Jay Tabb was told he could leave Ipswich Town in the summer

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy and midfielder Jay Tabb

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy and midfielder Jay Tabb - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy has revealed he told mifielder Jay Tabb that he could leave the club back in the summer.

The 30-year-old said he would rather stay and fight for his place following the Blues’ encouraging ninth-place finish.

And now the former Reading player is finding himself a key part of the team – his last four starts (Wolves, Watford, Charlton and Leeds) all ending in victory.

“I spoke to him at the end of last season,” said McCarthy. “He only had this year left (on his contract) and we had a discussion that if he found a club he could move on because he might not play every week.

“He said ‘No, I don’t want to go anywhere – I want to stay here and fight for my place’. Well he’s certainly done that.

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“He’s played wide left, he’s played in the middle. I thought he was different class at Charlton and I thought last week (against Leeds) he was as well. The only reason I took him off was because he got booked and we were 4-1 up. I didn’t want him missing this weekend.

“He’s been great. His attitude to things is second to none.”

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Meanwhile, the Blues boss said he was happy to see his side drawn away to Premier League high-fliers Southampton in the third round of the FA Cup.

Speaking about the tie, which is scheduled for Sunday, January 4, he said: “I’m pleased with it, though it would have been nice if it was Southampton here, or a Premier League club of any description at Portman Road.

“Listen, I just didn’t want one of those horrible FA Cup draws that everybody else loves. The ones that get picked for television because everyone’s hoping they’ll be a shock.

“You get on a nice run, like we are now, and then that horrible banana skin is just waiting for you. Well I think Southampton have now got the banana skin waiting for them.”

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