McCarthy says Ipswich Town could make a fresh approach for Barnsley forward Marley Watkins

Ipswich have tried to sign Barnsley forward Marley Watkins in the last two transfer windows. Photo:

Ipswich have tried to sign Barnsley forward Marley Watkins in the last two transfer windows. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy admits he could make a fresh attempt to sign Barnsley forward Marley Watkins this summer.

It’s understood the Blues had £1m+ offers for the player rejected in the last two transfer windows and now Watkins, who had a transfer request rejected by his employers in January, is in the final few months of his contract.

With Town playing at Oakwell in a Championship clash this Saturday, McCarthy was asked about Watkins. He said: “We kind of picked up on him when we were doing analysis ahead of the first game of the season. Everything we watched we liked and whenever I’ve seen him since I do like him, yeah.”

Will he make a fresh approach to sign him this summer? He replied: “I don’t know, we’ll see, he’s out of contract.”

McCarthy was born and raised in Barnsley. He came through the ranks at his hometown club and made close to 300 appearances for the Tykes in the lower divisions before moving on to Manchester City, Celtic, Lyon and Millwall.

“As much as I always like going back, it will be sad for me on Saturday because it will be the first time in 42 years that Norman Rimmington (the club’s former keeper, coach, groundsman, physio and all-round legend) won’t be there,” said the Blues boss.


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McCarthy has always cited Rimmington as one of his biggest mentors and gave an emotional funeral speech after the 93-year-old died at the end of December.

The Tykes were promoted as League One play-off winners in 2016 following a barnstorming late run into sixth spot. They have enjoyed a fine first season back in the Championship, despite selling some key men, and currently occupy 11th spot.

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“Paul Heckingbottom is definitely a contender for manager of the year and they would be contenders for team of the year with as well as they’ve done,” said McCarthy.

“They came here first game of the season and impressed me then. They’ve sold players on, two to (Aston) Villa (Conor Hourihane and James Bree in January) and (Sam) Winnall to Sheffield Wednesday (also in January). He’s had to keep it ticking over, they’ve stuck with 4-4-2 and been terrific.”

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