Mick McCarthy was always wary of the honeymoon period coming to an end

THE honeymoon period is fading – now the hard work really starts.

That was the view of realistic Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy following Saturday’s drab 1-1 home draw with fellow strugglers Bristol City.

The Blues had quickly climbed off the bottom of the Championship table thanks to a return of 16 points from a possible 24 under their new boss, but are back within just three points of safety following a 2-0 defeat at Leeds and Saturday’s equally below-par performance.

The pragmatic McCarthy had never got carried away by his early successes though and always insisted that the Suffolk side could well remain in a relegation dogfight until the final day of the campaign.

And with just five points now separating the bottom five, he has repeated that level-headed mantra.

“We were never going to just keep winning,” said the Blues boss, whose side travel to Charlton on Boxing Day before visiting his former club, Wolves, on Saturday.

“We’ve had a good run, but you see it with lots of teams that when a new manager comes in they have a good run because everything is shiny and new. Can we maintain that level? We’ll have to wait and see.”

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He added: “I was asked recently whether the goal was still simply being out of the relegation zone come May the fourth and I said yes it is. We just want to be safe and secure come the final day.

“I’ve never done anything other than look over my shoulder. The results of the last two weeks – both ours and those of the teams around us – hasn’t changed my view on things.”

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