‘Come and support the lads – make it an atmosphere’: McCarthy wants Portman Road rocking
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says a partisan crowd can make a ‘hell of a difference’ to his team ahead of a crunch double header at Portman Road.
The Blues, who still have an outside shot of a late run to the Championship play-off places following back-to-back away wins against Preston and Sheffield Wednesday, now host Sheffield United (tomorrow, 3pm) and Hull City (Tuesday).
Unbeaten in their last five on the road, Town have managed just one win in their last seven on Suffolk soil and scored just two goals in those matches. League attendances have dipped to a near 20-year low.
More often than not the atmosphere has been flat, while toxic chants from a section of fans have been a recurring theme over a largely forgettable 18 months of home football from the Blues.
Asked if that has had an affect on his team’s performances, McCarthy said: “I’m not going to blame that, not a chance, but the home crowd is a big advantage if it’s partisan and noisy and they support the players.
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“If it’s rubbish then boo at the end, by all means. I’m cool with that. But at Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night, what was it – 22,000 there? To be fair they were still trying to get their team going.”
Quizzed whether the onus should be on the players to lift the crowd or the crowd to lift the players, the Blues boss replied: “It’s our job to play well to try and entertain and win games. But surely if I go anywhere – to the pictures or the cinema or the football – I go with the intention of enjoying it and supporting it.
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“Come and support the lads, come and get behind them, make it an atmosphere – it makes a hell of a difference. Bloomin’ hell we went to Sheffield United and it was throbbing that place.
“We’ve had that over the years. I remember beating Palace 3-0 on a Tuesday night and slapping Middlesbrough here. The place was rocking then and I’d like to get it like that again because we all enjoy it more then.”
He added: “I go back to that Crystal Palace game I’ve just mentioned. We were getting a bit of a doing here and Stears (Richard Stearman) went flying into an unbelievable challenge and that set everything off.
“It does help if you’ve got the support of the fans. What I would say is don’t come not wanting to support the team – that’s the big difference.”