Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy doesn’t rule himself out of the running for Aston Villa job

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy has chosen not to rule himself out of the running for the vacant Aston Villa job.

The Blues boss is third favourite with many bookies to replace Remi Garde at the rock-bottom Premier League outfit behind the out-of-work duo of Nigel Pearson and David Moyes.

When the above was put to him ahead of Town’s Championship game at Wolves tomorrow afternoon, McCarthy replied: “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 like when you leave a club and go back. I think I’ll get a pretty good reception at Wolves on Saturday when I go back.

“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.

“Yes, it is flattering. If the remit is for somebody who gets teams promoted then I’ve got a good CV for that haven’t I? But my focus is here.”

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Asked if he was ruling himself out of the running, he paused before replying: “I’m going to Wolves this weekend and I want to win, that’s what I want to do.”

McCarthy led both Sunderland and Wolves to Championship titles and has overseen three-and-a-half years of steady progress at Portman Road, first steering the team away from a relegation battle and then masterminding league finishes of ninth and sixth.

All of that has been achieved while stabilising the club behind the scenes and on a minimal transfer budget, but the recent 1-0 home defeat to Rotherham has seen fans’ criticism about style of play intensify.

“Those that are unhappy can join the queue and get right to the back of it because I’m at the front of it,” said McCarthy, his side just four points adrift of the play-off places with eight games to go.

“All I can say is, I don’t intentionally play like that and the players don’t intentionally play like that. For the next eight games we’ll be trying to play in the manner and the fashion of the games when we’ve been cheered off.”

He added: “You’ve known me now for nearly four years and I’ve never once backed down from a challenge, whether we are bottom of the league or trying to get in the play-offs.”