Mick’s stock has risen, so can Ipswich Town hold on to their man?

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy gives his trademark blue coat to the fans following the season fi

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy gives his trademark blue coat to the fans following the season finale at Burnley. - Credit: Archant

Mick McCarthy has made no secret of his desire to return to the Premier League – so can Town hold on to their man this summer?

Fans could breathe a sigh of relief yesterday when Mark Hughes was appointed as the new man in charge at Stoke City.

That destroyed any lingering suggestions that McCarthy could be in the frame to replace Tony Pulis, and left just Chelsea, Everton and Manchester City looking for new leaders in the Premier League.

But Town cannot rest on their laurels, with McCarthy’s stock having risen dramatically since he replaced Paul Jewell last October.

A total of 53 points from 33 games was play-off form and reaffirmed his reputation as one of the best managers, currently outside the top flight.


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And therein lies the problem.

McCarthy is adamant he can be a success in the Premier League, despite an unsuccessful period there with Sunderland, and his controversial sacking from Molineux, and he is determined to have another crack.

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He has a case. He twice kept Wolves in the top flight, thanks to a number of shrewd signings and remains certain that he would have maintained the Black Country outfit’s standing alongside the cream of British football, had he not been given his P45.

Town may be safe at the moment, knowing McCarthy is unlikely to be in the running for any of the three jobs remaining in the Premier League, but chairmen and owners have a habit of being trigger-happy, especially if a season doesn’t start so well, while Championship clubs will take the Irishman’s promotions with Sunderland and Wolves into account.

They will also look at how he can transform teams with little leverage in the transfer market – Ipswich last season being a prime example.

That could work in McCarthy’s favour should he be given a chance at a club he considers a more attractive proposition.

As Ipswich manager however, it could work against him.

The fact he worked miracles last season using his nous in the loan market especially, means he has become a victim of his own success somewhat.

Come the end of the season, he had built a team that was solid at the back and which had started showing signs of life in attack.

The likes of Scott Loach, Tommy Smith, Luke Chambers, Aaron Cresswell, Luke Hyam and Daryl Murphy were all players he inherited, all of whom were struggling prior to his arrival, and the majority ended the campaign as nailed-on first-team starters, while promising striker, Frank Nouble was a snip at £25,000 from Wolves.

Another one of his star performers, Jay Tabb, was expected to return to Portman Road on a permanent deal, following a successful loan.

However, that deal has so far not been completed, and we understand McCarthy and Evans have still to reach a compromise over next season’s budget.

Loosening the pursestrings would not only give McCarthy more versatility in the transfer market but, just as important, could warn off any potential suitors.

But the Blues are almost £80m in debt and will have to continue to remain vigilant, especially with the introduction of Financial Fair Play.

McCarthy has vowed to work on a budget, but how tight remains to be seen.

With the Blues seemingly onto a winner, it would be a shame to see such promise go to waste.

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