‘I would imagine everyone will want Lincoln to win’ – Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy knows the wider footballing world wants his team to trip up in the FA Cup today.
The visit of in-form non-league side Lincoln City to Portman Road has third round banana skin written all over it.
Town’s stuttering season sees them sit 15th in the Championship, while the Imps – who have won 21 games in all competitions this campaign – are top of the National League and playing with swagger.
Altogether, 57 places and two divisions separate the sides but there won’t be much disparity between the number of home and away supporters this afternoon – Lincoln fans will make up more than a third of an expected crowd of around 12-13,000.
“I would imagine everyone will want Lincoln to win,” said McCarthy. “That’s always been the way with underdogs and FA Cup third round weekend. I’ve no problem with that at all.
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“Does that put extra pressure on us? No, not really. We’ve been under enough pressure at home for a while now. We’ve put that on ourselves because we’ve not played well enough and not won games, although we did win the last one here (2-1 against Bristol City) and played well.
“I don’t see it as any more pressure, not at all. I see it as a game we’ve got to win, but if we were playing Blackburn at home (next Saturday’s game) I wouldn’t see it any more or less pressure than this.”
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Winners of the world famous competition in 1978, Ipswich haven’t won an FA Cup match since 2010. Now more than ever they need the morale lift that a cup run can bring following a forgettable 2016.
McCarthy, who has so often in the past treated knockout competitions as an unwanted distraction by making sweeping changes to his starting line-up, insists he will break with tradition and name ‘as strong a team as possible’ today. Not that he’s got much choice thanks to a small squad being hit by injuries.
“Gerard Nash (Under-23 manager) has come back with a report about how well they are playing and what a threat they are,” said McCarthy.
“But it really will be down to us. It will be about how we play. It will be down to our performance. It will be about how we take care of it.
“You can only take care of performances and I think the last two performances (against Bristol City and QPR) have been good. I would accept a repeat of those two displays over the rest of the season.
“Although I was hurt to lose at QPR (2-1), I can accept it a lot more when we play well as supposed to when we don’t.”
– Follow @Stuart_Watson on Twitter for live match updates.