Ipswich Town striker Jack Marriott is leaner, fitter and better than last season, says Mick McCarthy
Ipswich Town fans will see a leaner, fitter Jack Marriott when the teenage striker makes his full debut for the Blues in the Capital One Cup at Crawley Town tonight.
Supporters have been clamouring to see more of Marriott, following his goalscoring exploits for the Blues’ youth and under-21 teams, and will have their wishes granted tonight, with Daryl Murphy (calf) and David McGoldrick among 10 senior players rested or injured for the clash with the League One side.
Marriott featured off the bench for the Blues in between a productive loan spell at Conference Premier outfit Woking, which McCarthy believes has been hugely beneficial – the striker scoring 12 times in 22 appearances for the Cards.
“He is a different player, leaner and he is more serious about his game and his fitness, not that he wasn’t before,” said the Ipswich boss, who also confirmed 17-year-old centre-half Matt Clarke will make his senior debut in place of Tyrone Mings (sore back and cramp) at left-back.
“I think you get that through playing every week. You get a bit more aware of your body and how you need to get through games and a season playing at a tougher level.
“The Conference Premier is not easy to play in. I didn’t play in it, but I have seen enough games to know that he is a better player for it.”
Clarke, meanwhile, is highly-rated by McCarthy, and has earned his chance to make his first-team bow.
“He has had a really good pre-season and has coped when training with the first-team,” added McCarthy.
“He’s a footballing centre-half and we have young Ben Wyatt who is a left-back but Matt is in front of him in terms of getting a game and I am certain he will be comfortable there.”
As well as Clarke and Marriott, talented midfielder Teddy Bishop will be on the bench while Bartosz Bialkowski will make his debut in goal.
Frank Nouble could also be handed his first start of the season in the absence of McGoldrick and Murphy who will both miss tonight’s game as a precaution.
They will be joined by Luke Hyam (cramp), Cole Skuse (foot scan), Tommy Smith (groin), Paul Anderson (hamstring), Cameron Stewart (broken jaw), Stephen Hunt (calf), Jonathan Parr (groin) and Mings.
Aside from Hunt and Stewart, the aforementioned players are likely to back in the squad for Saturday’s game at Reading.