Mission possible – Mick McCarthy emphatically rejects the notion that his side are underdogs against Norwich City

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy has emphatically rejected the notion that his side are underdogs heading into a two-legged Championship play-off semi-final with arch rivals Norwich City.

The Canaries – fresh from three years in the Premier League – narrowly missed out on automatic promotion, while the low-budget Blues – playing their 13th successive season in the second tier – secured sixth spot on goal difference.

Ipswich lost both league games against their Norfolk neighbours this season, 1-0 at home and 2-0 away, but McCarthy insists it’s very much mission possible heading into this lunchtime’s first leg at Portman Road (12.15pm).

“They’ve got a really good squad of players and a good team, but I think we have too,” said the Blues boss.

“They’ve spent a lot of money, Alex Neil obviously has a talent for management and everybody is going to suggest we are underdogs.

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“But when I look at my players I don’t think we’re underdogs to anybody.”

He continued: “I thought they would go up automatically, but they’re in the play-offs with us now. If they weren’t beatable that wouldn’t be the case would it?

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“We all have our failings and our strengths and they’re no different.

“They’ve had a couple of bad results and that just shows you that we can all have them. Even the best teams and the best squads can have those iffy results and iffy performances.”

McCarthy has hinted that talismanic striker David McGoldrick, a long-term absentee, could play some part in the two games. Norwich meanwhile are without suspended front man Lewis Grabban for both legs, while key trio Alex Tettey, Cameron Jerome and Steven Whittaker are all injury doubts.

With the return leg at Carrow Road a week today, McCarthy added: “If other people think they are the favourites then great. If that adds a little bit of pressure on them and causes them to tighten up a bit then happy days. I think we are both more than capable of winning it though.”

– See today’s EADT for full match preview. Follow @Stuart_Watson on Twitter for live match updates.

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