Bank on our two kids next season - Town coach McCarthy

IPSWICH Town coach Sean McCarthy today marked down Connor Wickham and Josh Carson to play leading roles in a serious promotion push next season.

The ex-striker is proving a pivotal member of manager Paul Jewell’s coaching staff along with Chris Hutchings, and has been particularly helpful to the two teenagers who often go out again for extra training with him.

Both Wickham and Carson have vital roles to play against Norwich City at Portman Road tonight (kick-off 7.45pm) in an eagerly awaited Championship derby.

Town fans would love nothing more than to see their heroes put a spoke in the Canaries’ promotion drive, and McCarthy has faith that the two kids can help do it.

“Nothing fazes Connor and Josh,” said McCarthy, who like Jewell and Hutchings will be experiencing his first East Anglian footballing battle.

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“They will be even better players next season and you can’t ask for anything else.

“Grant Holt leads the line really well for Norwich and he’s been around a long while having played his football from Barrow to the verge of the Premier League.

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“He’s a danger inside and outside the penalty area. But Connor did an exceptional job for us at Bristol City last weekend leading the line and getting in plenty of flick-ons.

“Playing as a centre forward is about scoring as well and Connor has the lot.

“He is strong, has the right build, has pace when he gets going and is good in the air.

“There is still room for improvement, but of course you would expect that in a lad of 18.

“Both are good enough to have successful careers with Josh first in for training and last away, and he just gets on with things.

“The manager is ensuring that the lads – Josh in particular – keep their feet on the ground with Josh having been given his chance and taken it keeping Lee Martin out of the side last midweek.”

And Jewell added: “No one needs to worry about these two lads tonight – they will take the game in their stride.”

Jewell was going to decide this morning whether to keep Wickham up front or pull him back into midfield to replace the suspended Martin and bring in Jason Scotland to play as a lone striker. Darren O’Dea is set to continue to deputise for Mark Kennedy.

Norwich are checking on skipper Grant Holt after the 20-goal striker played through the pain barrier in last Friday’s 2-1 home win over Nottingham Forest after suffering a slight hamstring tear.

Fellow striker Chris Martin continues to recover from two months out with a hamstring injury and could earn a place on the bench. Oli Johnson, is back from a loan spell at Yeovil, but Leon Barnett (hamstring), Aaron Wilbraham (back) and Tom Adeyemi (thigh) are out.

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