Mick McCarthy’s play-off record isn’t great, but he still loves the format

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy. Photo: PAGEPIX LTD

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy. Photo: PAGEPIX LTD - Credit: sarah lucy brown

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy hopes there will be no whinging from the Norwich City camp if they lose the East Anglian derby two-legged Championship play-off semi-final.

The cross-border rivals face other at Portman Road on Saturday and will then contest the return match at Carrow Road seven days later, both games kicking off at 12.15pm.

Third-placed Norwich narrowly missed out on automatic promotion and finished eight points clear of sixth-placed Ipswich, who they beat twice in the league (1-0 in Suffolk and 2-0 in Norfolk).

“I’m a big fan of the play-off system,” said McCarthy. “My record in them is not great (he lost second tier semi-finals with Millwall, Sunderland and Wolves), in fact I was the first to suffer disappointment when they were introduced, but I still think they’re brilliant.

“Everybody always wants to reinvent the world. It strikes me that it works perfectly well. If you finish third and you feel a bit peeved that you’re playing the team that finished sixth and however many points behind you, well you knew that at the start of the season.


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“Finish second or first and they you don’t have to whinge about the rules when you get there.

“I had to accept them 20-odd years ago when I was at Millwall and we finished third. We lost to Derby having finished loads of points clear of them. I got on with it though. You’ve got to.”

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He continued: “The play-off system makes the league exciting. It keeps a good two thirds of the league fighting for something for the majority of the season.

“I remember Crystal Palace being bottom, going on an unbelievable run to finish sixth and winning the play-offs. I like the way this league is structured. In fact I like it so much I want to get out of it!”

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