International break has come at a great time for us, says McCarthy

Richard Chaplow celebrates scoring the late winner at Watford with his Ipswich team mates

Richard Chaplow celebrates scoring the late winner at Watford with his Ipswich team mates

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy believes this weekend’s international break has come at just the right time for his players.

The Blues are back in the Championship play-off places – and still in with a shot at automatic promotion – following Saturday’s last-gasp 1-0 win at Watford, substitute Richard Chaplow producing a cool finish in the fourth and final minute of stoppage-time.

Just nine points separates the division’s top eight sides with seven games to go, with the Blues hosting new league-leaders Bournemouth on Good Friday and travelling to Huddersfield on Easter Monday.

With his team having secured back-to-back victories and clean sheets, is now a good time to have a blank weekend?

“It’s a great time – I’m going on the lash for a couple of days I think!” joked McCarthy, who – having ruled his side out of the top-two battle last week – now believes his side are back in the hunt following another set of unpredictable results in the English second tier.

“I’ll certainly be giving the players some time off. Some of them will have internationals, but the rest of them will have Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday off.

“They need a break, we’ve played a lot of games and they’ve been great.”

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Daryl Murphy is in the Republic of Ireland squad for a home game against Poland, Kevin Bru could represent Mauritius in games against Burundi and Togo, Chris Wood will be away with New Zealand, while Christophe Berra is in the Scotland squad for home games against Northern Ireland and Gibraltar.

Jonathan Parr and Tommy Smith were surprise omissions from the Norway and New Zealand squads respectively though, while Teddy Bishop has been forced to withdraw from the England Under-19 squad following the onset of shin splints.

Tyrone Mings will be suspended for the next two matches after he picked up his 10th booking of the season at the weekend.

The ‘emergency’ loan window closes on Thursday.

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