‘Mystic Mick’ looks for March momentum after conquering fearsome February

Ipswich Town fans celebrate Jonas Knudsen's goal at Norwich City last Sunday. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

Ipswich Town fans celebrate Jonas Knudsen's goal at Norwich City last Sunday. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy once proclaimed that his initials don’t stand for ‘Merlin the Magician’ when facing an injury crisis. Perhaps they mean ‘Mystic Mick’ instead.

Jonas Knudsen savours the moment after giving Ipswich the lead at Norwich last Sunday. Town are unbe

Jonas Knudsen savours the moment after giving Ipswich the lead at Norwich last Sunday. Town are unbeaten in five. Photo: PAGEPIX

When Blues fans were questioning where the next point was coming from, ahead of a fearsome looking February fixture list, McCarthy boldly claimed that his team would rise to the occasion of facing so-called stronger opposition.

A five-game unbeaten run duly followed – including a win at Aston Villa and draws against Reading, Brighton, Leeds and Norwich – and has provided a timely boost of positivity ahead of back-to-back home games against Brentford (Saturday) and Wolves (Tuesday).

“I think me saying that was more to do with the fact that I wasn’t just resigning myself that we were going to simply keep playing like we had been doing,” said McCarthy. “I thought those games would inspire the lads because I know what they are like.

“That’s not to suggest that the rest of the games aren’t going to inspire them. That’s wrong.


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“Also I’d seen how the players who had come in (at the end of the January transfer window) had helped.

“And there was no point me coming in and saying ‘well, we’ve had a bad time so we’ll probably be s*** against the good teams as well’ was there?!”

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Brentford, like Ipswich, have had an inconsistent season. Dean Smith’s side come into tomorrow’s game one point ahead of the Blues in the Championship following recent wins against Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham.

Paul Lambert’s Wolves, meanwhile, are currently just two points above the drop zone.

“I just want us to keep playing the way we’ve been playing – with the same energy levels and same intensity and producing the same football that we’ve produced over the last five weeks,” said McCarthy, who will be able to call upon star man Tom Lawrence again following a two-game ban.

“Everybody is feeling better about the team. There’s a bit more belief about us that we can win more games than not.

“I’m a lot happier with how we are playing now, but it doesn’t stop. We’re very mindful of the fact that we’ve now got two important home games.”

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