Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy hopes Aston Villa’s big-money recruits won’t click as a team today

Mick McCarthy and Steve Bruce share a joke when managers of Wolves and Sunderland respectively.

Mick McCarthy and Steve Bruce share a joke when managers of Wolves and Sunderland respectively. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy both admires and slightly envies his Aston Villa counterpart Steve Bruce.

McCarthy, 58, and Bruce, 56, were both no-nonsense centre-backs who played at the highest level. Both have since guided two different clubs to second-tier promotion and had longevity in the cut-throat world of football management.

“I thought he was an excellent appointment after they’d been everywhere looking for the sexy options,” said McCarthy, referring to Villa’s decision to turn to ex-Hull boss Bruce following the brief tenures of Tim Sherwood, Remi Garde and Roberto Di Matteo.

“I guess me and Brucey aren’t too sexy, but we know what we’re doing and have done good jobs wherever we’ve been.

“For all the next Eddie Howes, Brendan Rodgers and David Wagners, the good, young bright ones we all respect, there are a lot of us senior ones doing alright as well. Experience, know-how and knowledge goes a long way in this game.”

Villa are still unbeaten at home in what is their first season outside of the top-flight since 1987/88, but they are currently on a seven-game winless run. Bruce splashed out more than £20m on seven new recruits during the January transfer window, recouping almost half that by off-loading four key men.

McCarthy’s seven mid-season signings, by comparison, came at a combined cost of £110k.

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“I’ve never gone into a club where I’ve had a £13m striker and I can replace him with a £10m striker. It’s been more like ‘we’ll get this one who’s been on loan out the door and we’ll bring a free transfer in!’”, joked McCarthy.

“I’ve no idea what I would do in Brucey’s position. Give me the opportunity and I’ll let you know!

“He’s gone and got (Conor) Hourihane, (Henri) Lansbury, (James) Bree, (Scott) Hogan, (Neil) Taylor... They are all good players, but they have to settle into a team. I’m hoping that won’t be the case this weekend and that he’ll need a little bit more time to bed them all in.”

He added: “It’s hard when you come down from the top-flight because there needs to be a lot of change. Look at Wolves after I left, they went down and the down again. You can’t just turn it around straight away, but Steve will turn it around there.”