Mick McCarthy says he may have to speak to owner Marcus Evans in the summer about transfer budget

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy. Photo: PAGEPIX LTD

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy. Photo: PAGEPIX LTD

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy has dropped his biggest hint yet that he is unhappy with the limited transfer budget provided by owner Marcus Evans.

Restricted almost exclusively to free transfers and loan deals, the experienced Yorkshireman has worked minor miracles during his three-and-a-half years at Portman Road, saving the club from relegation and then overseeing Championship finishes of ninth and sixth.

Recently there have been some worrying signs that a glass ceiling has been hit under such a frugal spending philosophy though. While virtually all of their promotion rivals strengthened in the January transfer window, Town did not and a spate of injuries to key players has left the squad suddenly looking short on quality.

Five defeats from six in all competitions has seen Ipswich exit the FA Cup and slip to 10th in the table ahead of this afternoon’s match at Huddersfield Town. Increasingly, supporters are beginning to wonder what the long-term plan is for a club that has been in English football’s second-tier for 14 successive seasons.

“I think as a team, as a squad, as a club, we’ve been pretty good over the last three-and-a-half years,” said McCarthy. “Maybe we’ve constantly batted above where everyone thought we would be. I wonder how long you can do that for? I don’t know. We’ve done it pretty consistently so far. But we’ve had a bit of a dip and what we’ve got to be careful is saying everything is wrong. We’ve got to continue to believe in what we do and hopefully get a few players back in the team.”

Does that mean, therefore, that having consistently produced teams that have ‘punched above their weight’ he will need to ask Evans for more financial backing?

“Perhaps, but that’s not for now,” replied McCarthy. “We’ll see where we finish up. Everybody gets frustrated. When it’s constantly going up it’s great. All the players come in with a smile on their face, all the fans love it, I love it, but when it gets tough everyone starts questioning everything. The answer, just for now, has to be within here; from me, TC (Terry Connor) and the players.”

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Is this the toughest period of his Ipswich career? “Not really,” said McCarthy. “I reckon going to Millwall, drawing nil-nil, everyone else winning and being three points above the relegation zone was probably the toughest part. This is the second toughest time though because for the last three-and-a-half years we’ve always been on the up and at the moment, sadly, we’re on a slippery slope. We want to arrest that.”

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