Ipswich Town defender hails skipper and manager’s influence during sticky spell

Tommy Smith and Luke Chambers embrace at the end of the Ipswich Town v Bolton Wanderers (Championshi

Tommy Smith and Luke Chambers embrace at the end of the Ipswich Town v Bolton Wanderers (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 03 November 2015. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town defender Tommy Smith has hailed the influence of manager Mick McCarthy and captain Luke Chambers as the Blues look to continue their upturn in form at bottom side Rotherham United, on Saturday.

McCarthy has come under pressure from supporters in recent weeks, Town having won just once in 10 games prior to Tuesday night’s 2-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers, and could have easily directed his anger towards his under-performing players.

Chambers, meanwhile, is enjoying a good run of form, having been criticised in some quarters, despite the centre-half playing out of position at right-back.

Smith feels the duo are integral to the team spirit that brought so much success last season, and is hoping that similar good fortune is on its way back.

Smith, often made a scapegoat for the team’s poor performances under previous bosses, Roy Keane and Paul Jewell, said of McCarthy: “The gaffer calls us in as individuals and as a team and tells us where we ought to do better as a back four.

“Some managers wouldn’t give you that helping hand, they would just have a go at you, but the gaffer gives us constructive criticism and we look to improve that way.

“You need to be confident ahead of games and if you are always treading on eggshells, you will never get back to the level of performance you want.”

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Smith has been an ever-present for Town in the league this season, but has suffered some tough spells recently, Town shipping three goals without reply in the defeat at Hull and falling to a disappointing Jordan Rhodes-inspired, 2-0 defeat at Blackburn Rovers.

But McCarthy has kept faith with the New Zealand international, as well as Chambers, who has found it tough on the odd occasion against pacy wingers.

“I think he has done really well, it’s not his natural position and he is still growing into the role,” Smith explained.

“He is getting better and better, had a couple of great games on Saturday and Tuesday, and I hope that continues.”

Chambers was indeed excellent against Bolton as Town recorded a second successive clean sheet, the Blues having got back to basics and being hard to beat.

“Luke would rather be playing centre-half but he is one of those players who will play anywhere and doesn’t moan,” Smith added.

“He’s the skipper of the club, is always in a chirpy mood and is a brilliant character to have around the place.”

Get involved in all the discussion ahead of the Blues trip to Rotherham, with Match Centre

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