'There are no excuses' - McGreal on televised FA Cup clash at Barrow
- Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Town interim manager John McGreal says his team must embrace the pressure of a terrestrial TV audience when taking on Barrow in an FA Cup second replay at Holker Street tomorrow night.
The Blues are making a 640-mile round trip to Cumbria to take on a team 30 places lower than them in the pyramid due to the fact the two teams played out a goalless at Portman Road 10 days ago.
Paul Cook was sacked as manager within hours of that result, with ITV subsequently opting to broadcast the rematch to a primetime audience (7.45pm ko).
Without doubt, the vast majority of those tuning in will be hoping to see an upset just like the one Town were on the end of back in January 2017 when Mick McCarthy's men were dumped out of the FA Cup third round by then non-league side Lincoln City live on BBC One.
“It’s FA Cup, it’s on TV, there’s going to be a little bit of noise surrounding the game, but we’ve just got to be focussed and get the job done," said McGreal, who doesn't know if this will be his final game at the helm.
“I’m sure some of our players want to play in the Premier League. If you can get there then you play on TV every week.
“So they’ve got to make the most of it. It’s nice that it’s on TV because it gives them an opportunity to show what they’re about. They can’t be fearful. I think it’s good. It puts the club's name in lights again. All we’ve got to do now is get that win."
Town have been given an away ticket allocation of 662 for this game at a 5,400 capacity ground. Barrow's average attendance this season has been around 2,800.
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“We know there's a lot of travelling and we know it’s probably going to be wet and windy," said McGreal. "It’s a tight pitch that didn’t look in the best condition after their game on Saturday.
“But there are no excuses whatsoever. We’ve got to improve again from Saturday (spirited 1-1 draw at Wigan). That was a step in the right direction but we need more.
“We’re just going to be thoroughly professional. It’s up to our lads to deliver and get the job done."
On Barrow, who only recently returned to the Football League following a 38-year absence, McGreal said: “I know Coops (Mark Cooper) well and the way he gets his team playing. I came up against his Forest Green sides when I was at Colchester. He likes to do things the right way. He always has done. It’s going to be a good footballing game.
“They kept a clean sheet against us, a League One side, and they’ve just kept a clean sheet against Swindon (2-0 home win on Saturday), who are in the play-off positions in League Two. So you know they’ve got a bit of strength in the back line and throughout the team.
“That win on Saturday will give them a huge confidence boost.
“But as much as we put a lot of hard work into studying the opposition, it’s really all about us and what we do as a team."
The winners of this match will then travel to struggling Championship side Barnsley in the third round on January 8.
"Obviously there’s a history with Barnsley and Ipswich in the Play-Off Final going back 20-odd years when we played at Wembley and got to the Premier League," said McGreal, who started in that game for Ipswich.
“But before that we’ve got a tough, tough game to try and sort out prior to even thinking about Barnsley in the first week of January.
“We have to earn the right to go and play Barnsley."