Team news: McCarthy will freshen his side up for FA Cup tie at Southampton
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy will make changes to his in-form side for Sunday’s FA Cup third round tie at high-flying Premier League outfit Southampton.
The Blues are second in the Championship table, Tuesday night’s 3-0 home win over Charlton extending their unbeaten run to 11 games, while Ronald Koeman’s Saints are fourth in the top-flight following last night’s 2-0 home win over Arsenal.
A £10 ticket promotion means the game at St Mary’s is a sell-out, with around 5,500 away fans set to pack the Northam Stand.
Asked if he’ll freshen his side up, with a crunch second versus third league match with Derby coming at Portman Road the following weekend, McCarthy replied: “I will, but we’ve got a squad of 20 and they are all first team players. I won’t be putting in kids and young lads who have never had a game, but there will be a few changes.
“Gerks (Dean Gerken) will play, that’s for certain. Bart’s (Bartosz Bialkowski) has been outstanding, but he could get injured and I’d need Gerks ready to go again. I’ve got to keep him in tip-top condition, so that’s one change I’ll make. That’s hardly weakening anything though is it?”
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The Blues boss has a full squad to select from following the return to fitness of Tyrone Mings and Luke Hyam. Striker Connor Sammon, on a season-long loan from Derby, is available to play too, though recent Leeds loanee Noel Hunt has returned to Elland Road after coming to the end of his short-term deal.
“There’s nothing on that at the moment,” said Mccarthy, when asked about the prospect of Hunt returning to Portman Road. “We took him until January the third, he can’t play in the Cup so he’s gone back. I’m just leaving it to Hunty. I’m not sure what’s going to happen there.”
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With Sammon and Balint Bajner the back-up options to the in-form strike duo of Daryl Murphy and David McGoldrick, does McCarthy want more forward options for the second half of the campaign?
“If we can,” he said. “If there’s somebody available, of course. I don’t know yet if that person will be there. We want to be as strong as we possibly can. Hunty helped us along, but that’s for him and Leeds to sort out. There’s no arrangement at the moment.”
Popular midfielder Jonny Williams saw a second loan spell at Town cut short by injury back in November. Neil Warnock had been planning on playing the Welsh international upon his return to fitness, but since then Alan Pardew has replaced Warnock in the Crystal Palace hot-seat. Does that mean Ipswich could get Williams back for another loan spell?
“No, I don’t think there’s any chance of that,” said McCarthy. “If Alan Pardew was to say to Jonny Williams ‘you’re not what I want’ then I think Jonny – or his agent – would be on the phone to us.
“Neil Warnock would have used him if he was fit. I think he’s getting to that level now and I think Alan will want to have a look at every single player he’s got and make his own judgement.”
Southampton are also set to make changes on Sunday following a tough Christmas period which saw them get back on track with wins over Everton (3-0 at home) and Crystal palace (3-1 away) proceeding a 1-1 home draw with Chelsea and last night’s 2-0 home win over Arsenal.
In-form winger Saido Mane, who has scored there goals in three games, is set to miss out through injury, while the likes of Fraser Forster, Victor Wanyama and Graziano Pelle could be rested.
Young players such as Matt Targett, Lloyd Isgrove, Harrison Reed could be given an opportunity, while experienced fringe players such as Shane Long and Morgan Schneiderlin – available again following suspension – may start.