Mick McCarthy wants Ipswich Town to enthuse the fans today

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy wants his side to re-enthuse supporters at Portman Road today in what will be their final warm-up ahead of the new Championship season, against Belgian second-tier side Royale Union Saint-Gilloise (3pm ko).

The Blues played out some forgettable home matches at the back end of last season and though a seventh place finish was hardly a disaster, the lack of entertainment value has led to around 1,000 less season tickets being sold compared to this time last year.

In David McGoldrick and Teddy Bishop, McCarthy two players with real x-factor available again following long-term injuries though, while teenager Andre Dozzell is an exciting prospect.

Summer signing Adam Webster has been brought in to help the team pass out of the back more, while pre-season has been an exercise in developing some possession football.

“It’s important that the people who come and see us are excited by it,” said McCarthy, when asked about today’s game. “I hear all the fans telling me at our Open Day that they are excited that the season is coming, as we are, but we need to entertain them, to enthuse them and to get them back and coming through the doors to watch us.

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“It would be nice to go into the season on the back of a win.”

Town start their 15th successive season in the second-tier with a home game against newly-promoted Barnsley next Saturday. Many supporters seem uninspired at present given McCarthy has made just two signings so far this summer – Webster and fellow centre-back Paul Digby – while the team have managed just two goals in pre-season games against lower league sides Barnet (lost 1-0), Colchester (won 1-0), Cambridge (drew 1-1) and Charlton (drew 0-0).

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“To be fair, I think our pre-season games have been decent,” said McCarthy. “I watched Wimbledon against Crystal Palace last night and boy that was a real slow tempo. I think we’ve played some decent stuff. Against Charlton we played well and just couldn’t score. I was pleased with that performance.

“I’m alright with it. I tell you every pre-season that it’s just about getting everyone through. We’ve pretty much done that – at the moment it’s only Pits (Brett Pitman) who has a sore toe and Luke Hyam who has a sore knee. Other than that we’re doing alright. We’ll get to the first game with hopefully a fully fit squad.”

Admitting he knew ‘absolutely nothing’ about today’s opponents, he added: “We lost some real key influential players last year in Didz (David McGoldrick), Murph (Daryl Murphy), Ryan Fraser and Bish (Bishop). I don’t know anybody else with a squad like mine that would have coped with that and still finished seventh. Had we kept them fit I think we might have got in that top pack.

“Those players need to be fit. And if they are, then rest assured they will be playing because the best players play.”

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