‘I’d like to give them a game’ – McCarthy waiting for right moment to hand Morris and Drinan their debuts

Ipswich Town are looking to build on their recent 1-0 win at Preston at Sheffield Wednesday tonight.

Ipswich Town are looking to build on their recent 1-0 win at Preston at Sheffield Wednesday tonight. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says he won’t start handing out league debuts to young players until his team’s play-off hopes are completely dead in the water.

The 13th-placed Blues head into tomorrow night’s clash at struggling Sheffield Wednesday nine points adrift of sixth-placed Bristol City with a game-in-hand on most courtesy of Saturday’s home game with Hull having been postponed due to the snow.

Town have claimed 13 points from their last 12 games. Replicate that over the final 12 matches and they will almost certainly end up mid-table. McCarthy doesn’t believe now is the time for any bold experiments, though.

With homegrown striker Ben Morris (18) and recently purchased Irish front man Aaron Drinan (19) both having been part of the travelling first-team party to Preston recently and then scoring for the Under-23s last Monday, the Blues boss said: “Aaron has impressed everyone since he’s come in (from Waterford). Ben looked really sharp, took a dip, but he’s come back and looked really sharp again these last two or three months.

“There’s a game on Thursday in the Under-23s and they will probably both be involved in that. They are both doing alright and as we get towards the back end of the season I’d like to give them a game.

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“I hope that’s the case, although I also hope it isn’t and we’re one point off the play-offs with five games to play. That would be nice, then we’d be playing all the regulars. But if we’re not, I’d like to give them a game.”

He continued: “We’re still in with an outside chance of the play-offs and who knows? You keep pecking away and you might get there but I don’t think so, even now.

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“I think the teams above are strong. I watched Bristol City dismantle Sheffield Wednesday (4-0 on Saturday) and I can’t imagine us getting nine more points than Bristol City or Sheffield United. But we’ll keep trying.”

It’s been 10 days since Town won 1-0 at Preston. Following tonight’s game at Hillsborough, against an Owls side who have lost four games on the spin, the Blues then face play-off chasing duo Sheffield United (h) and Bristol City (a) either side of the rearranged midweek fixture against lowly Hull.

Asked if he’d have preferred the Hull game to have been slotted into the schedule further down the line, McCarthy replied: “Not really. There was a (free) date in April apparently but, had we played Hull (on Saturday), we would still have been playing four games in a short period of time.”

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