McCarthy ready to experiment with player roles
Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy is ready to utilise the versatility in his thin squad as they prepare to get a Championship promotion push back on track.
Having already signed strikers Freddie Sears and Noel Hunt early in the January transfer window, the Blues boss resisted the temptation to panic buy before Monday’s 11pm deadline and instead was left satisfied that his hands-off warning over key players had dissuaded Premier League clubs from making bids.
It leaves him with a relatively small 22-man first team squad heading into the gruelling 18-game run-in, starting with Saturday’s match at a Rotherham side desperately trying to retain their recently achieved second tier status for another year.
“I think we’ve got 21/22 players – we had 19 available for last weekend with Murph (Daryl Murphy), Gerks (Dean Gerken) and Luke Hyam out injured,” said McCarthy. “With that in mind I think it’s important that players can play a number of roles.”
Teddy Bishop, primarily a central midfielder, has been tried on the right in recent weeks, while full-back Jonathan Parr has been deployed on the left of midfield and Darren Ambrose is being considered for a number of positions across the middle,
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“Teddy’s not a winger, but somebody who can play right midfield – and there is a difference,” said McCarthy. “I wanted to try him there because it’s another string to his bow. Listen, I think Teddy could play anywhere because of his ability on the ball.
“Jonny Parr’s played wide left a couple of times now, while I quite fancy using Darren Ambrose in behind the strikers at some stage. They’re all capable footballers and to learn different positions is useful.”
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An exceptional month of December consisting of 16 points gained from a possible 18 was followed by a flat January that contained just one win in six matches across all competitions. The Blues currently sit fourth in the table – three points behind leading duo Bournemouth and Derby, with a six-point cushion to seventh-placed Wolves.
McCarthy may yet use the emergency loan window when that opens next week, with a third loan spell at Portman Road for Crystal Palace midfielder Jonny Williams not out of the question at some stage.
“The position with Jonny Williams has always been the same,” said McCarthy. “If he’s available, and we could have him, then we’d take him at the drop of a hat. Jonny’s actually injured still though. From what I gather he tried to come back and felt it again.”