Northstander: Job done. But hardly in a way that sets the pulse racing – and that’s the problem!

Mustapha Carayol is congratulated on scoring the winner at Deepdale. Picture Pagepix

Mustapha Carayol is congratulated on scoring the winner at Deepdale. Picture Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

It’s a great win at Preston, of course it is, but why oh why is Mick seemingly so unwilling to go for the jugular?, writes Terry Hunt

Dominic Iorfa with a first half chance at Preston Picture Pagepix

Dominic Iorfa with a first half chance at Preston Picture Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Our excellent win at Preston illustrates perfectly why the debate is raging among Town supporters over the future of Mick McCarthy.

It was undoubtedly a really good result. Deepdale is certainly not an easy place to go. But it’s how that victory was secured which exemplifies the arguments about whether McCarthy should go or stay.

In the first half, Ipswich were full of attacking intent and should have reached the interval with the game in the bag. New boy Carayol scored a really good goal, and was terrorising the home defence.

MORE: Eight observations from Town’s win at Preston

Then, just like the switching of a light, it all changed. At half-time, instead of going for the jugular, McCarthy’s ultra-cautious instincts held sway. Off went Carayol and on came battling midfielder Hyam.


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The result was a dour, scrappy second 45 minutes during which Town made sure they held what they had. ‘Every point’s a prisoner,’ in other words. Job done. But not in a way which sets the pulse racing.

Joe Garner leaping for a first half cross at Preston Picture Pagepix

Joe Garner leaping for a first half cross at Preston Picture Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

If Carayol was tiring, McCarthy could have introduced the exciting Celina, who stayed on the bench for the second consecutive away game. Who knows what would have happened. We will never know, because McCarthy wasn’t prepared to take the risk. Safety first always.

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Believe it or not, I think McCarthy has done a good job - to a point. He sorted out the mess which he inherited and stabilised the club. We will always be thankful for that.

MORE: Preston 0 Town 1, full match report

Despite a very tight budget, he has built a decent squad. If he hadn’t been for wretched luck with injuries, we could be challenging for the top six.

Those are the positives. For me, the big negatives are his oh-so risk averse approach, his lack of faith in promising youngsters and, finally, his appalling record in the FA Cup.

A cup run or two would have brought excitement to otherwise drab campaigns. Look at Wigan beating Manchester City. It’s made their season.

Ultimately, I guess we fans are dreamers and romantics, aren’t we? We want our team to play the beautiful game in a beautiful way. Hardened football professionals see it very differently. That’s why so many Town fans aren’t seeing eye to eye with Mick McCarthy.

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