McCarthy on Smith the unsung hero, Murphy’s lack of goals, Birmingham and the Championship

Mick McCarthy is concerned during the time added on at Leeds

Mick McCarthy is concerned during the time added on at Leeds

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy tackles a range of topics ahead of tonight’s clash against Birmingham City.

Tommy Smith with a header from a corner during the second half at Preston

Tommy Smith with a header from a corner during the second half at Preston

Mick on - Tommy Smith, the unsung hero?

“He is. It was great that he scored the winner the other night.

“The defence had been given a bit of a battering off the pitch after being given a bit of a battering on the pitch last Friday.

“It’s a team game though and they shouldn’t have taken all the blame.

“They’d been feeling a bit sore, so to get a clean sheet was brilliant.”

Mick on - getting a reaction from the loss at Reading

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“You were all asking me the questions on Monday – ‘do I expect a reaction?’ Of course I did.

“The surprise is not the Leeds performance and result, the surprise was the Reading performance and result. That’s the surprise. Every other week we have been bang at it.

Daryl Murphy battles to get a cross in past Tendayi Darikwa during the Ipswich Town v Burnley match

Daryl Murphy battles to get a cross in past Tendayi Darikwa during the Ipswich Town v Burnley match at Portman Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, UK on 18 {month name} 2015. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

“We have a standard that we set and that game we were just below-par. It happens.

“What’s bizarre is that I’d have taken two points from those two games. If we’d have drawn at Reading and drawn at Leeds I’d have been sat here happy.

“Well we got three! How bonkers is that? We’re better off than what we’d have taken before we set off.”

Mick on - Daryl Murphy itching to get off the mark

“Of course he is. He scored 27 last season. Sometimes it happens for you, it clicks. It doesn’t just happen all the time though. You don’t always just pick up where you left off.

“You’ve got to get yourself to a level of fitness and sharpness, that hard-nosed week-in, week-out playing level.

“There’s only really Freddie (Sears) who’s had that so far this season in terms of someone who’s played all the games and been bang at it. Then he took a little knock.”

Birmingham City's Demarai Gray (left) and Nottingham Forest's Michael Mancienne battle for the ball

Birmingham City's Demarai Gray (left) and Nottingham Forest's Michael Mancienne battle for the ball during the Sky Bet Championship match at St. Andrews, Birmingham. - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Mick on - Gary Rowett’s Birmingham

“He was one of my candidates for manager of the season in our league. He was never going to get it, because the manager who wins the league tends to get it and Eddie Howe deserved it, but I always look at an unsung one who comes in and does an unbelievable job. Gary certainly did that.

“From a team that looked like getting relegated they finished safely very early on and they’ve started with that momentum. I met him last season, had a good chat with him, and I can understand why his teams are how they are. I thought he was a good guy.

“They’ve been very solid and they’ve got (Clayton) Donaldson up front who got 18 goals last season and was much sought after in the summer.

“With Demarai Gary and (David) Cotterill they’ve got a real threat up front, but they’re also a real solid unit that doesn’t give too many chances away.”

Mick on - the prospect of going second in the Championship

“Oh yeah, boom! Last Friday night we could have gone top. That didn’t do us any favours did it?!

“Let’s just see if we can win. We’d love to be second, but it’s where we end up in May which is the main thing.”

See here for everything you need to know ahead of Ipswich v Birmingham

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