Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy not reading too much into Championship table yet
PUBLISHED: 09:07 04 October 2017
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy doesn’t believe the Championship table will truly start to take shape until the turn of the year.
The Blues, who still have a game in hand on most, head into the second international break placed eighth in the standings after winning six and losing four of their opening 10 league matches.
It’s a surprise top six at present, with Cardiff and Wolves leading the way, newly-promoted Sheffield United – the team Town travel to a week on Saturday – in third, Bristol City fourth, Leeds fifth and Preston sixth.
“I don’t like putting numbers on it in terms of when the Championship table takes shape, but you generally find that the teams in and around the top six at Christmas are still there at the end of the season,” said McCarthy.
“I think it’s a much more open league to what it was last year though and we have already seen some bonkers results.
“I’ve been asked after games how far we can go? Are we good enough to get in the top six?
“We will end up where we deserve to end up after 46 games, but if we play to the standard we have done for a lot of this season – certainly at Leeds (3-2 away loss) and against Sunderland (5-2 home win), we will give ourselves a chance.”
Pre-season promotion favourites Aston Villa (7th), Fulham (10th) and Middlesbrough (11th) are all outside the top six, while hotly-tipped Derby (15th), Hull (17th) and Reading (20th) are struggling.
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“No-one’s going to be backing against any of them making the top six just yet,” said McCarthy. “I’ve said in the past that it inspires us playing against those sort of sides. We had a tough month last season (February) where we had Villa, Brighton, Leeds (as well as Norwich) and it ended up being our best month.
“Sometimes it’s hard for the ‘better’ teams when everyone is wound up to play you. But as the season goes on, they start to find their form, their shape, their balance and they become better.”
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Speaking in his programme notes prior to Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat to Bristol City, the Blues boss added: “When we kicked off this season, it was my mission to get that winning mentality back. To get you the supporters back with us, to entertain you. That is still the mission and we have taken a step forward. We have got to keep it going.”
Sat 14: Sheffield United (a)
Sun 22: Norwich City (h)
Sat 28: Burton Albion (a)
Tues 31: Cardiff City (a)
Sat 4: Preston (h)
Sat 18: Hull City (a)
Tues 21: Sheffield Weds (h)
Sat 25: Aston Villa (a)
Tues 28: Derby (a)