He’s a diamond – McCarthy hails all-action man Jay Tabb

Jay Tabb celebrates his scruffy winner in Tuesday night's 1-0 home win over Bolton. Photo: SARAH LUC

Jay Tabb celebrates his scruffy winner in Tuesday night's 1-0 home win over Bolton. Photo: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Jay Tabb may not always be a fans’ favourite, but he is certainly one of manager Mick McCarthy’s.

The 31-year-old is often the target when the search for scapegoats begins, but quietened several of his critics with another all-action display – and late winner – in Tuesday night’s 1-0 home win over Bolton.

Indeed, the way the 5ft 5in midfielder battles for every ball and wins unlikely aerial duels typifies the way the Blues have punched above their weight this season.

“Tabby is a fabulous professional footballer to have in your club and to play in your team,” enthused McCarthy.

“Is he ever going to score 10 goals a season? Unlikely. Is he going to pick holes in the opposition with his passes? Not all the time.

“I tell you what he will do though; he’ll go and beat somebody who is 6ft 4in in the air, he’ll win the tackle off him too. He’s all action.

“And I’m not decrying him technically, because he has that as well, but he’s not Teddy Bishop – he’s different.

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“You know you can hang your hat on him, every week, in terms of his level of performance and effort.

“Whether he plays left, centre or right, he’ll do it diligently and professionally. He’s a diamond and an absolute joy to have in the football club.”

With Town seventh in the Championship table heading into their final eight matches – in-form Watford (a) and Bournemouth (h) up next – McCarthy continued: “As you all know, I told Tabby at the end of last season that he was free to move on because I was trying to change it. I brought Alex Henshall in, others in that position, but he’s seen them all off.

“He’s out of contract at the end of the season. Has there been any discussion with him about it? No. He just gets on with it.”

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