It’s ‘scary’ letting someone like Jay Emmanuel-Thomas go, admits Mick McCarthy

New Bristol City signing Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.
Photo: Bristol Evening Post

New Bristol City signing Jay Emmanuel-Thomas. Photo: Bristol Evening Post - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy hopes his decision to let the enigmatic Jay Emmanuel-Thomas go doesn’t come back to haunt him.

The 22-year-old cost the Blues £1.1m just two years ago, with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger having been reluctant to let a player with such raw talent go. However, on Monday he departed Portman Road to join recently-relegated League One side Bristol City in a straight swap for Paul Anderson.

Emmanuel-Thomas’ trickery and power belongs in the top-flight, but his wild inconsistency – which saw both Paul Jewell and McCarthy pulling out their hair – has seen him drop into the third tier.

In Anderson, the Blues have replaced him with a player who will work his socks off – a quality that McCarthy has always expected as an absolute minimum from his players. Asked if it was a hard decision to let Emmanuel-Thomas leave, the Blues boss said: “No, I made him available at the end of last season so it was hardly a difficult one was it? I wish him well, but I thought it was a good swap for me.

“I just don’t think Jay’s fulfilled all his potential at our place. It’s always scary letting someone like him go because he might do it elsewhere, but we’ll see.”

Anderson played the opening 45 minutes of Ipswich’s 2-1 pre-season friendly win on Wednesday night, providing the assist for Daryl Murphy’s opener with two deft touches in the box.

“He’s a clever player,” said McCarthy. “I’m really delighted to get him. He can play both wings, drifts into the middle and is a handful when he does that. He’s someone I’ve always liked.”

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The Blues boss’ priority is now to sign some defenders, with Tottenham’s Bongani Khumalo and released Southampton man Dan Seaborne currently on trial.

He said: “I’m getting calls about lots of players that people want to push on me, but I just keep telling them that I need defenders.

“That’s quite clear because we’ve got five defenders – Elliott (Hewitt), Cressie (Aaron Cresswell), Tyrone Mings and my two stalwart centre-backs (Tommy Smith and Luke Chambers). I need some more.”