Play a full strength side in Lincoln FA Cup replay, Ipswich Town fans urge Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy at Portman Road for the FA Cup match with Lincoln City. Photo: PA

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy at Portman Road for the FA Cup match with Lincoln City. Photo: PAGEPIX LTD

Ipswich Town fans have called upon manager Mick McCarthy to name a full-strength team for next Tuesday’s FA Cup Third Round replay at non-league side Lincoln City.

A Blues team full of first-team players was outplayed by the table-topping National League side at Portman Road on Saturday, but twice in-form Leicester City loanee Tom Lawrence got them out-of-jail with fine individual equalisers in a 2-2 draw – the second of which came four minutes from time.

It means the two teams will go again at the 10,000-capacity Sincil Bank with the victors set to host Championship table-toppers Brighton on the weekend of January 28/29 after last night’s underwhelming draw.

Hundreds of fans took part in a series of polls run by this newspaper yesterday with 64% pessimistically predicting that Town will crash out of the cup next week.

When asked what sort of team they would like McCarthy to field for the replay, 73% said ‘full-strength’, 19% said ‘mix-and-match’ and just 8% said ‘play the kids’.

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Lincoln haven’t reached the Fourth Round of the world famous competition in 40 years and will be fired up to pull off a famous upset and claim some vital prize and television money.

The priority for Danny Cowley’s men is, however, securing a return to the Football League following a five-year absence.

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Ipswich, meanwhile, are in desperate need of a pick-me-up. Currently placed 15th in the Championship table following a stuttering first-half of the season, McCarthy’s approach to next week’s replay could well depend on the outcome of Saturday’s home league against lowly Blackburn Rovers.

Owen Coyle’s men – who have done the double over Newcastle in recent weeks – could potentially climb out of the drop zone and close the gap on Town to just four points with victory.

And the prospect of getting dragged into a relegation scrap might just see McCarthy return to his usual approach to knockout football.

After a 2-2 home draw with League Two side Portsmouth in the FA Cup Third Round last season, McCarthy left all of his key men behind in Suffolk for the replay and a team of fringe players and kids lost 2-1 at Fratton Park.

The Blues boss doesn’t have a huge amount of options to do the same again this time though given a lengthy injury list. Teenage quintet Pat Webber, George Fowler, Adam McDonnell, Shane McLoughlin and Ben Morris were all unused substitutes at the weekend.

Should Town progress, their long league trip to Preston would have to be moved to a midweek night in amongst an already busy schedule.

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