Is Ipswich Town job turning into a three-horse race?

IT remains to be seen whether Mick McCarthy will be the new manager of Ipswich Town after reports last night that he had signed a three-year contract are believed to be premature.

There is clearly some delay over announcing McCarthy, though he remains the favourite and could be installed before Saturday’s trip to Birmingham City.

One can only speculate on the reasons for this, whether there is a stumbling block over McCarthy’s requests or whether the club is still hedging their bets at the moment.

Until the appointment is announced, the names of Harry Redknapp and Ian Holloway refuse to go away.

Redknapp admitted yesterday that he had not been offered the Town job but the ex-Tottenham boss, a good friend of Blues owner Marcus Evans, was less convincing than when he dismissed Blackburn Rovers’ links as “absolute nonsense”.

Redknapp said: “Ipswich is a good club – I have not been offered the job at Ipswich.

“Teams (like Ipswich and Blackburn) have won championships in my lifetime, they (Ipswich) had great days under Sir Alf Ramsey, Sir Bobby Robson and George Burley.

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“There is nothing happening at Ipswich, I have not had contact with Ipswich at the moment.”

Another option would be for Redknapp to take on a different role ‘upstairs’ with his backroom team of Kevin Bond and Joe Jordan handling the day-to-day running.

Then there is Blackpool boss Ian Holloway who is understood to have spent time away from the club this week.

Like Redknapp, Holloway was heavily linked with the Blackburn managerial position but former player Henning Berg is the heavy favourite for that particular vacancy.

Holloway is believed to be questioning whether he wants a new challenge after a heady few years at Bloomfield Road.

He has always spoken in gushing terms of Ipswich and, while he has a release clause of around �400,000, Town chief executive Simon Clegg admitted last week that compensation wouldn’t be a problem for the right man.