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Blues miss Berra but Chambers at right-back is not the answer - for now at least

PUBLISHED: 17:48 03 November 2017 | UPDATED: 18:14 03 November 2017

Christophe Berra, pictured battling with former Blue Daryl Murphy.  Picture: STEVE WALLER

Christophe Berra, pictured battling with former Blue Daryl Murphy. Picture: STEVE WALLER

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Mick McCarthy has admitted his Ipswich Town defence is missing the physical presence of Christophe Berra, but believes switching Luke Chambers back to right-back is not the answer to the Blues’ defensive problems - for now at least.

Mick McCarthy has admitted his Ipswich Town defence is missing the physical presence of Christophe Berra, but he believes switching Luke Chambers back to right-back is not the answer to the Blues’ defensive problems - for now at least.

Berra left Portman Road and returned to Hearts in the summer, following four seasons in Suffolk which saw him establish himself as one of the league’s best defenders.

Only six Championship clubs have conceded more goals than the Blues this season, with McCarthy declaring his side took bad defending ‘to a whole new level’ in the 3-1 loss at Cardiff on Tuesday.

The Blues boss believes things could have been very different had Tommy Smith and Adam Webster not faced injury problems this season though.

READ: ‘If I was free I would go back in a heartbeat’ - McCarthy on Sunderland vacancy

Mick McCarthy won't be switching Luke Chambers back to right-back. Picture: STEVE WALLERMick McCarthy won't be switching Luke Chambers back to right-back. Picture: STEVE WALLER

“When he left I thought we would miss Christophe as a defender, there is no doubt about that. The amount of times he stuck his head or boot or knee in the way to block things,” McCarthy said.

“What has been difficult though, and hard to gauge, is that Tommy Smith has had a back operation and hasn’t been fully right yet. He’s fit to play but he’s not had that run of 20 games to be fully back in his pomp. Adam (Webster) has had an ankle injury which has kept him out for a long time so Chambo has been the one constant.

“He’s been assisted by Jonas (Knudsen), Jordan (Spence) and Dominic (Iorfa) so yes, we’ve missed him (Berra), but had they all been fit I don’t know. It might have been different.”

Chambers has played much of his football at right-back during his time at Portman Road, but Berra’s departure has prompted a return to the centre of defence.

READ: McCarthy backs ‘Championship babies’ to come back stronger after tough start

Mick McCarthy has refused to blame his side's poor defensive record simply on his central defening. Photo: Steve WallerMick McCarthy has refused to blame his side's poor defensive record simply on his central defening. Photo: Steve Waller

“Not tomorrow,” McCarthy said, when asked if his skipper could return to full-back at some stage.

“I think he’s been good, Chambo. That’s been the one constant there and maybe if he had a regular partner he could form a good partnership with then we might be better. It would be wrong of me to blame only centre-backs for the goals that are going in. There have been plenty of mistakes leading to goals.”

With Chambers set to continue in the middle, McCarthy has a decision to make on the right with both Iorfa and Spence struggling of late. Everton loanee Callum Connolly is an option.

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