Mick McCarthy: This is my best Ipswich Town squad yet
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Mick McCarthy believes he has assembled the best squad of his near five-year tenure as Ipswich Town manager and is looking forward to having a few selection headaches after this weekend’s international break.
The Blues boss has battled a crippling injury list which has at times been close to double figures during the opening two months of the season, but still been able to oversee six wins from the opening 10 Championship games.
Summer signings Joe Garner, Martyn Waghorn, Bersant Celina and Dominic Iorfa have all added some much-needed dynamism, as have breakthrough youngsters Flynn Downes and Tristan Nydam.
Tom Adeyemi and Adam Webster have recently returned to action after lengthy lay-offs, while Emyr Huws, Teddy Bishop and Tommy Smith could all be back in contention for the trip to third-placed Sheffield United a week on Saturday.
“There are 14/15 players doing it at the moment and there is not much competition for places,” said McCarthy. “It’s not the biggest squad, but they are all competing to play. It will be interesting when the likes of Emyr, Webbo and Tommy are available again.
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“You just hope that when they are all back fit that the same team spirit, camaraderie and encouragement of each other remains the same.
“I think it will because they are good lads, but it does change the dynamic slightly when you’ve got 22 players and some are having to sit in the stand.”
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He continued: “It’s always better for a manager to have that sort of selection headache. I sincerely hope increased competition gets even better performances out of them. You don’t want them anxious, but you do want them motivated to play well.”
Town skipper Luke Chambers recently hailed this as the best squad he has been part of since arriving at the club in 2012, with McCarthy – who guided the Blues to the play-offs in 2014/15 – admitting “I would have to concur”.
In-form striker David McGoldrick was withdrawn during last Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat to Bristol City with a tight hamstring, but has still joined up with the Republic of Ireland squad to be assessed by their medical team ahead of crucial World Cup qualifiers against Moldova (home on Friday) and Wales (away on Monday).
Luke Hyam and Andre Dozzell (both knee) are long-term absentees.