Ipswich Town target a versatile defender, but Mick McCarthy won’t be drawn on Jordan McGhee bid reports

Hearts' Jordan McGhee (left).

Hearts' Jordan McGhee (left). - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy admits he would still like to add a versatile defender to his squad, but refused to be drawn on reports that the club has made a bid for Hearts teenager Jordan McGhee.

According to widespread reports north of the border, Town have had two bids turned down for the Scotland Under-21 international. The most recent bid was reportedly £250,000, with Hearts said to be after at least £500,000 for the highly-rated 19-year-old – a player who can operate at right-back or centre-back.

“We’re a bit thin on the ground with defenders to be honest with you, so if I could get a versatile defender from somewhere who could play left-back and centre-half, or right-back and centre-half, cover a couple of positions, that’s the sort of player I’d be looking for,” said McCarthy, speaking at this lunchtime’s pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s Championship opener at Brentford.

Asked specifically about McGhee, he replied: “He’s somebody elses’ player and I don’t talk about them.”

Meanwhile, the Blues boss says he’ll have no qualms about handing 17-year-old right-back Josh Emmanuel his debut at Griffin Park on Saturday with Jonny Parr a confirmed absentee.

“He’s not fit, he’s still carrying his thigh injury that he picked up in one of the pre-season friendlies,” McCarthy said regarding the Norwegian full-back.”

Christophe Berra is suspended following his red card in the play-off semi-finals against Norwich at the end of last season, meaning captain Luke Chambers will move inside to partner Tommy Smith in central defence.

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With new signing Jonas Knudsen set to make his debut at left-back, academy graduate Emmanuel – who has impressed in pre-season – looks the prime candidate for the right-back slot, the only other option being Cole Skuse.

“I’ll have no qualms about playing Josh Emmanuel,” said Mccarthy. “Playing him doesn’t worry me at all, he’ll be fine.”

Outlining what he likes about the full-back, he said: “His attitude, for one. The pace and power of him, nobody’s going to bully him physically because in this league you can get done if you’re not physically ready. Well, he’s all of that.

“Emotionally ready? Well, if he plays we’ll find out. Technically ready? I think he’s certainly got good ability, but he’s got to work on that, the understanding of the game and defending.

“I think he’s done really well in the games.”

Everybody else is fit aside from Luke Hyam, who is sidelined for around three months having undergone knee surgery earlier in the summer.