Fans want Scott Loach and Elliott Hewitt to retain their places – but Mick McCarthy has already warned he won’t be swayed by public opinion
PLEASE stick with our own players.
That’s the message from Ipswich Town fans to manager Mick McCarthy ahead of Saturday’s trip to Championship table-toppers Cardiff City.
The Blues boss – who recently warned supporters he would not be swayed by popular opinion – rested a number of his key players for last Saturday’s FA Cup third round match at Aston Villa following a gruelling Christmas period.
And the likes of Scott Loach, Elliott Hewitt and Michael Chopra all took their chance with impressive performances as the Premier League hosts – including millions of pounds worth of talent – were forced to come-from-behind to snatch a late 2-1 victory.
McCarthy had named a virtually unchanged side throughout the previous six matches though, with 10 points claimed from a possible 18.
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He now has to decide whether to reinstate the likes of loanees Stephen Henderson and Bradley Orr or give another chance to keeper Loach – who was ironically dropped following two mistakes in the reverse fixture against Cardiff – and highly-rated teenage right-back Hewitt, who furthered his reputation with an unfazed display at Villa Park.
When asked who should play in goal at the weekend, 77% of supporters polled during an EADT webchat yesterday lunchtime said Loach, while 62% voted in favour of Hewitt starting ahead of Orr.
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Saturday is the last match that Henderson is available for before his loan spell from West Ham ends, with the Irishman keen to extend his stay after several impressive performances. Orr is still available for three more matches before his scheduled return to parent club Blackburn Rovers.
Fans still felt that Orr’s stay at Town should be extended (61%), but they were less keen on Henderson sticking around (40%).
The trip to Wales is also the last match that midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker is available for before his short-term contract expires. Seventy-six of fans polled said they did not think he had done enough to earn a new deal, but McCarthy has said that he’d like to keep the experienced former Aston Villa and West Ham player at Portman Road, while the EADT understands that owner Marcus Evans is currently negotiating a new deal with the 28-year-old.
Reo-Coker has started the last two matches in the absence of an ill Andy Drury, with McCarthy also facing a selection headache in that area of his team at the weekend. Guirane N’Daw has been the main man in recent weeks, while local lad Luke Hyam did his chances no harm with a typically tenacious display at Villa Park.
The Blues boss has plenty of striker options, with new loan signings David McGoldrick and Aaron McLean competing alongside Chopra, Daryl Murphy, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Jason Scotland for a starting berth.
The majority of those polled said they would like McCarthy to stick with the same front pairing that started against Villa – Chopra and Murphy (30%) – while an overwhelming 96% said that Town should try and sign recent loanee front man DJ Campbell on a permanent basis during the transfer window.
– To catch up on the full ITFC webchat, visit: http://www.eadt.co.uk/home/live-chat