Praise all round – McCarthy on Brighton while Taricco hails his ‘best time’ at Ipswich

Ipswich v Brighton: A gruelling Christmas programme? A small squad that would not cope with four matches in 11 days?

Ipswich Town have thus far laughed off those pre-festive concerns with an almost impeccable run of performances – and points.

True, the last home match – the dire draw against Bristol City – was poor. But two successive away victories at Charlton and Wolves have more than made up for that.

It has been something of a Christmas cracker for Town fans so far who will now hope the programme can end perfectly with a home win over out-of-sorts Brighton.

In October, when the two sides met at the Amex, confidence-shot Ipswich travelled to face the league leaders with many fearing a big home win.

But a spirited display, one of the best away performances under Paul Jewell, earned the Blues a hugely deserved 1-1 draw.

Fast forward three months and the form, if not the table, could not be more different.

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Over the last six matches, Town are sitting proudly in fourth position while Brighton are 19th.

While the actual league positions are contrasting to that, there is every reason for supporters kicking off 2013 to arrive in good heart.

McCarthy had nothing but praise for the Seagulls during yesterday’s pre-match press conference.

He said: “Brighton are a good side. They have similar ethics to us, they work hard and look a solid unit.

“They’ve had one game less than us and we’ve just put a real shift in. That might be slightly to their advantage, but we’re coming into it off the back of two wins and they’ve just got beat so that could even it up slightly. They’ve got good players, a good manager, a good stadium. They’re on the up.”

As you would expect, Brighton boss Gus Poyet had equal praise for today’s hosts while his assistant, former Town fans’ favourite Mauricio Taricco, was equally gushing.

Poyet said: “Everything is going Ipswich’s way. They are winning games before that they couldn’t, so it’s going to be difficult, especially if we don’t improve at the back.”

Taricco added: “The players know what we are going to come up against and they are ready.

“I want them (Ipswich) to do well, to be a good team, of course not against us. I had a great time there, my best time as a player, even though I don’t show it much.

“I am not the type of person who likes to talk about it much or make an issue out of it but I always had a great relationship with the fans.

“I am just not the type of person who claps all the time, I just feel it and that’s it. Hopefully they know from the way I played. I gave everything when I was there.”

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