Mick McCarthy will take no risks at Newcastle United

Town manager Mick McCarthy and his assistant Terry Connor during the Ipswich Town v Burton Albion (S

Town manager Mick McCarthy and his assistant Terry Connor during the Ipswich Town v Burton Albion (Sky Bet Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 18 October 2016. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says it would be tantamount to tactical suicide to go all-out attack at Championship table-toppers Newcastle United this afternoon.

The Blues boss deployed a 4-4-2 formation in the goalless draw at Blackburn, Freddie Sears restored to his favoured forward role, and it was a game in which his team created several chances.

He then switched to a 4-2-3-1 system for the end-to-end 2-0 midweek home win over Burton. That match saw the subtle qualities of Teddy Bishop preferred to the grit of Jonathan Douglas in midfield.

They were the sort of bold line-ups many Blues fans had been crying out for, but McCarthy says today’s game requires a different approach.

With the Magpies having dropped just five points from their last 11 league games, he said: “More experienced and better managers than me have announced their intentions to be solid and not give goals away. If you do give goals away you have no chance because you’re always playing catch-up.


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“I know you can’t win games nil-nil – I fully understand that. We’re not just sitting back though, far from it. We leave two centre-backs and a sitting midfield player to defend when we are attacking.

“We don’t try and be defence-minded, but we are good defending. I’m hoping we’re going to be good at that on Saturday at Newcastle, because I think we’ll have to be.”

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He continued: “The experience of Dougie will help. He’s been terrific. I wanted to change the team for the home game and give him a chance to be ready for this one because he runs some miles and we’ll need that on Saturday. We’ll need a few others who can do that as well.

“If Newcastle get the chances that Burton had we’ll be picking the ball out of the net, no doubt.

“I chose to do what I did on Tuesday because I thought our front four would be better than their back four and thankfully I was right. I thought our back six would cope with their front six and how they play. I know that sounds simplistic, but that’s effectively what happened.

“We scored the first when our full-back has run at Lloyd Dyer, their left wing-back, and for the second goal their right wing-back was on the halfway line.

“It was that sort of wide open game with chances at both ends. I’m not so sure it will be that open on Saturday.”

When it was put to McCarthy that some fans would like to see Sears given a run up front in a 4-4-2 system, McCarthy replied: “I know fans want to see exciting, attacking football.

“Go and speak to the Dutch, who play 4-3-3 all the time, and ask if they see exciting, attacking football. Liverpool play 4-3-3 all the time and no-one says anything about that. Very rarely do teams play 4-4-2 these days.

“Newcastle won’t. They’ll have one up front and one dropped in, (Mo) Diame or someone else. It would be a little bit rich to go up there and expect us to batter them playing 4-4-2 wouldn’t it? Even for the most optimistic supporter.

“Anyway, I’m not into what supporters think. I’m into results. We’ve got four points from two games. That’s my job, not listening to everybody elses’ opinions.”

– Follow @Stuart_Watson on Twitter for live match updates.

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