Mick McCarthy drops major team hint after Notts County draw

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy dropped a major hint that the side which started today’s 3-3 pre-season draw at Notts County will be the side which starts the Championship opener at Reading a week today.

The BLues were excellent in the first half, racing into a two-goal lead as Luke Hyam and Daryl Murphy finished super moves, before Danny Haynes reduced the deficit.

Following seven substitutions at the break, Paul Taylor’s excellent free-kick extended Town’s advantage. But the League One hosts stormed back to level things up through Manny Smith and Yoann Arquin goals.

“It was two different halves wasn’t it? Completely,” said McCarthy. “First half I thought we were excellent and probably should have been out of sight with the chances that we had.

“I made a load of changes (at half-time) because I was conscious of getting other people games. The lack of continuity probably didn’t help, but they made changes as well.

“Tayls’ goal should have sealed it for us, but we give away a free-kick – which has never been a free-kick in my life by the way – and then we should have defended it better.

“It told me a lot about some of my players and as us as a team. I have to say though, first half we were different class.”

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Asked if the starting line-up (Loach, Hewitt, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell, Anderson, Hyam, Skuse, Tabb. McGoldrick and Murphy) was the one which he now sees as his strongest team, McCarthy said: “If it was, do you think I’d tell you?! I told them before the game ‘I’ll be taking most of you off after 45, so in your 465 minutes give me something to think about’. I’ve just told you they were excellent in the first half, so read into that what you will.”

The one doubt for next weekend is Aaron Cresswell after the left-back walked off after just 10 minutes of the match with a recurrence of the thigh strain he has been struggling with throughout pre-season.

“He’s had a bit of a thigh strain,” said McCarthy. “We didn’t train him yesterday to get him ready for today and he said he was fine. It’s such a shame because he was very good in the bit of time he was on.”

The Blues boss also confirmed that Anthony Wordsworth – who came on at half-time only to go off after just four minutes – had a calf problem, while Carlos Edwards – who helped Trinidad and Tobago to the quarter-finals of the Gold Cup in the USA – is due back in training on Monday.

Meanwhile, McCarthy confirmed that former Blues striker Alan Lee is training with the club. The 34-year-old has also been helping out with some academy coaching following his release by Huddersfield.

“Big Al is great with the kids and he comes and joins in training,” said McCarthy. “He’s living down here so why would I not use him?

“He’s doing his coaching badges. Let’s just see, if he’s fit we’ll have a look. The plan isn’t to sign him, but let’s see.”

McCarthy also revealed that Josh Carson will be on trial with a club next week, though he refused to say who.