POLL: Mick McCarthy’s formation quandary ahead of Leicester City visit
- Credit: Ashley Pickering
Ipswich Town will carry a goal threat against high-flying Leicester City tomorrow, regardless of the formation.
So says new boy Stephen Hunt as Blues fans wait to see which system manager Mick McCarthy starts with for the visit of the Championship’s second-placed side.
Following a string of uninspiring attacking displays, McCarthy abandoned his favoured 4-4-2 system with his side 1-0 down come half-time at Blackpool.
With seven-goal striker David McGoldrick operating in an advanced midfield role, behind a fluid front three of Frank Nouble, Daryl Murphy and Paul Taylor, the Blues came storming back to secure a dramatic 3-2 victory.
Will McCarthy start with that 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 formation tomorrow, or will he revert to a more structured and workmanlike set-up?
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Hunt – who is vying for a left-wing role himself – gave nothing away when interviewed yesterday.
“At Wolves we played 4-3-3 and 4-5-1 on numerous occasions, so the manager can change it up, for sure,” said the 32-year-old.
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“He may want to go back to 4-4-2, he may not, but I think you have to trust the manager in what he plays, then if he wants to change it up – like he did at Blackpool – you do it.
“Whatever we go with, players need to be clever enough to play the formation. When you cross that white line you have to make decisions for yourself.
“What I will say is that, from an attacking point of view, we’ve been banging in goals in training all week.
“Hopefully we can carry that into Saturday.”
Leicester are two points behind table-toppers Burnley after dropping just 13 points all season.
The Foxes lost at Charlton and Doncaster respectively heading into the first two international breaks, reacting with victories on both occasions. They are now looking to make that a hat-trick after going down to an unfortunate 2-0 loss to East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest little under a fortnight ago.
Nigel Pearson has a formation and selection dilemma of his own, with Anthony Knockaert serving a one-game suspension and no recognised right-winger in his small squad to call upon as a direct replacement.
It could see the visiting boss abandon a 4-4-2 system himself to accommodate personnel.
Striker David Nugent missed Leicester’s 1-0 defeat at Portman Road back in March due to injury, but the man who has scored 11 goals in 11 games against the Blues is ready to play the role of pantomime villain again.
He should be partnered by Chris Wood up front, the 21-year-old having returned from international duty with New Zealand early after being suspended for the second leg of their World Cup play-off defeat to Mexico.
Ipswich will make a late decision on their own All Whites international, centre-back Tommy Smith, who isn’t due back in the country until later this morning.