No selection headache for boss Mick McCarthy after FA Cup loss at Portsmouth

Ainsley Maitland-Niles pulls a goal back at Portsmouth with a long range strike

Ainsley Maitland-Niles pulls a goal back at Portsmouth with a long range strike

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy admits none of his youngsters or fringe players have given him much of a selection headache following last night’s 2-1 defeat at League Two side Portsmouth in an FA Cup third round replay.

When the two teams first met at Portman Road, a much-changed Town side were fortunate to salvage a 2-2 draw against a team 45 places below them in the Football League pyramid. Tonight an even weaker line-up was beaten far more comfortably than the scoreline suggests.

Gary Roberts’ penalty and Marc McNulty’s header had put Pompey 2-0 up at the break, Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ long-range reply on the hour was the Blues’ only shot on target all game, while the visitors ended the game with 10-men after Piotr Malarczyk was sent-off for a second yellow card.

“It’s confirmed to me what I probably already know – my best side is the one that’s been playing,” said McCarthy, who left the vast majority of his senior players behind in Suffolk with Saturday’s Championship clash at top-six rivals Birmingham in mind.

“I couldn’t risk any of them. To have a chance of being in those play-offs I need that best team playing week-in, week-out.

You may also want to watch:

“Unfortunately that’s why some of the others had to play tonight. Did any of them give me a problem when I’m picking my team over the next few weeks? I don’t think so, no. I know the ones who are capable of playing.”

Asked if he had any regrets about changing his entire starting XI following Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Preston, he said: “None whatsoever.” Asked whether Portsmouth were the best team in both games, he simply said: “Yeah.”

Most Read

He added: “I’m disappointed to lose, of course I am. I didn’t come here to lose.

“It didn’t help that these haven’t played for 10 days – they looked fresh, they played well and they played well at our place too.

“It’s a shame our fans didn’t see a particularly good performance from the lads who came in. I think Brett (Pitman) and Reg (Luke Varney) up front had to work damn hard, Ainsley (Maitland-Niles), Luke (Hyam) and Tabby (Jay Tabb) too, but I was looking to some of the young ones who came in to give me something to think about.

“If I need them over the next 19 games they will have to perform but none of them have given me any great headaches in terms of picking them. I know who the best players are.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus