McCarthy’s future is the only real question in town... but the Blues still have other issues to sort
PUBLISHED: 07:26 22 March 2018
The future of Mick McCarthy and the direction of Ipswich Town cast a shadow over the final weeks of the season, but there are still plenty of issues to be sorted at Portman Road. ANDY WARREN takes a look
Will the Blues finish above Norwich?
On-field matters have been greatly overshadowed by talk of McCarthy’s future and the direction of the club over the last fortnight, with games seemingly paling into insignificance now the Blues are destined to spend a 17th-successive season in the Championship.
At various stages during that time, McCarthy has suggested finishing above the Canaries or inside the top 10 would represent success, with both still possible.
Heading into the international break, Ipswich and Norwich are level on points with eight games to go.
Securing a higher finish in the football pyramid than their local rivals would only represent a small success for Ipswich, but it’s something they have not previously done since 2010.
When will Bialkowski sign his new deal?
There was a wave of positivity when McCarthy announced that the Blues’ star player had agreed a new deal with the club. But that contract remains unsigned, with the Blues boss seemingly jumping the gun to announce some good news.
The Pole has insisted there are just a few loose ends to tie up and that he is keen to sign and stay, while McCarthy has admitted his goalkeeper’s recent international call-up provides Bialkowski with a strong corner to negotiate from while those issues are ironed out.
The 30-year-old is contracted to the club for next season, but only when he puts pen to paper will worries end regarding his long-term future.
Has McGoldrick played his final game for the club?
Unlike many of his team-mates, there is no clause in David McGoldrick’s contract allowing the club to automatically extend the striker’s deal.
Out for the season with a groin injury, the striker could well have played his last game for the club with all the signs pointing towards a summer exit.
At his best he has proven to be one of the division’s most gifted footballers, but those good days have been few and far between in recent seasons as he’s struggled with a succession of injuries.
McCarthy has recently stated he is unaware of any talks regarding an extension for the forward, with a fresh start seeming like the best solution for both parties.
Will Town take up options on Bishop and Hyam?
Homegrown midfielders Luke Hyam and Teddy Bishop are both out of contract this summer, have both seen their last two seasons heavily disrupted by injury but both have options in their deals which allow the club to automatically extend their stays.
Hyam, at least, has the chance to do his talking on the pitch after returning from knee and ankle injuries at the start of the year.
He is a reliable squad player who offers plenty of midfield steel but has limitations in terms of attacking output. If he can stay fit, he has the chance to prove why he deserves to stay with his hometown club.
In Bishop’s case, it is availability rather than ability on the pitch that has thrown his future into doubt.
It’s hard not to have a great deal of sympathy for a young man who has been restricted to just 28 appearances since bursting onto the scene in 2014/15 due to injury, as his body lets him down. His talent is not in dispute, but is the hope of utilising it enough for him to have his contract extended?
Surely it is not time to give up on a talented youngster just yet.
Have Carayol and Gleeson done enough to extend their stays?
Mustapha Carayol and Stephen Gleeson both signed six-month deals in January and both stated their desire to turn their temporary moves into long-term contracts.
In truth, neither have seen the field enough to give a true account of their abilities.
What we have seen of Carayol has been largely positive, particularly the match-winning 45-minute display at Preston, having arrived with a reputation of a winger who blows hot and cold.
Gleeson has made seven appearances since moving from Birmingham but, despite a good first display at Bolton, he still has plenty to prove if he is to extend his stay, given the likes of Emyr Huws, Tom Adeyemi and Andre Dozzell are all set to return next season.
But much like McGoldrick, Hyam and Bishop, who will be making the decisions over their futures?
It all comes back to that one big question.