Luke Chambers’ role at right-back is ‘under no threat’, says Mick McCarthy

Luke Chambers gives a double thumbs up to the travelling fans at Bolton

Luke Chambers gives a double thumbs up to the travelling fans at Bolton - Credit: Archant

Luke Chambers’ role at right-back is ‘under no threat’, says Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy.

Chambers formed a rock-solid central defensive partnership alongside Tommy Smith in the second half of last season, the Blues keeping 12 clean sheets in their final 22 matches.

That all changed just four games into the 2013/14 campaign though.

Teenager Elliott Hewitt – who had stepped up to replace former loanee Richard Stearman at right-back – was dropped, Chambers shifted across to provide more experience at full-back and summer signing Christophe Berra was introduced at centre-back.

Chambers – the team captain now that Carlos Edwards is playing more of a fringe role – has admitted it’s not his favoured position, but his manager believes he’s played a crucial role in a run which has included just two defeats in nine.

“Chambo is great, he’s terrific,” said McCarthy, who has seen his side keep just two clean sheets in 13 league games this season. “I said to both Elliott (Hewitt) and Freddie (Veseli) that those two should have been battling it out for the right-back slot this season, but unfortunately for them Chambo has been better.

“I think it’s been a real testimony to him and his character that he’s gone and played there when he was playing so well at centre-back. As soon as I changed it he will have been thinking ‘does that put my position under threat?’ Well he’s under no threat Chambo because he’s been great.

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“He’s got the captain’s armband, is a really good pro and a really good guy. I like him.”

Hewitt is one of four players who were regulars at the start of the season who subsequently lost their places, with Scott Loach, Jay Tabb and Carlos Edwards also relegated to the bench after narrow defeats to Reading, QPR and Leeds.

Veseli – a summer signing from Manchester United – is yet to make his league bow for the Blues.

“I’ve just spoken to him,” said McCarthy, when asked about the 20-year-old. “I thought him and Elliott would be competing for that right-back slot, but neither of them have performed that well to get Chambo out the team. He’s been different class.

“They have to prove to me that they should be. Freddie just has to bide his time; I’ve got no problem with him, he trains well. He’s played midfield as well and I might give him a go in there at some stage (for the Under-21s) because you never know when I might need him.”