Warnock: McCarthy can get Ipswich promoted but he might need to strengthen

Neil Warnock has back Mick McCarthy to get Ipswich promoted

Neil Warnock has back Mick McCarthy to get Ipswich promoted - Credit: PA

Veteran manager Neil Warnock has backed Mick McCarthy to bring success to Portman Road – but believes the Blues may need to strengthen in the January transfer window for it to happen.

A smiling Mick McCarthy before the game on Saturday with Blackburn

A smiling Mick McCarthy before the game on Saturday with Blackburn

Speaking on a visit to Suffolk for a sportsman’s dinner, Warnock, who managed 13 clubs at every level during a colourful career, also revealed that he once came close to being appointed Blues manager himself – before losing out to Irishman Roy Keane.

The 66-year-old, who last managed Crystal Palace in the 2014/15 Premier League before being replaced by Alan Pardew, said McCarthy was the “best man for the job”.

The Blues have struggled in recent weeks, a sparkling start replaced by a poor run of form which has seen them win just one of their last six league games.

Town lost 2-0 at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, and go into the international break sitting 12th in the Championship table, having topped the league early in the season.

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Warnock said: “They (Town fans) are very fortunate in that they have a manager who has really over achieved with the tools he’s got over the past 12 months.

“The thing about Mick is the fans can trust him, he won’t let them down. As long as he is at the helm I think they will be there or thereabouts. Investment is the big thing. I know they haven’t spent loads but if they are going to have a chance at promotion they might need to spend a bit in January.

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“It’s also important expectations are not too high. That can add pressure. As long as the fans stay patient and think to themselves they are lucky they are there and keep the faith, they could have a chance.

“I always have a joke with Mick that he used to clean my boots when he was a YTS at Barnsley, but he is a good man and really looks after his players.

“There is always a team that maybe hasn’t spent loads but has the team spirit and does well. I think Ipswich can be that team.”

Warnock, who says he is enjoying retirement with his family at their home in the south-west, made the trip to Suffolk to speak at Walsham-le-Willows FC Sportsman’s Dinner.

In an hour-long Q&A, he revealed to the 250 guests how the county nearly became his home, saying afterwards: “I spoke to the chief executive and was going to come down and meet Marcus Evans, but then I got a phone call to say the club had decided to go in a different direction.

“That was when they appointed Roy Keane. These things happen in football, you don’t get too downhearted about them. I was interviewed by Norwich as well but that didn’t happen either.”

What’s going wrong at Portman Road? Get involved in our webchat from 12.30pm tomorrow to have your say and quiz sports writer Chris Brammer

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