Mind games from Mick over Leeds striker Ross McCormack

Leeds striker Ross McCormack

Leeds striker Ross McCormack - Credit: Archant

Leeds v Ipswich: Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy hopes that Leeds goal machine and captain Ross McCormack has been unsettled by West Ham’s well-publicised transfer pursuit.

The Blues – bouyed by Saturday’s impressive 2-0 home win over Reading – have a golden chance to break back into the Championship play-off places tonight when they face the Yorkshire side at Elland Road.

Brian McDermott’s side have lost their last five matches in all competitions and are winless in seven, but they will have the fresher legs tonight having not played at the weekend.

McCormack is undoubtedly the hosts’ danger man, the Scot leading the division’s scoring charts with 17 goals in 26 games.

It’s a run of form which led struggling Premier League side West Ham to make a £4m offer for his signature ahead of Friday’s transfer deadline. Leeds chairman Salah Nouruddin revealed that the club rejected that bid last week, though the Hammers are reportedly ready to return with an improved £5m deal.

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“I’ve been on to (West Ham boss) Sam (Allardyce) and told him he’s great and should sign him before we go up there!” said McCarthy. “He’s a very good player, one of the leading goalscorers in the division and has been their talisman.

The fact that a Premier League club is talking about him might be upsetting him a bit. We’ll find out on Tuesday. Brian McDermott is my mate, I really like him, but I’ll take any advantage I can get to beat him. I tend to like managers more after I’ve beaten them.”

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Ipswich, meanwhile, have a striker in top form but flying slightly under the radar a little in Daryl Murphy. The Irishman produced another eye-catching performance at the weekend, taking his goal tally for the campaign to eight. “It’s the best form I’ve seen of him,” admitted McCarthy.

“He was a little bit wet behind the ears when I signed him at Sunderland (from Irish club Waterford). He was on loan here a lot wasn’t he? I think he was due a testimonial! I wanted to sign him permanently because that helps. He feels wanted, he feels secure in the place and has got that number nine on his back – he’s the first choice. He’s been really good for me, I’m delighted with him.”

– Follow @Stuart_Watson on Twitter for live match updates.

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