Mick McCarthy putting his faith in Ipswich Town youngsters at Doncaster Rovers
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy will get a good insight into the steel his young players possess tonight, when they face Doncaster Rovers in the Capital One Cup.
The form book suggests a Town win – the Blues unbeaten all season – against a Rovers side yet to win a game without penalties this term – but football is never that simple.
Against a much-changed Town side, Stevenage took the lead at Portman Road in the first round, before goals from youngster Josh Yorwerth and relative veteran Jay Tabb spared the hosts’ blushes.
Given their higher status, Doncaster should be even more of a match than Stevenage, and will be smarting after Saturday’s defeat at Port Vale, which left manager Paul Dickov labelling his team’s performance way below the standard he expects.
So expect a reaction from Rovers who have showed the right response in training, according to their Scottish manager.
McCarthy is certainly not under-estimating Rovers: “I just watched their game against Wigan, they drew 0-0, I saw bits against Port Vale, but the game against Leeds, who are Championship opposition stood out.
“Leeds had a player sent off but you could just there was more of a competitive edge, playing against a Championship team and everyone wanting to earn a feather in their cap by doing a team above them.”
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His club is one brimming with confidence though, from the first-team to the under-21s, the youngsters having already beaten their Coventry and Leeds counterparts this season.
The likes of James Alabi, Myles Kenlock, Adam McDonnell and Yorwerth, have all played a part at that level this season and will be determined to show their manager what they can do at senior level too.
McCarthy clearly has faith in his youngsters, although the cynic would suggest he was merely playing them tonight to avoid injuries to his first-team regulars.
While there is some truth in that, the experience will be invaluable, according to the Blues boss, just like it was against Stevenage.
Yorwerth and Kenlock both featured in that win, but have not played for the first team since, while Emmanuel proved to be a seamless fit in his only start, at Brentford, before McCarthy recalled Christophe Berra after suspension, and moved Luke Chambers to right-back, for the home game against Stevenage.
“They (youngsters) have all played well,” said McCarthy.
“Josh Yorwerth had a tough time with the goal against Stevenage but then he scored and was excellent in the second half.
“Both full-backs have been good and anyone playing tomorrow night is relishing the prospect of playing Doncaster.
“I think if people want to sit down and think about it, they can probably get most of the players that I am going to pick.
“Josh and Myles are both playing and one I am really looking forward to seeing is Adam McDonnell, now FIFA have deemed him fit for purpose.
“The one thing he is really good at doing is playing football and he was being deprived by some idiotic rule that FIFA deemed appropriate.”
Youth players Sam Ford, Shane McLoughlin, George Fowler and James Blanchfield, meanwhile, travelled with the senior squad for Saturday’s trip to Preston and watched Town record a battling 2-1 win.
“It will have showed them what it takes to win a game,” explained McCarthy. “We only had 167 passes, Preston had something like 216. They had 14 shots, we had two but we came away and won a game.
“That’s what it takes to win a game and for those lads, seeing the intensity of that game and how tough it is, it’s great for their education.”
While tonight’s came comes too soon for that quartet, the likes of Yorwerth and co will get another game under their belt against experienced opposition.
Rovers have not had the best of starts this season but boast a wealth of experience and quality in the likes of veteran defender Rob Jones, midfield stalwart James Coppinger and prolific League One marksman Andy Williams.
“A cup run is good, especially for the youngsters, but we will just try and do our best,” explained defender Yorwerth.