Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy again among the favourites for Aston Villa vacancy

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy looks at assistant manager Terry Connor. Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy looks at assistant manager Terry Connor. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy is once again among the bookies’ favourites for the vacant Aston Villa job.

The Midlands club yesterday sacked Roberto Di Matteo after just 124 days in the job, the Italian having won just one of his 11 league games in charge. Following 28 years in the top-flight, the recently-relegated club currently find themselves 19th in the Championship table heading into this weekend’s international break.

Steve Bruce, without a club after leaving Hull in the summer, is the overwhelming favourite, while caretaker boss Steve Clarke and Sam Allardyce, out of work after his ill-fated spell in charge of England, are also among the front-runners. McCarthy is not far behind them in the odds though at 16/1.

McCarthy was linked to Villa towards the back end of last season when Remi Garde was sacked. Just a few days earlier, after his side were booed following a 1-0 home defeat to Rotherham, the Blues boss questioned whether ‘maybe people are getting tired of me?’

And, just like when he was linked to the Republic of Ireland job in 2013, McCarthy refused to rule himself out of the running. He said: “Good! It’s interesting isn’t it? Maybe people who are not involved in the club you are at look from the outside and think ‘hmm, he’s doing a good job’.

“It’s always interesting when people mention your name for jobs. I can’t do anything about it. My focus is here.

“But don’t even think I’m not ambitious and I’m just settled here and just want to be doing what I’m doing, just trying to get in the play-offs. I want to get promoted and be in the Premier League again – however that might be.”

The entertainment levels at Portman Road have not improved in the six months since then and supporters once again voiced their frustrations following Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Huddersfield.

Ipswich have scored just four goals in their last 11 matches and McCarthy has been criticised for his safety-first approach to tactics, certain players being seemingly undroppable, having too many round pegs in square holes and stubborn comments such as ‘I’m not going to justify my selection’. His sympathisers point out that the Yorkshireman has been operating on a restricted transfer budget and had to deal with key injuries at key times.

The Blues boss, who is fast-approaching his fourth anniversary in charge at the club, is the 11th longest-serving manager in the top four divisions.

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Along with his assistant, Terry Connor, he signed new long-term deal at Ipswich at the start of this year. Their contracts run until 2018 with the option of a further two years on top of that.

Owner Marcus Evans was certainly not trigger-happy when it came to sacking previous managers Roy Keane and Paul Jewell, and has spoken openly about how much stock he puts in the club’s tradition of sticking with managers for as long as possible.

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