McCarthy: The bar has been set a lot higher this season

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy and assistant Terry Connor, pictured following Tuesday night's 2-1 h

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy and assistant Terry Connor, pictured following Tuesday night's 2-1 home win over their former club Wolves. Photo: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy insists his side have raised the bar in terms of standards and expectations.

The Blues host Watford in a mouth-watering fifth versus third Championship clash this afternoon.

Back-to-back wins against Blackpool and Wolves mean the Suffolk side are seven points better off than they were at this stage of last season.

Reflecting on Tuesday night’s impressive 2-1 victory over is former club, McCarthy said: “When you get a win against a team above you in the league who have been playing well then it does set the bar a little bit higher.

“It was interesting actually. I was speaking to Mark Kennedy (Under-21 manager) yesterday. That was the first time he’s seen us play this season and he was saying ‘it looks like the bar has been set a lot higher this year’.

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“That’s interesting hearing that from someone who hasn’t seen us from last season to this. That was nice to hear from someone whose opinion I respect. He’s seen that improvement in us.”

He continued: “I set the bar high for them all. We demand real high standards from them – and that’s in terms of everything; behaviour, time-keeping, good manners. It’s just a high standard.

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“If you get all of that off the pitch then you tend to get it on it as well.”

You always know that the absolute minimum you’re going to get from a McCarthy side is hard work and determination. And now, encouragingly, they are starting to show plenty of ability too.

“The loose cannons were fired out of the club a while ago weren’t they?” said the Blues boss, with a smile. “The loose cannons fire a fabulous pass or score a fabulous goal every now and again and it’s always them who are the ones fans sort of like and take to. They are the ones whose names get shouted by the people sat behind me.

“I hope people do recognise that the players that play for me all give everything, every single week. There are no flash in the pans. It’s a solid, sustainable unit. If one part is missing then somebody else goes in and does it.”

– See today’s EADT for full match preview. Follow @Stuart_Watson on Twitter for live match updates.

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