McCarthy tips Bournemouth for the top six, but says Ipswich head south with ‘no fear’

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy is under no illusions as to just how tough tomorrow’s match at AFC Bournemouth is going to be.

It’s a mouth-watering top-six Championship clash at the Fitness First Stadium.

More than 1,300 Blues fans are making the journey down to the south coast after McCarthy’s men won successive matches against Blackpool, Wolves and Watford heading into last weekend’s international break.

Eddie Howe’s Cherries – promoted back to the second tier for the first time since 1990 last year – are on an even better run of form, their goalless draw at fellow high-fliers Middlesbrough following a run of seven straight wins in all competitions.

“I thought we had two really hard games against them last year – it was 1-1 down there and 2-2 up here,” said McCarthy. “Both of us just missed out on the play-offs and both of us are in there competing again.

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“Nobody can fool me into thinking that it’s a nice, little humble football club. If you go somewhere and treat it like that then you get a nice little humble slap.

“It’s not ‘homely, little Bournemouth’ because they’ve spent a few quid and have got players on good wages. I think they’ll be in the play-offs at least. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.

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“That said, we never fear anybody. There’s no point in that is there? We’ll go and have a go at it knowing we’ll have to play well to get something.

“I’m sure Eddie Howe is thinking the same about us. They know if they don’t play well then we could run all over them.”

Injured loanee Jonny Williams has returned to parent club Crystal Palace to undergo rehab on his thigh and may not return to Portman Road, but McCarthy otherwise has a fully-fit squad to select from.

Keeper Dean Gerken and midfielder Cole Skuse are available again after overcoming groin injuries, while Luke Hyam has served his one-match suspension.

The Blues boss must therefore decide whether to stick with the players who have served him well of late, keeper Bartosz Bialkowski doing little wrong over the last three matches and midfielders Kevin Bru and Jay Tabb impressing.

The quartet of players who have been away on international duty – David McGoldrick, Daryl Murphy (both Republic of Ireland), Christophe Berra (Scotland) and Tommy Smith (New Zealand) – have all returned injury-free.

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

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