Ipswich Town boss surprised Derby County are only fifth, given their spending power

Freddie Sears tries to get on the ball after his shot was blocked by George Thorne during the Ipswic

Freddie Sears tries to get on the ball after his shot was blocked by George Thorne during the Ipswich Town v Derby County (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 19 December 2015. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Mick McCarthy wants to be labelled a party-pooper one last time this season, when his team travel to Derby County tomorrow.

The Blues, who have failed to make the play-offs, can have a say on the Rams’ final league position as they get ready to face Hull in the end-of season lottery.

Should Derby win and the Tigers lose at home to Rotherham United, the East Midlands outfit will jump up a place to fourth and crucially face Steve Bruce’s side at home in the second leg of the play-offs.

Not that McCarthy thinks Derby should be in that position, given their outlay on transfer fees and wages this season.

“We all make predictions and I guess that’s why the bookies make a lot of money, although I am not allowed to bet and I am not a gambler,” said McCarthy, whose side battled to a 0-0 draw at promotion-chasing Middlesbrough 13 days ago.

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“I thought when we played them (Derby) they looked like a really strong team and we gave them a fright but we could just not score and they nicked one, winning 1-0.

“I thought they would be the pick of the bunch, and I was more surprised when Paul Clement (former manager) left, but they have finished on a high now.

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“We will go there and try and upset the applecart.”

Record signing from Norwich City, Bradley Johnson, could return after injury and help bolster an already-impressive looking squad that includes established Championship performers such as Tom Ince, Darren Bent, Chris Martin, Nick Blackman, and Will Hughes, not all of whom are guaranteed a first-team spot in tomorrow’s game at the i-Pro.

“They have got a hell of a squad and I could not believe they finished eighth last season,” added McCarthy.

“With the squad they have and the money they have invested, they should be in the top-six.”

Given Derby’s financial clout and other big spenders in the top six, some would say a seventh or eighth-placed finish for Ipswich could be perceived as success this season.

Skipper Luke Chambers certainly doesn’t think it’s been all doom and gloom.

“The club has come a long way since Mick has taken over and we have got to look back and say we have finished seventh or eighth and the teams above us have all spent money, which might be the reason they are fighting for promotion,” explained the Town skipper.

“We have had a good season, but not reached the heights we expected, and sometimes you have to hold your hands up.”

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