McGreal on whether he might still be in charge for Sunderland visit

Town caretaker manager John McGreal being interviewed ahead of the game.

Ipswich Town interim manager John McGreal. - Credit: Steve Waller -

Ipswich Town interim manager John McGreal says he is not thinking about the prospect of taking charge of Saturday's big League One clash with Sunderland at Portman Road.

The Blues sacked Paul Cook 10 days ago and McGreal has since overseen two games - a 2-0 loss at Charlton and a 1-1 draw at Wigan.

Tomorrow night he is set to be in the dugout again, for an FA Cup second round replay at Barrow, but whether a new man is appointed by the weekend remains to be seen.

Asked if he had allowed himself to think about leading the team out in front of a bumper crowd at Portman Road, McGreal replied: “No. I was put in as caretaker/interim for a couple of games. All I know is, at this moment in time, I’ve prepped the boys for the game in the FA Cup. That is all I know at this moment in time. 

“I never ever get ahead of myself. It’s always game-by-game. The next game just so happens to be an FA Cup replay, so that’s all we’re focussing on. 

“Honestly, I’m really not thinking about Sunderland. Obviously you hear about the ticket sales (28,000+) and how many thousands are going to be there. It’s going to be a brilliant event for the club and the fans. It’s a big game. 

“But mine, Reg (Rene Gilmartin) and Kieron's (Dyer) focus is purely on the next game. And the next game for us is the replay. 

“That is just as important as the Sunderland game really because we want to get through to the third round."

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He added: “I’d been in the door a couple of days, the manager then left, I took the interim role, we had a real tough game at Charlton and the boys, as you could see, were low on confidence after that game. 

“All we’ve tried to do is lift the players, put on good training sessions and try and bring a bit noise to help get the players back to doing what they do best."

Former Millwall and Cardiff manager Neil Harris is the current bookies' favourite to be Town's next permanent boss, with his former Millwall team-mate Marc Bircham second on the list.

Reflecting on Saturday's spirited comeback point at Wigan, McGreal said: “Some of the performances on Saturday were very, very good. We limited Wigan, who have been in great form, to a couple of shots. 

“I think we ticked all the boxes in terms of the stats – final third entries, penalty box entries, shots on goal. You can see and sense a little bit of a change happening in training. 

“Hopefully now they can kick on again and keep playing how we finished the game on Saturday.  

“When players are fearful they don’t play to their best, so we’re just trying to take the shackles off and get them enjoying the game of football.  

“There’s nothing better than playing football for a big club. They’ve got to embrace it."

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