Mick McCarthy wishes his side had lost at home to Preston in the FA Cup instead of being disrupted by the 500-mile round trip midweek replay

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy wishes his side had lost at home against League One side Preston in the FA Cup third round.

A much-changed side drew the match 1-1, with the Blues making a 500-mile round-trip to Deepdale for a Tuesday night replay which they lost 3-2.

Town produced a limp display four days later, going down 1-0 at Millwall, with McCarthy admitting the extra travel had not helped his side.

“We’d had a disturbed week,” said the Blues boss. “I don’t do excuses and I think I’m as honest as anybody, but we did have a Tuesday game.

“Not everyone travelled up there, but we travelled on Monday, so the players that didn’t travel didn’t get to train with the first team on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. The lads that we did take then didn’t train Thursday, so the first time we really got chance to do anything (as a group) was on the Friday.

“I’m not using that as an excuse, but it didn’t help. When you go 1-0 down in the manner we did, Millwall got a lift and it just knocked us. We didn’t play well after that.”

In hindsight, does he regret making so many changes to his team in the FA Cup?

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“Yeah, I regret it,” he answered. “I wish we’d have been beaten in the first game and then we wouldn’t have had to go up there.

“I didn’t want to lose at the time, but now we’ve had the trip and got back at half past three... Let me tell you, I was knackered for two days and I didn’t play. It does take its toll.

“I’ve got no regrets over my line-up though, not at all. We had good enough players out there to win it.”

Meanwhile, McCarthy refused to be drawn on whether he will offer centre-back Titus Bramble a pay-as-you-play deal at Ipswich Town.

The Town academy graduate – who went on to play for Newcastle, Wigan and Sunderland – is currently a free agent.

“He’s training with us while he’s recovering from injury,” said McCarthy. “He’s good around the place and sponsors the academy. I don’t know what will happen. He’s not fit yet.”

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