McCarthy ready to experiment with team now play-offs seemingly out of reach
PUBLISHED: 06:00 21 February 2018
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Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says he’s ready to start experimenting with his side now that a Championship play-off place looks out of reach.
The Blues boss admitted prior to Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Norwich City that failure to win would, realistically, end ever-fading hopes of a top-six charge.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s visit of Neil Warnock’s automatic promotion-chasing Cardiff City, McCarthy said: “I’m not writing it off because I never would, but we’re now playing a team who hasn’t lost since New Year’s Day and there are some really good teams in the top six.
“We’re eight points behind them all (prior to last night’s games), there are 14 games to play and the top six teams generally get one-and-a-half points a game, maybe more.
“So they are going to get 21 points which leaves us needing 30 points from 14 games and we’ve not had that form all season. So unless the form book completely collapses it’s unlikely but we’ll try and make it to up that tally.”
Asked if he might use these final 14 games to experiment with his team and build for the future, McCarthy said: “If we get them all fit. It’s not a shame Flynn (Downes) is out because he’s been sent out (on loan to League Two side Luton Town) for a reason and he’s doing great.
“But certainly Tristan (Nydam) and certainly Ben Morris (could play) and we can actually have Luke Woolfenden back as well because he’s in the National League (at Bromley).
“Yes, I would use the games to play some of those players and develop them for the future.”
When it was put to him that it would be easy to ignore player development over the next few games given his own uncertain future, McCarthy replied: “I’ve been here for nearly six years and all I’ve ever done is what’s best for the club, not what’s best for me. I’ve never, ever done that. That’s not going to change whatever happens.”
On 18-year-old midfielder Nydam, who made eight senior starts before the end of October but has struggled with niggles since then, McCarthy explained: “He played yesterday (in the Under-23s) and looked tired. He’s missed some football and is not quite ready to go in the first team yet. He was excellent in the first half out there on a heavy pitch but he needs training and playing to get match hardened.”