Land of the giants at Ipswich Town – and Mick McCarthy makes no apologies

LAND OF THE GIANTS: (left to right) Ipswich Town players Christophe Berra, Dean Gerken, Luke Chamber

LAND OF THE GIANTS: (left to right) Ipswich Town players Christophe Berra, Dean Gerken, Luke Chambers and Tommy Smith. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy makes no apologies for putting height towards the top of his desired player attributes.

The Blues are developing something of a reputation among opposition bosses for their aerial threat at set-pieces and long ball tactics, with both Reading’s Nigel Adkins and Birmingham’s Lee Clark quick to point it out following recent matches.

Incredibly, 18 of Town’s 24-man first team squad are 6ft or taller – including eight of the starting line-up from the opening three league games of the new campaign.

Centre-backs Christophe Berra and Tommy Smith scored 11 goals between them last season and, with a lack of midfield creativity and goal threat once again painfully evident, it looks as though set-pieces and long-ball tactics will once again provide a large proportion of the goals – new strikers signings Balint Bajner (6ft 5in) and Conor Sammon (6ft 2in) replacing the loaned out duo of Paul Taylor (5ft 7in) and Jack Marriott (5ft 7in).

After Berra converted two headers in Tuesday night’s 2-2 draw at Birmingham, McCarthy – whose side host rivals Norwich City on Saturday in what will be the first East Anglian derby in three years – said: “It’s part of the game isn’t it? I used to get called ‘big man’ when I was up in Scotland (playing for Celtic). I don’t know where that came from because I stand in the tunnel these days and I’m smaller than most of them.

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“I didn’t see any of their back four were midgets, did you? Did anyone see any small ones? Their two centre-forwards weren’t small either, or Lee Novak, he must be six foot one. I don’t see why people are highlighting the fact that we’re a big team.

“Apparently we have got the smallest player in the league (Jay Tabb is 5ft 5in) who, despite that, gets his foot stuck in – according to their programme anyway.

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“It’s part of the game; free-kicks, corners, throw-ins. However you can score your goals, it doesn’t matter to me.”

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