Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says it might not be easy to accommodate Bersant Celina
Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says finding a place in his starting XI for exciting talent Bersant Celina may not be easy.
The Manchester City loanee marked his 21st birthday with a stunning consolation goal in last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at QPR and then confidently predicted it was ‘time for me now’ following an illness-hit start to life with the Blues.
Close to 1,000 supporters took part in an EADT online poll this week asking if Celina should now be handed his full Championship debut in tomorrow’s game against rock-bottom Bolton Wanderers at Portman Road (3pm ko) and an overwhelming 97% voted ‘yes’.
Quizzed if the Kosovan international would be unleashed against the Trotters, McCarthy replied: “You wouldn’t expect me to tell you that would you?
“It is a bit tricky when he scores on Saturday, I’m expecting him to play 90 minutes (for the Under-23s on Monday), but he can’t train until Thursday because he’s got a dead leg.
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“Coming on and doing what he did enhances his chances, but being injured until Thursday hinders them.”
He continued: “It is also difficult because we’ve had (three strikers) on the pitch in Waggy (Martyn Waghorn), Didz (David McGoldrick) and Garns (Joe Garner).
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“And I think Bersant’s position that he played at Luton (up front with McGoldrick in a 2-0 Carabao Cup win) might be the best one for us when he’s got a bit of a free role behind the striker.
“He didn’t come here as that. He came as a wide left (player) and scored his goal from there on Saturday. It depends how we’re playing as to how easy it is to get him in the team.”
McCarthy started four strikers in the games against Millwall, Brentford and Fulham, before dropping Freddie Sears at Loftus Road last weekend.
“Freddie is fantastic,” said the Blues boss. “He runs in behind teams, he stretches teams and causes problems – but is yet to score a goal. I can’t be accused of being fickle there because he’s played far more games than he’s not.
“Do you know what, I’ve got to try and play a team that’s well balanced as supposed to having all the so-called best players in the team.
“I’ve had square pegs in round holes. The team’s done well, but you can’t win games all through the season with all four centre forwards on the pitch.
“Having your best players on the pitch is about having the best players for the positions that they play in.”
He added: “I would like to develop a strike partnership. If we’ve got Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday and I can play two for one game and two for the next it would be great. There will be times when it might not call for two up front too.”