One chance to impress – Mick McCarthy’s message to his fringe players ahead of Aston Villa match

Aston Villa v Ipswich: Blues manager Mick McCarthy has called upon his fringe players to take their chance when he fields a much-changed side at Aston Villa in the FA Cup third round tomorrow.

The Blues boss may have replaced one experienced loanee centre-back with another – bringing in Patrick Kisnorbo from Leeds for a month to fill the void left by Danny Higginbotham – but he is still without a further five players tomorrow.

With Stephen Henderson, Bradley Orr (both ineligible due to terms of loan deals), Tyrone Mings (cup-tied), Andy Drury (illness) and DJ Campbell (returned to QPR) all unavailable, McCarthy has confirmed that Scott Loach, Elliott Hewitt and Michael Chopra will all start against the struggling Premier League hosts.

And after admitting that Tuesday’s 3-0 home defeat to Brighton was ‘one game too many’ for a side that had expended a great deal of energy in securing superb back-to-back away wins over Charlton and Wolves over the Christmas period, the Blues boss revealed that he was looking to freshen up other areas of his side too.

It means that the likes of Luke Hyam and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas are also likely to get a rare chance to impress their new boss, with McCarthy urging his players to seize the day.


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“They get one opportunity to make a good first impression,” he said. “And they have to make sure they take it.

“I sometimes feel for them in this situation because if you go into a game alongside nine of the established ones then it can be easier, but if you’re going in alongside a number that haven’t been playing it’s tough.

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“You can always put your shift in though and make a real good first impression. How you go about your job is important to me.

“I’ve been saying to them, if you go on as a sub, make a difference. Don’t just sit around and have a face like a slapped backside.

“They know that if we don’t win and I don’t get a good performance (tomorrow) then the hook comes and they’re out the team again.”

He added: “I’ve liked what I’ve seen in Elliott (Hewitt), I want to see how he does. Michael Chopra has got a good track record, but he’s got to come in and do the business now DJ (Campbell) has gone.

“I need to see Scott Loach play because I haven’t seen him in a competitive game yet. He’s been great in training, he’s a lovely fella and has been a pleasure to be around, but I’m not really interested in that – I want him to play well.”

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