve not had an easy one yet, so I don’t imagine we’ll get one now.”

– Follow @Stuart_Watson on Twitter for live match updates.

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