Ipswich Town boss hopes old habits die hard in 2016, ahead of Burnley clash

Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy hopes the new year starts as the previous one ended when the Blues travel to Burnley, tomorrow.

Ipswich will leapfrog the Clarets into fifth place in the Championship with victory at Turf Moor, while another away win could also see McCarthy’s men go up to six points clear of seventh spot.

Town head to Lancashire, third in the Championship’s form table, having picked up 16 points from their last eight games and are the joint-top scorers in the league, away from home.

They are chasing a record sixth, successive away win but face a Clarets team who, despite just two victories in their last eight, are the division’s top home goalscorers and have taken 26 points from a possible 36 on home soil.

Victory tomorrow would complete the double over Sean Dyche’s side and while success will be tough to achieve, the away win at Brighton on Tuesday proved that Town have the capability to beat teams in the top six.

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“I’d take a repeat performance, from Burnley, Middlesbrough, Derby and even the QPR game,” said McCarthy.

“The QPR game was not a good one but we kept going and won through pure belligerence and hard work and endeavour.

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“We went right to the very end and, I might add, we scored two well-conceived goals.

“Both were well finished as I don’t know how Dougy (Jonathan Douglas) got in a position to score that one, but the second one was fantastic. It was a quick throw and a great cross and we have got a full-back (Luke Chambers) 10 yards from goal heading it in.

“I would take the performances we have been showing.”

Meanwhile, McCarthy has hinted at tinkering with his first XI again, as he did at Brighton when Brett Pitman was dropped to the bench and Ainsley Maitland-Niles sat out through injury, Ryan Fraser and Kevin Bru replacing that particular duo.

“It’s great to be able to bring players back and give some of them a rest, otherwise you are whipping the same horses all the time and you end up with injuries,” added McCarthy.

“It’s nice to have quality to be able to change things, like we did on Tuesday, and Ryan Fraser and Kevin Bru coming back does not weaken the team. They actually help tactically with how we set up.”

Michael Duff, Dean Marney (calf) and George Boyd (back) will all fight to return to Burnley’s starting line-up.

However, the Clarets remain without attacking pair Ashley Barnes and Lukas Jutkiewicz (both knee).

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