Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Michael Chopra could still have Ipswich Town future, says Mick McCarthy

Michael Chopra

Michael Chopra - Credit: Archant

Mick McCarthy has handed transfer-listed duo Michael Chopra and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas a Portman Road lifeline.

The duo have been told to find new clubs but have yet to attract any serious interest from elsewhere and could be in contention for the Blues’ first pre-season friendly, at Shelbourne, on July 6.

Chopra’s off-field problems have overshadowed a modest return of 19 goals in 82 games, during his two seasons in Suffolk, while the talented but inconsistent Emmanuel-Thomas has proved a source of frustration for both McCarthy and his predeccessor, Paul Jewell.

Off-loading the pair would give the Blues boss more room to manouvre in the transfer market, but McCarthy refused to freeze out any of his players: “We’re still paying them. I don’t do any of that bombing them into the stiffs (reserves). What’s the point? If they’re here they’ve got to be earning their keep,” said McCarthy.

“And earning their keep is being as fit as possible and being motivated and they only get that if they’ve got a chance, and they’ve got to be given that if they’re here.”

Meanwhile, McCarthy is looking forward to having £1.5m striker Paul Taylor, pictured, back in his plans.

The 25-year-old former Peterborough man broke his foot last September, in just his third appearance and has not played since, but returned to pre-season training on Monday.

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“Throughout the close season I had the update on him and a couple of weeks ago he had his boots on for the first time,” added the Town boss.

“I think that was a bit of a thrill for him because you get to the stage where you stagnate a little bit when you’re recuperating.

“Then you get little breakthroughs and that was another one for him, having been wearing training shoes all the time and then kicking a ball.

“It’s different once the squad starts and you start training and there’s physical contact. He’ll be ready for the start of the season, I’m sure.”