‘I’d prefer to be in the Premier League than win the FA Cup,’ says McCarthy
Mick McCarthy wants to finally win an FA Cup game in charge of Ipswich Town – if only to postpone a league game for his injury-hit squad later this month.
The Blues haven’t won a game in the competition since 2010, suffering third round replay defeats to lower league sides Preston, Portsmouth and Lincoln in recent years.
And with a 17th successive season in the Championship looking increasingly likely, Town fans are desperate for some cup excitement 40 years on from Sir Bobby Robson’s men lifting the world famous trophy.
Speaking ahead of this afternoon’s home tie with Championship rivals Sheffield United, who are likely to name a reserve side due to their upcoming Steel City derby with Sheffield Wednesday on Friday night, McCarthy said: “I want to win the game, I’ll be happy to win the game, because we’ll get another FA Cup tie then and that would push a league game back (Wolves at home) which would allow us to get some reinforcements and some players fit. That would really help in terms of our league campaign.
“The competition has been diluted by the money in the Premier League. Being in the Championship and winning the FA Cup would be great – I want a medal, of course I do – but I’d prefer to be playing in the Premier League.”
McCarthy has traditionally named much-changed sides for knockout football, but his options are limited today with no fewer than 18 players unavailable due to injuries, suspension, ineligibility or being out on loan.
Town, down to 12th and seven points adrift of the play-off places following a winless Christmas run, host Leeds in their next league game.
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“I don’t want a replay (which would come a week on Tuesday) and I would imagine Chris Wilder wouldn’t either,” said McCarthy.
“I remember last year we were 2-1 down (to Lincoln), equalise in the last minute, are all delighted, and then go up there and get beat by playing lousy.
“We would have been better off getting beat here, although I didn’t think that in 90 minutes and it will be the same tomorrow.
“I’m making some changes to the team because we’ve just had four games in a very short space of time and I certainly can’t afford any injuries.
“They will all be first team players though.”
Team name: Sheffield United
Manager: Chris Wilder (May ‘16: P80 W46 D14 L20)
Away form: P13 W5 D2 L6 F17 A18
Current form: DLWDLLLDLW
Last five finishes: 1st, 11th, 5th, 7th, 5th (all League One)
Top-scorers: Clarke (15), Sharp (8)
Most assists: Duffy (8), Stevens (4)
Last game: D 1-1 Derby (a)
Next game: Sheff Weds (h) – Friday
• Grant Ward suffered a ‘slight groin tear’ in Tuesday night’s 4-1 defeat at Fulham to join a packed treatment room.
• Emyr Huws (knee), Teddy Bishop (hamstring) and Andre Dozzell (knee) are all ruled out for the season.
• Dean Gerken (hip), Adam Webster (Achilles), Tom Adeyemi (hamstring), Tristan Nydam (hip) and Flynn Downes (blood tests following fatigue) all remain sidelined.
• Jordan Spence starts a three-match ban following his red card in midweek. • Luke Woolfenden (Bromley), Chris Smith (Chelmsford), George Fowler, James Blanchfield (both Aldershot), Josh Emmanuel (Rotherham) and Danny Rowe (Lincoln) are all out on loan. • Kieffer Moore and Adam McDonnell are both cup-tied having featured in the competition for Rotherham and Aldershot respectively. • McCarthy has confirmed Luke Hyam will make his first senior start in 19 months following several injuries. • Cole Skuse (bruised ankle) is likely to be rested, while Martyn Waghorn and Joe Garner could also be taken out the line of fire following four games in 11 days.
• The Blades have, by all accounts, looked leggy of late. One win in nine has seen them slip out the top six. Chris Wilder could ring the changes today given his team host rivals Sheffield Wednesday on Friday night.
8 – Town’s total shots on target in last 4 games
6 – Points claimed from 27 by Sheffield United
2010 – Last time Town won an FA Cup game (P11 D4 L7)
Sheffield United 1 Ipswich Town 0
Date: Saturday, October 14, 2017
Chris Basham’s 48th minute header proved the difference as Town suffered a fifth league defeat in seven.
The Blues switched off after the restart and then struggled to find a way back into the game against a side comfortable in possession.
Ipswich Town (22/9) Draw (27/11) Sheffield United (11/8)
Mike Jones (Chester) Games: 16, Yellows: 85, Reds: 1
Ipswich Town 1 Sheffield United 0
Blades’ focus is on Friday’s Steel City derby. Blues to scrape through. Do fear a stale game and dreaded replay.