Mick McCarthy hopes his withering comments about Jay Emmanuel-Thomas won’t come back to haunt him on Boxing Day

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, in action for QPR

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, in action for QPR - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas returns to Portman Road for the first time on Saturday and Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy is hoping his withering comments about the enigmatic winger won’t come back to haunt him when his side face QPR.

The Blues boss memorably said in 2012 that he would only call the former Arsenal player by his nickname of JET ‘when it looks like he has got a rocket up his backside’.

There was also the time, when a journalist said that the skilful forward ‘excited’ him, that McCarthy replied: “Halle Berry excites me, but I wouldn’t play her.”

“They’re great lines for him to come back and haunt me I suppose,” joked McCarthy, when reminded of the above.

“That’s exactly how I felt and I haven’t changed my opinion on that. I tell you what, I will speak to you about Jay after the game.

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“It’s sod’s law when ex-players come back and score against you. That’s just the way it is. I’m not going to talk about him in the build-up.”

McCarthy and Emmanuel-Thomas was never a match made in heaven. One is a pragmatic Yorkshireman who demands hard graft and consistency from his players, while the other is a languid Londoner who makes no secret of the fact that he is ‘laid back’.

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As a result, the man who Paul Jewell paid £1.1m for ended up being sent to League One Bristol City in a swap deal for Paul Anderson.

At the Robins it was the same old story for Emmanuel-Thomas. One week he would light up games with his intoxicating brand of trickery, power, strength and shooting ability. The next week he would largely be anonymous. The result was that he was released from his contract after playing a bit-part role in the Robins’ promotion to the second-tier.

QPR, just relegated from the top-flight, decided to hand him a lifeline. And so far he has scored five goals in seven starts and six substitute appearances. Chris Ramsey praised Emmanuel-Thomas for ‘getting his head screwed on’, while new R’s boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has used him as a sub in two of his three games in charge.

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