Mick McCarthy says Elliott Bennett is a player ‘he likes’

Luke Hyam holds off Jean-louis Akpa Akpro at Barnet last night

Luke Hyam holds off Jean-louis Akpa Akpro at Barnet last night

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy picked out Andre Dozzell, James Blanchfield and Cameron Stewart for praise after tonight’s 1-0 pre-season defeat at Barnet and would only say reported transfer target Elliott Bennett is a player ‘he likes’.

The Blues were outplayed by their League Two hosts in a goalless first half, but a completely different team was far brighter in the second period only for a Tommy Smith blind back-pass to lead to Dean Gerken conceding a penalty which John Akinde converted.

“It was a good work out for us,” said McCarthy. “I knew it would be a competitive game for us against a Martin Allen team. I guess when a second division team plays a Championship team it’s always going to be competitive.

“I didn’t think there was much in the first half and I thought we were considerably the better team in the second half, but we conceded a stupid penalty from the back-pass.

“Without creating loads of chances I thought we passed the ball around well.

“Dozza is a good player. I thought James Blanchfield was very good in the second half too. Cameron Stewart played well and his delivery from set-pieces was excellent. It was just a much better performance in the second half.”

He added: “I’d sooner win. I really hate losing. We were desperately trying to get something out of it at the end. People see that we’ve lost and it reflects badly on us that we lose to a second division team, but whatever happens in pre-season, everything will be defined by what we do against Barnsley and the games after that.”

Most Read

Asked about national reports linking him with Blackburn winger Elliott Bennett, he replied: “I’ve openly said I need some wide players so everybody is going to put two and two together and get five. I had Elliott at Wolves and I like him.”

Asked if he could comment further, he said: “No. I can’t. It’s unfair to speak about any players under contract. All I can say is I know him from Wolves.”

Speedy winger Bennett – who made 67 appearances for Norwich City between 2011 and 2016 – had loan spells at Brighton and Bristol City before signing for Blackburn in January. He signed a two-and-a-half year deal, but manager Paul Lambert has since been replaced by Owen Coyle at Ewood Park.

Rovers recently signed recent Blues loanee winger and transfer target Liam Feeney after his release by Bolton.

McCarthy added: “We’ll get to know if we can do any loan deals with Premier League clubs when they come back from their pre-season tours. We’re kind of waiting on answers on a number of different things that we’re trying to do, players that we’re trying to bring in. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter