We will play with style eventually, promises Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Manager Mick McCarthy shouting instructions to his players at Huddersfield

Ipswich Manager Mick McCarthy shouting instructions to his players at Huddersfield - Credit: Archant

Ipswich v Leicester: IT won’t always be substance over style.

That’s Mick McCarthy’s promise to Ipswich Town fans as his side prepare to scrap it out against promotion-chasing Leicester City at Portman Road today.

The Blues were thrashed 6-0 in the reverse fixture less than four months ago, but that soft touch tag seems a lifetime ago now thanks to considerable improvements in organisation and discipline.

It’s not always been pretty – never less so than in last weekend’s ugly goalless draw at fellow strugglers Huddersfield – but McCarthy has never hidden away from the fact that circumstances dictate that it simply has to be a case of grinding out the points which are needed to avoid Championship relegation.

And with the Foxes camp fully aware that they are facing a much tougher Town side than back in mid-November, the Blues boss says he takes pride in the foundations which he has laid.

“It’s great when opposition managers say they know they’re going to be in for a tough game against us,” said the Blues boss. “The players run more than any other team according to prozone stats. Does that mean anything? Well it means they are playing for the club, for TC (Terry Connor), myself and for themselves. Let me tell you that fundamentally that’s a really good base to start from.

“If we do stay up – and we’re a long way from being safe yet – then maybe we can start again next year and embellish that with a bit more football.

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“I’ve won the Championship twice with two teams (Sunderland and Wolves) that have had flying wingers. We did it with a bit of style, but it’s substance over style that is required at this moment in time. It has to be with 12 games to go.”

He continued: “I know when I was sacked at Wolves, Manchester United went there next and were thinking ‘happy days’ because they knew what to expect from my sides – tough, belligerent, well-organised, disciplined displays.

“We would like to get goals and play nicer, happier, pretty football and excite everybody. But I think the most excitement that we’ll get, as people involved with Ipswich, is staying in the league. That’s paramount to everything. And it’s not cut and dried yet.”

With 32 points having been taken from a possible 63 since his arrival, McCarthy added: “I am giving the players a bit of toffee, a compliment, for what they’ve achieved.

“If the season had started on November the first we’d all be patting the lads on the back and saying well done for being in the top eight, top six or whatever. That has to be said to them, rather than just reminding them that we are struggling along just above the top three.”

– See today’s EADT for full match preview. Follow @Stuart_Watson and @ChrisBramms on Twitter for live match updates.

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