Reaction: Preston boss jokingly tells Mick McCarthy that transfer target Jordan Hugill is worth four million after his late leveller against Ipswich

Mick McCarthy at Deepdale for the match against Preston

Mick McCarthy at Deepdale for the match against Preston

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy said he was disappointed with the result, but delighted with the performance of his players after a 1-1 draw at Preston in the Championship this afternoon.

Leicester loanee Tom Lawrence produced another wonder strike to put the Blues in front in the 16th minute, but Hugill – reportedly subject of a rejected £2m transfer bid from Town recently – was in the right place at the right time to net an 89th minute equaliser.

“I thought it was a really good performance from my team today,” said McCarthy. “Some bits were excellent. I thought we defended well and they got lucky with the goal because it wasn’t a great cross, (Aiden) McGeady just tipped it on and it’s Sod’s Law that falls to Hugill.

“I thought we had enough chances on the break, didn’t make enough of them and although I’m disappointed we didn’t win, I’m delighted with how we played.”

With the transfer window closing at 11pm on Tuesday, Lilywhites boss Simon Grayson has said the Lancashire club are not selling any of their best players.

McCarthy said: “Simon just nudged me and said ‘four million’.” A tongue-in-cheek comment? “We’re having a game and we’re two managers who know each other and know what’s been going on – what do you think? We’ve got a good relationship and a good rapport.”

Is Hugill out of his price range? After a pause, McCarthy replied: “We’ll see what we’re doing. I don’t know.”

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Does he want to make more signings before the window shuts?

“Yeah, of course, but if I get that level of performance out of my team every week then I’ll be happy. If we don’t get anybody else, that’s got to be a must every week now.”

When it was put to McCarthy that today’s performance from his players was a good response to recent criticism, he said: “There’s been criticism of my negative style and pragmatism which I think is b******s to be quite honest. Yes, I’m pragmatic because I want to win games and it doesn’t really matter how I win them.

“That’s how we set up to play every single week to try and play like that. It doesn’t always happen, but that’s what we try. We have predominantly been 4-4-2, with wingers and both full-backs pushed on and leave three at the back – two centre-halves and midfielder looking after it. If that’s being pragmatic and careful and cautious then my aunt’s a f*****g Dutch woman.”

On his latest addition, winger Danny Rowe purchased from Macclesfield Town, he explained: “I’ve a pal who scouts for me, Mike Williams, and he’s been banging on to me about him. He lives in Wilmslow and watches Macclesfield quite a lot.

“He’s quick and he likes to take people on. I asked some of my mates in the National League what they thought of him and each and every one of them said ‘good player’.”

On debutant Toumani Diagouraga, who lasted just under an hour, McCarthy said: “He’s a good player, I’ve been delighted with him, but he just ran out of gas. It’s not surprising when he’s not played a game at that intensity for six months, but he’s shown everybody that he can handle the ball.”

And on jettisoned striker Leon Best, he said: “He’s no chance of playing for me again.” Pressed on the issue, he would only say: “I just expect more.”

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