It’s time our keepers were for keeps, says Mick McCarthy

Jason Brown

Jason Brown

IPSWICH Town boss Mick McCarthy says the club’s keepers need to be for keeps next season.

With Stephen Henderson having been recalled from his loan spell by parent club West Ham last week, Scott Loach will return between the sticks to face Leeds United at Portman Road tomorrow.

Arran Lee-Barrett – out-of-contract this summer – will be promoted to the bench, with experienced free agent Jason Brown having been brought in until the end of the season to act as third choice.

It’s yet another, rather panicked, short-term addition to the goalkeeping ranks at the Suffolk club, with the likes of David Stockdale, Alex McCarthy, Richard Wright and Asmir Begovic all very much temporary measures in recent times.

Town have used 18 different keepers over the last 11 seasons. And that is something that McCarthy – who missed out to rivals Norwich when trying to sign Lee Camp from Nottingham Forest in January – is keen to address when looks to build his own squad this summer.

“It’s vital we get a more settled goalkeeper situation,” said the Blues boss. “I was trying to sign a keeper in the window who would be our keeper. Then it would have been a case of let them all fight for the number one spot.

“In the end I was fortunate that West Ham let Stephen Henderson come back (for a second loan spell).”

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The Blues are currently four points above the Championship relegation zone with eight games to play. After hosting Leeds tomorrow, they travel to Millwall on Monday.

“I have no worries about playing Loachy again because he was terrific when he played at the start of the year,” said McCarthy.

“Actually, Loach was unlucky because he played so well when he came back in.

He kept two clean sheets, against Cardiff (0-0 away) and Middlesbrough (4-0 at home), then he hurt his thumb, in training, Hendo comes back and keeps six clean sheets in nine.”

Loach has conceded 27 goals in 17 appearances following his arrival from Watford last summer, with many fans keen to see the 24-year-old – who grew up passionately supporting the club – given the chance to establish himself in the side.