What a difference a week makes as McCarthy and Holloway prepare to do battle
Crystal Palace v Ipswich: This time last week, Ipswich, Crystal Palace – not to mention Blackburn Rovers – were all managerless and links with Mick McCarthy and Ian Holloway were spreading like wildfire.
We understand both managers had talks with Ipswich with owner Marcus Evans and chief executive Simon Clegg opting for the 53-year-old former Wolves boss – something most fans would agree with after Saturday’s resilient 1-0 win at Birmingham.
It is one of those footballing ironies that tonight’s clash pits both men against each other with Holloway entering the home dugout for the first time.
McCarthy refused to talk about rumours linking him with other jobs before he was officially announced at Portman Road on Thursday morning.
But he did wax lyrical about his managerial rival who he believes could push Palace all the way to the Premier League.
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McCarthy said: “Palace will be cock-a-hoop with the way they have been playing and the fans will be behind them.
“Despite the fact they have lost Dougie (Freedman), they have won their last two matches. Now with Ollie there, he will bring a whole load of life to it and certainly lift the profile of the club.
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“I think it is great for him. I haven’t spoken to him but the family reasons he talks about is important.
“Could he done any more (at Blackpool)? He missed out on keeping them up on the last day. There comes a time when you feel you have to move on. It is a good job for him and I think he can get them promoted.”
Holloway’s decision to swap Blackpool for Palace surprised some outsiders.
But it is clear he was ready for a new challenge and he takes over arguably the form side in the Championship.
While not facing the press since his arrival, the charismatic manager gave an impromptu speech to fans in a club bar during Saturday’s win over Blackburn.
He said: “How lucky are we to see a team like this? It’s fantastic. I think I have got goosebumps on the back of my neck to get an opportunity like this.”
McCarthy added: “I think he is a perfect fit for how they have been playing – it doesn’t make my job any easier.
“But I guarantee he will be sat there thinking it won’t be easy, because I’m bringing Ipswich down.”