Mahon - I bear no grudges

ALTHOUGH regularly overlooked by Mick McCarthy when he was the Republic of Ireland manager, Alan Mahon insists he does not hold grudges, but would like to get one over on Sunderland tonight anyway, writes Derek Davis.

ALTHOUGH regularly overlooked by Mick McCarthy when he was the Republic of Ireland manager, Alan Mahon insists he does not hold grudges, but would like to get one over on Sunderland tonight anyway, writes Derek Davis.

Despite not training for a week Mahon is hoping for a return to the starting line-up tonight after recovering from a thigh strain.

After winning a record 18 Under-21 caps, the on-loan Ipswich Town wide-man was capped against Greece and South Africa for the seniors in 2000 but was an outcast as Ireland qualified, and then appeared, in the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup finals.

Mahon still harbours hopes of a recall under Brian Kerr but bears no malice towards McCarthy.


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He said: "I only won two full caps and of course I would have loved to have played more but it was not to be.

"I still hold the record amount of Under-21 caps but I could never get more full internationals.

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"There was ever any upset between me and Mick, it was just one of those things.

"He did not pick me even when I was playing regularly for Blackburn and I felt I should have been included more for the Republic.

"But there is not point in worrying about it and I won't be trying extra hard tonight just because it is Sunderland.

"I want to do well every game for Ipswich and if I have not been involved in an assist or scored myself or at least done something telling then I beat myself up about it. But I'm the same every game."

Speaking from the team's Wearside hotel last night Mahon insisted he was ready to play, although appreciated competition for places was getting tough.

He added: "I have not trained all week but it has cleared up now so it is down to the Gaffer if I play.

"I would love to play but the lads did ever so well on Saturday and I would not be hurt if he stuck with them, either way and he would be right."

With Mahon fit Ipswich are likely to revert to the 4-4-2 which looked limp at Watford on Saturday.

Although the more lively 4-3-3 worked so brilliantly at Vicarage Road it is unlikely Royle will leave out Mahon and instead Darren Bent could find himself on the bench with new boy Shefki Kuqi partnering Pablo Counago.

Dean Bowditch and Matt Bloomfield keep their places in the squad but are unlikely to make the bench.

Richard Naylor and Chris Bart-Williams must watch their step as they are both on four bookings, one caution away from a mandatory suspension.

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