Automatic promotion is highly unlikely, says Ipswich Town boss

Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy

Manager Mick McCarthy thinks it’s highly unlikely his Blues side will break into the Championship’s automatic promotion spots, but insists the town should be proud of his squad’s 2015 exploits as they enter the New Year.

McCarthy led the Blues to the play-off semi-finals last May, Town ultimately falling short against bitter rivals, Norwich.

He revamped his squad in the summer and will steer them into fifth place, should they win at Burnley – the team that currently occupy that position – at Turf Moor, tomorrow.

The gap between Town, in sixth and Sheffield Wednesday, in seventh, currently stands at four points and while the former Wolves boss isn’t ruling out entirely the possibility of catching Middlesbrough and Derby, his priority remains cementing a place in the play-off places.

“I think everyone at the club can be proud of the players and they can be proud of themselves,” said McCarthy, when asked about Town’s exploits in 2015.

“A real bad stroke of luck with a sending-off and the penalty (at Norwich) ultimately cost us last season, but the lads have continued doing what they do, they are low-maintenance, great professionals and good people and are really good representatives for Ipswich Town Football Club.

“If I can bask in their reflected glory, then so be it.”

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Asked if his side can break into the top two, with the gap between Town and second-placed Derby currently eight points, McCarthy added: “No, I don’t.

“It’s a tall order and I don’t think we can do it, because I think they (Derby and Middlesbrough) are too good. We will try to do it and you never know, I have seen leads get whittled away, provided we keep doing our jobs.

“They (Derby and Middlesbrough) have to let their guard down and lose a couple. If that happens, Burnley and Brighton are back at them, that’s when the worry starts.

“But I think they will improve and add in the window to already very good squads.

“Top two is difficult (for Ipswich) but I still say top six is a very good finish for us.”

Larsen Toure and Teddy Bishop are out, but Jonathan Parr and Ainsley Maitland-Niles return to the squad after injury for the trip to Lancashire.

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