McCarthy says he won’t ever sub a scapegoat just to ‘appease the masses’ after Douglas ‘abuse’

Jonathan Douglas (22), Brett Pitman and Jonas Knudsen react after the former had headed the ball ove

Jonathan Douglas (22), Brett Pitman and Jonas Knudsen react after the former had headed the ball over the bar during the second half of Ipswich Town's goalless home draw with Charlton on Tuesday. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy has launched a staunch defence of Jonathan Douglas after the underfire midfielder signed a contract extension yesterday.

Douglas – whose 30 league starts has automatically triggered an additional year on his deal – was very much the scapegoat during Tuesday night’s goalless home draw with Charlton.

Every poor touch or bad decision from the experienced Irishman was greeted by howls of derision from those in the Portman Road stands, but McCarthy refused to take the 33-year-old out of the line of fire and replaced three different players when making his second-half substitutions.

Speaking ahead of this afternoon’s Championship home clash with Douglas’ former club Brentford, the Blues boss said: “I think you know full well, anybody who starts to get abuse on the pitch ain’t going to come off. I certainly wouldn’t appease the masses by taking one off and I wouldn’t embarrass one of my players by doing it.

“That’s probably why we have got such a good atmosphere around the club and why everybody trusts each other and works hard for each other.

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“I’ve been at places before where one person gets singled out. It was Ainsley Maitland-Niles not long ago. The poor kid is only 18. Dougie is 33 and is big enough and old enough to deal with it.”

The atmosphere inside Portman Road has become toxic in recent weeks, a usually placid and patient set of fans having seemingly been pushed to the limit by a series of flat and forgettable performances.

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The Blues have failed to score in four of their last five games and are now seven points adrift of the play-off places with six games to go.

Town’s remaining three away games are against promotion-chasing trio Sheffield Wednesday, Middlesbrough and Derby, while they will host relegation-fighting Fulham and MK Dons at Portman Road after today.

“I’ve not come in here to have a go at our supporters,” said McCarthy. “They’ve been wonderful with me for nearly four years. It’s frustrating for them at the moment.

“It’s frustrating for me and for the players too. Moaning at players doesn’t help anybody though.

“There is no doubt that everyone in the confines of this training ground are pulling together. Within the club I would always hope that is the case.

“None of us set off to disappoint anybody. I understand fans want to come and see us win and we’re all trying to make that happen.”

– See today’s EADT for full match preview. Log-on from 2pm for team news and live match updates.

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