Tougher games bring out the best in my teams, says Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy

It's backs-to-the-wall time for Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy. Photo: PAGEPIX LTD

It's backs-to-the-wall time for Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy. Photo: PAGEPIX LTD

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy comes alive when it’s backs-to-the-wall time.

The straight-talking Yorkshireman has always taken a great deal of pleasure in quietening the critics and competing with bigger-budget rivals, but both of those past-times have proved difficult for him this season.

Hundreds of Blues fans believe his time is up, but the Championship’s longest-serving manager – who admits he will consider his future in the summer – has become quite adapt at surviving in the most cut-throat of industries.

Tomorrow’s game at Preston is followed by a tough looking run of fixtures – Derby (h), Reading (h), Aston Villa (a), Brighton (a), Leeds (h), Norwich (a).

“We’ll probably have our best run now because everybody is looking at us and not expecting us to win,” said the Blues boss. “I think my teams have always responded to the supposedly tougher games to be honest with you.

“I’m hoping that’s going to continue now with the run we’ve got.”

Last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Huddersfield led to McCarthy admitting that the result of tomorrow’s game at Deepdale could well determine whether his team is to be dragged into a relegation dogfight. Not that you could tell from his relaxed demeanour this week.

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“I’ve had some nice calls of support,” he said. “I’ve spoken to some Premier League lads (managers) and some at clubs higher up this league than me and they’ve gone ‘oh, it’s tough at the minute’. Really?! I hadn’t noticed!

“I’ve spoken to one or two (managers) beneath me and said ‘I hope your chairman keeps you in a job because your record is making mine look good!’. I’ve had a bit of fun with one or two of them.

“I don’t need pick-me-ups or positive mental attitude lessons, because I’m pretty good at that, but it’s lovely to get a call or two like that from your peers. It just reminds you that it’s a great community to be involved in and I don’t want to be anywhere else.”

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