Lay off my back four, says Ipswich Town boss
- Credit: PA
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy has launched a staunch defence of his under-fire back four ahead of the Blues’ crunch clash at home to Bolton Wanderers tonight.
Town have conceded 12 goals in their last half a dozen games and have generally let their defensive standards slip since the turn of the year.
Up to the home defeat against Derby, Ipswich had conceded only 22 goals in 24 games, which meant they were letting in a goal every 98 minutes on average. Starting from the Derby game – when Tommy Smith’s mistake let in Chris Martin for the winner – the Blues have conceded 21 goals in 13 league games, a goal every 56 minutes over that period.
Despite that, McCarthy dismissed calls for him to tinker with the Town rearguard, labelling his defence as ‘brilliant’ for the most part this season.
“Our back four has been almost ever-present and they have been brilliant,” said McCarthy.
“I don’t think they deserve too much derision from anyone.
“Two corner kicks were ultimately our downfall at Middlesbrough on Saturday and they were not down to the back four.
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“They cost us and it makes us look like chumps, like we don’t prepare, but we do.
“We are very thorough and it was not like us but we ended up chasing the game and caught at the back and suddenly it’s the back four (that’s the problem). It wasn’t.
“They are a big part of the reason we have done so well this season.”
He added: “When we play well as we have done this season, I don’t believe in chopping and changing, because I don’t think the players know where they stand then. There has to be a good reason, it may be someone is tired, or carrying an injury, but when they are fit and firing and playing well, they deserve to be in my team.”
Goalkeeper Dean Gerken was hoping for an extended run in the team having made his comeback against Brentford, but was stretchered off conceding the first goal at Middlesbrough after a heavy collision with goalscorer Daniel Ayala.
To make matters worse, his wife was in hospital giving birth and saw the incident unfold.
“He’s fine. He was in overnight for observations having been knocked out and, of course, there was no one at home to look after him as his wife was in hospital giving birth,” explained McCarthy
“She paid £40 to watch the game there and saw her husband carried off in the first five minutes, which is not the ideal way to spend the first day with your newborn.”
David McGoldrick will also miss out, the attacker having yet to recover from the thigh injury he suffered in the defeat at Rotherham.
“He felt it on Friday in training. We hope it’s just a little setback, but it’s enough that he wasn’t able to train today (Monday) and he won’t be available for the Bolton game.”
Meanwhile, Teddy Bishop has been named in the England Under-19 squad for the European Championships Elite round games next month.
They travel to France and face Denmark on March 26, Azerbaijan two days later and finally the hosts on March 31.
The winners of the group will qualify for the finals in Greece in July.