Mick McCarthy ‘glad’ about Fulham link – and so he should be. It serves as a timely reminder of his stature in the game
Ipswich Town are still very much in this promotion race.
If, however, they do fall short then there will be a section of supporters who question whether manager Mick McCarthy is the man to take the club forward.
Dwelling on perceived ‘long ball’ tactics would be both disingenuous and unfair though because there is no doubt that the Yorkshireman has worked minor miracles in his two-and-a-half years at Portman Road.
He inherited a team that was rock-bottom and in a mess, kept them up, reduced the wage bill, laid down solid foundations with a ninth-place finish and will end up leading an improved squad to a higher position and points tally this time around. Oh, and all on a shoestring transfer budget.
The likes of Teddy Bishop, Kevin Bru, Jonny Williams, Tyrone Mings and David McGoldrick are not exactly boring players to watch either.
And that’s why the Blues boss admits he was glad to hear his name linked with Championship rivals Fulham earlier this week. It was a timely reminder to fans that they’ve got a boss that most clubs in this division would love to have in charge.
“I had somebody tell me about that the other day and I said ‘there’s nothing I can do about it’,” said McCarthy, when asked about the report in an Irish paper which said Cottagers owner Shahid Khan is willing to meet Town’s compensation requirements to land the Blues boss on a four-year contract worth £7.3 million this summer.
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“If somebody mentions my name (with another club) then it means I’m doing a good job doesn’t it? That’s great if somebody thinks that.
“I signed a three-year contract here last summer and am happy here. But if Manchester United come and ask for me then I’ll be there.
“That is the case in point. Man United won’t be asking me and I won’t be going up there. I did sign that contract and I’m happy with it. I’m delighted to be here.
“I cannot do anything about what people write. Do you know what though? I’m kind of glad that my name does get a mention because I see some other names that get a mention for jobs and I think ‘how the flipping hell is that happening?!’
“I’ve been doing this for 23 years and have as good a record in the Championship – probably better – than anybody.”
Asked if it was now fashionable for owners and fans to want ‘young, hungry managers with innovative new ideas’, McCarthy replied: “I remember when me and Brucey (Steve Bruce) were out of work and having a little bleat about it. Maybe we are kind of seen as ‘old school’. It kind of works though doesn’t it? And I don’t know how many new ideas people have to be honest.”
Jokingly asked how long a contract he would be signing with Manchester United this summer, he quipped: “I might just ask for a six month deal there and then move on to Real Madrid! Let me just stress, I want to get promoted with us. That’s my bag.”
Today’s opponents at Portman Road, Blackpool, had their relegation to League One confirmed this week and still need two more points to avoid finishing with the lowest points total ever in the Championship.
Lee Clark’s side have picked up of late though, drawing their last three matches 1-1 (Leeds at home, Bolton away and Reading at home).
“It makes them dangerous opposition,” said McCarthy. “They’ll probably play with a bit of gay abandon because they have nothing to lose. It’s what we do though; it’s how we play. If we play to our full potential then I expect us to win every game.”
When it was put to McCarthy that some supporters may be thinking his side have blown a golden shot at promotion, he replied: “The ones who start to think they’ve blown it will be the ones that will end up blowing it. I’m out there every day encouraging my players and telling them we can still do this. With the games that we’ve got there’s no reason why we can’t. I won’t be giving up and neither will the players.”
– Follow @Stuart_Watson on Twitter for live match updates.