MANAGER’S REACTION: Mick McCarthy pleased with his fringe players’ efforts as Ipswich Town go out of the FA Cup to Aston Villa

IPSWICH Town manager Mick McCarthy was full of praise for his fringe players after his side lost 2-1 at Aston Villa in the third round of the FA Cup.

Town led through Eric Lichaj’s own goal on the half-hour, but Darren Bent equalised seconds after the restart and Andreas Weimann sealed a comeback win for the Premier League hosts with a fantastic 81st minute header.

“As you can imagine I’m chewing about the goal we conceded straight after half-time, but if you give them the opportunity then they’ve got to the quality. We just gave them that opportunity to be fair.

“We’d sorted that problem out – (Charles) N’Zogbia – in the first half, we’d nullified it and scored, but we just allowed it to happen and it changed the course of the game that goal.

“I was very happy with the overall performance though. First half, one we stopped N’Zogbia playing in behind, I don’t think they got anywhere near us.

“Second-half, once they scored after 45 seconds or whatever it was, it was always going to be tough.

“They were on top for a good part of it, but I still thought we settled down a bit and had a good couple of chances ourselves.

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“In the past we’ve gone on to concede another one and another one – we were getting beat five and six. There’s been a real improvement in that respect. There were plenty of positives and pluses.

“I didn’t particularly want a replay, but I didn’t want to lose. I’d have taken a 90th minute goal and replay. Another game may have got in the way – it’s not going to get in the way now. There’s no point talking about that.”

The Blues boss made six changes to his side, giving keeper Scott Loach a rare start, handing full debuts to Patrick Kisnorbo and Elliott Hewitt, as well as bringing on new boys David McGoldrick and Aaron McLean off the bench.

“I was very pleased with Patrick,” said McCarthy. “He’s not played at that level and intensity for a long time, so it speaks volumes for the way he’s kept himself right and fit.

“David (McGoldrick) looked like he was finding his sea legs for a while – it bounced off him a couple of times – but he created a great chance towards the end. Aaron (McLean) looks a real handful too. I was pleased with their contributions.

“Scott Loach acquitted himself well. You get one opportunity to make a good first impression don’t you? I thought he played well in the game.

“I was also pleased with Elliott Hewitt. The way they were playing, I thought he did particularly well. They put on Agbonlahor against him and that’s a handful for anybody. I was delighted with him. It was pleasing he got through it.”

Meanwhile, McCarthy has not ruled out signing recent loan striker DJ Campbell on a permanent basis from QPR during the transfer window, despite the addition of McGoldrick and McLean.

“We’re still trying to do a permanent deal with DJ,” said the Blues boss. “He’s played against West Brom today though. I’ve wished him well and said we’d still like to sign him. We’ll see what happens.”

– See Monday’s EADT and Ipswich Star for analysis, comment and more reaction.