McCarthy insists out-of-form Ipswich Town are still looking up, not down

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy at Rotherham

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy at Rotherham

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy insists his out-of-form side are still looking up, not down, ahead of tonight’s Championship match against Sheffield Wednesday at Portman Road (7.45pm).

The Blues are now nearer seventh-place Norwich (four points) than they are second-place Derby (six points) following a flat start to 2015.

Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at relegation-battling Rotherham came hot on the heels of a 3-2 loss at struggling Brighton and a dire goalless home draw with lowly Wigan, several Town players looking like they have simply hit a wall – both physically and mentally – following their efforts in a superb four-month period.

Asked if chasing down the top two was still the goal with 17 games to go, McCarthy said: “It’s got to be – yeah. We’ll keep aiming for that.

“If the worst that happens to us is that we get a play-off spot then it will be brilliant, because if we’d have said that at the start of the season then everyone would have taken it.

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“But now we’re in this position we’ll continue to aim for the top.

“Who knows what will happen? All we can do is go into every game being positive, try and get a good result and all of a sudden the feel can be different.”

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McCarthy has confirmed that he will freshen up his tired team tonight, attacking talent such as Freddie Sears and Teddy Bishop set to start.

He said: “Over the course of the season there’s not any of them that deserve to be left out, but it’s understandable that some have dipped after the yards they have put in.

“Knee-jerk reactions after the game can change after consideration. And I am a very, very considered in what I do and my thought processes on the team. When I leave people out I think why I’m doing it.

“There are fresh legs raring to go. The ones who have been sat on the periphery, if they don’t get a game now, when you’ve had a couple of difficult games and results have not gone well, then they’ll be thinking they’ll never get a chance.”

The noticeably upbeat Blues boss added: “If I come in and I’m miserable and I’m surly and horrible – which I don’t ever do – then I could expect players to be that way, couldn’t I? It’s not an act, this is me. I hope that rubs off on the players all the time.”

– Follow @Stuart_Watson on Twitter for live match updates.

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