Is Jay Tabb ‘a safer pair of hands?’ Absolutely, says Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy

Jay Tabb closes down at Leyton Orient on Saturday

Jay Tabb closes down at Leyton Orient on Saturday

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy looks set to favour the experience of Jay Tabb when selecting his left midfielder for this Saturday’s Championship opener against Fulham at Portman Road.

The Blues boss started Tabb in Saturday’s 1-1 friendly draw at League One side Leyton Orient, the former Reading man showing signs he can recapture the performance levels he showed when first arrived at the club as a loanee, before a self-admitted dip in form last season.

Alex Henshall, the 20-year-old signed from Manchester City this summer, replaced Tabb on the wing in the second half and left McCarthy fuming at the soft penalty he conceded in the dying moments, Lloyd James converting from the spot to cancel out Balint Bajner’s opener.

“If Tabby had have been on the pitch they wouldn’t have got a penalty because their man wouldn’t have got out of that corner,” said McCarthy, who slammed the ‘seven or eight errors’ which led to Orient’s late leveller.

Asked if that meant he felt Tabb was a safer pair of hands for the left midfield slot, McCarthy having also signed Cameron Stewart for that position this summer, the Blues boss replied: “Of course he is, without doubt.

“He’s not a flying left winger, but Alex Henshall is learning his trade. He’s going to have to learn a lot about me; you don’t dangle your leg, you win the ball or go and take a foul out there so he doesn’t get in our box and get a penalty.

“That wouldn’t have happened with Tabby or Hunty (Stephen Hunt, currently out with a calf problem).

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“He (Henshall) is a baby, he’s a kid – he’ll learn. Kevin (Bru) also dangled a leg. It’s better them doing that now so that I can speak to them and show them so that they don’t do it in a league game.”

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