Left midfield role is Jay Tabb’s to lose, says Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy

Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy shakes hands with Jay Tabb at the end of Saturday's 2-0 home win over

Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy shakes hands with Jay Tabb at the end of Saturday's 2-0 home win over Millwall. PHOTO: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

There are a queue of left wingers lined up, but they’ll have to do really well to get Jay Tabb out of the Ipswich Town team.

So says Blues boss Mick McCarthy ahead of tonight’s visit of Brighton & Hove Albion to Portman Road.

Tabb is a player who has divided opinions during his 18 months at Town. A big part of the Blues’ initial superb turnaround under McCarthy, his form – by his own admittance – dipped last season after he became a permanent addition.

The summer arrivals of left-sided trio Cameron Stewart, Alex Henshall and Stephen Hunt looked ominous for the experienced former Brentford, Coventry and Reading man, but Tabb raised his game in pre-season and has started all six Championship matches so far.

His workmanlike and disciplined style of play may not get fans off their seats in the same way pacey and skilful widemen can, but McCarthy says the 30-year-old’s role in the team should not be underestimated.

“Tabby’s great – he’s just a top, top pro,” said the Blues.

“He hadn’t played at the end of last season, kept his chin up and came back not knowing what I’d do with the team at the start of this season.

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“I said to him ‘if you’re the best player for your position then you’ll play’. And that’s what’s turned out to be the case.

“Tabby knows his job. He’s not a flying winger, he’s not going to drop his shoulder and go past people, but he can work himself into positions and he does such a great job helping his full-back. He just knows the job.

“Yes, he has got competition – but the others will have to play well to knock him out the side.

“He’s a proper player and a proper bloke. I’ve got a lot of time for him.”

McCarthy certainly has plenty of options in midfield at present. In addition to the aformentioned left-wing options, there’s Cole Skuse, Luke Hyam, Paul Anderson Darren Ambrose, Teddy Bishop, Kevin Bru and Adam McDonnell.

Town have offered recent triallist Jack Collison a short-term deal too, while they’d also like to bring Jonny Williams back in on loan from Crystal Palace.

Collison is training with Birmingham City at present though, while Neil Warnock has said he wants to ‘take a good look’ at Williams before allowing him to leave for another temporary spell.

– For live match updates from Ipswich Town v Brighton & Hove Albion, follow @Stuart_Watson on Twitter.

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