Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy admits transfer bids keep getting knocked back as his squad is reduced to ‘bare bones’

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy at Portman Road for the FA Cup match with Lincoln City. Photo: PA

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy at Portman Road for the FA Cup match with Lincoln City. Photo: PAGEPIX LTD

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says his attempts to bring in fresh faces continue to be knocked back and that his squad is ‘down to bare bones’ ahead of tomorrow’s Championship visit of fellow-strugglers Blackburn Rovers.

Daryl Murphy was sold to Newcastle last August, Luke Varney was recently let go at the end of his short-term deal, while Brett Pitman (calf) had joined David McGoldrick (hamstring) in being injured.

That leaves just Freddie Sears and the formally out-of-favour Leon Best as the only available senior strikers at present, with England Under-18 international Ben Morris as back-up.

Skipper Luke Chambers and midfielder Cole Skuse are available again after missing last Saturday’s 2-2 home draw with non-league side Lincoln City in the FA Cup Third Round, but left-back Myles Kenlock (calf) is still out, as are long-term absentees Tommy Smith, Luke Hyam, Teddy Bishop and Giles Coke.

McCarthy has made no secret of the fact that he wants to add some fresh faces to his thin-on-the-ground and low-on-confidence squad before the January transfer window shuts, but admits no deals are close to completion.

“No,” he said. “There are none in the building. There won’t be anybody in before tomorrow now and if we do get someone they won’t be available to play Tuesday (at Lincoln) because you need to have been in the building before the first game to play in the replay.

“We’ll have to wait and see next week. Anything we’ve attempted to do has been knocked back.

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“It’s a bit like bidding for a house. You ring up, some say ‘we’ll think about it’, some say ‘he’s not for sale’, some say ‘Foxtrot Oscar’, some say ‘we’ll discuss it with the board, come back’. And generally the answer always ends up ‘no’. That’s what’s happened so far.”

On reports that Town have had a £1.5m bid for Preston’s Jordan Hugill turned down, he said: “I asked Simon (Grayson) about him after they played us here, there’s nothing further than that.”

Is he hopeful a deal will get done?

“Yes. If I haven’t got hope I wouldn’t have anything would I?” replied McCarthy, who confirmed there are currently bids in place. “I’ve always got to be hopeful that one of them will happen.”

Is it mission impossible for him at present?

“Not at all,” he replied. “But l if you’re in a Formula One race and you’re driving a Formula One car then you’ll be better off than if you’re in a Mondeo. Money governs everything in football.

“I’m not for one minute comparing us to a Mondeo by the way, or me as a manager. There are clubs really investing big in this league though and it’s made it tough. This is as hard a season as I’ve ever seen in this league.

“There are teams throwing money around which is ridiculous in this league. Some of the wages I’ve been hearing about doesn’t compare to what we’re doing. We’re doing it a certain way and we’ll continue to do that.

“Whether it’s tough or not, I’ll keep smiling at everybody.”

Asked if there was any interest in any of his players, the Blues boss replied: “I think there may be. I’ve not had direct calls, but the usual. Look, a lot of agents are trying to drum up business. That’s their job and they now only get two windows to do it. There’s no firm interest, none that I would even consider anyway.”

On the speculation that Wolves are interested in captain Chambers, McCarthy said: “I don’t know whether there is any interest there. That’s probably more to do with the fact that he hasn’t been offered a new contract of yet and perhaps the agent is putting it around. If that’s the case, fair dos.

“The club has an option on him for next season so that ultimately will be down to Marcus (Evans) and the club as to whether they take that option up.

“I’ve spoken to Chambo and he knows he’s important to me as a captain.”

With Pitman a big doubt for tomorrow’s game, is this an opportunity for Best?

“He got in the team, he did okay, but if I’m being honest he didn’t rip it up and if he had he’d still be in the team,” said McCarthy. “There can’t be a better opportunity now for him with the players that are out. Opportunity knocks.”