McCarthy explains why Kevin Foley has struggled for minutes at Ipswich Town

Kevin Foley grits his teeth after going close in the Ipswich Town v Nottingham Forest (Championship)

Kevin Foley grits his teeth after going close in the Ipswich Town v Nottingham Forest (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 05 March 2016. Picture: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

January signing Kevin Foley is a victim of Ipswich Town’s consistency, according to manager Mick McCarthy.

The 31-year-old Republic of Ireland international has been left kicking his heels on the substitutes’ bench for most of his stay in Suffolk, despite a sparkling home debut in the 1-0 home win against Nottingham Forest, last month.

What made Foley’s display more remarkable that day was the fact that the former Wolves man, a right-back by trade, was deployed in an unfamiliar central midfield role – an opportunity he grabbed with both hands.

However, a knock in the draw at Bolton saw him sidelined for the defeat at Cardiff and since then, he has been unable to force his way back into the team, despite the Blues struggling for goals and victories in recent weeks.

Christophe Berra, Luke Chambers, Jonas Knudsen and Tommy Smith made up the back-four in Tuesday’s bore-draw with Charlton, and between them, that quartet have missed just four games all season, despite being far from water-tight.

Meanwhile, in midfield, Cole Skuse has missed just half-a-dozen matches this season, with McCarthy using Jonathan Douglas and Kevin Bru alongside him for the most part.

“I have spoken to Kevin (Foley) and he has been terrific,” said McCarthy.

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“But the back four has been outstanding for the past three seasons virtually, with three of them almost ever-present.

“The only positions we have changed are at left-back, and goalkeeper.

“That unit has been really solid so it has been difficult for him there, and in midfield, to be fair, Dougy (Jonathan Douglas) and Skusey (Cole Skuse) have been terrific.

“So he has been a bit unlucky, but he understands.”

Meanwhile, McCarthy has confirmed that he would like to sign youngster, Paul Digby, on a permanent contract.

The 21-year-old defender joined on-loan from League One Barnsley, during the transfer window, signing a deal until the end of the season with a view to a permanent move.

Since joining the Blues, Digby has been restricted to just two starts, both in the FA Cup, but McCarthy considers the England youth international to be an exciting prospect.

“He (Digby) has done very well and my thoughts are that I would like to do something with him and take him on,” added McCarthy, who has fellow centre-backs, Matthew Clarke, Piotr Malarczyk and Josh Yorwerth on-loan at Portsmouth, Southend United and Crawley Town respectively.

“Piotr (Malarczyk) has not played yet and I can’t take them (loan defenders) all going forward.

“Diggers (Digby) can use the ball from the back and has impressed and improved no doubt, training with the first-team every day.

“He has impressed everybody.”

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