McCarthy tips Watford and Boro for automatic promotion

Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy has tipped the Championship’s current top two – Watford and Middlesbrough – to go on and secure automatic promotion.

The Blues boss admitted, following last weekend’s 4-1 defeat at Middlesbrough, that his own side’s top-two hopes were all but over.

However, following Tuesday night’s 1-0 home win over Bolton, he still feels as though there is a slim chance.

One point and one place adrift of the play-off places with eight games to go, Town face league-leaders Watford at Vicarage Road tomorrow and then host third-place Bournemouth on Good Friday.

Asked who he thought would secure automatic promotion to the Premier League, McCarthy said: “The two that are there – I think Watford and Middlesbrough.

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“Middlesbrough look good having turned Derby over (1-0 at Pride Park on Tuesday night). You wouldn’t have thought that following their first half against us last weekend, but Patrick Bamford’s winner the other night was different class and if he can continue that form they will be hard to stop.

“I’m saying Watford and we’re playing them this weekend. Let’s hope we can put a dent in their promotion bid. Then we’ve got Bournemouth coming here.

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“We could either have our noses out of joint or be right back in it after those two games. Let’s hope it’s the latter.”

So does the Blues boss still feel as though his side’s top two challenge is still alive?

“If we win our next two games then there’s no reason why that couldn’t be the case,” he said.

“We’ve got to beat Watford away and Bournemouth at home though and that’s a big ask. I’m not sat here being naive about that.

“I still think that, realistically, we’re out of the top two places. I’m not into all the reverse psychology stuff, making out we’re going to win all of our remaining games. I don’t do that.

“But, that said, all the top teams have still got to play each other. And if we were to beat Watford and Bournemouth then we might be back in it. Who knows?”

With Wolves (who host Derby tonight) and Nottingham Forest both hot on Town’s heels, is McCarthy worried about the chasing pack?

“I’m not bothered about that,” he said. “Let’s just take care of the ones in front of us. If we catch them then we don’t have to worry about the ones behind us.”

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