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McCarthy hoping for defensive improvements with Webster and Smith available again

PUBLISHED: 16:19 12 October 2017 | UPDATED: 18:15 12 October 2017

Ipswich Town defender Adam Webster could return to the starting line-up at Sheffield United. Photo: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town defender Adam Webster could return to the starting line-up at Sheffield United. Photo: Steve Waller

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy is hoping his side will tighten up defensively now that centre-backs Adam Webster and Tommy Smith are available again.

The Blues may be among the leading Championship goalscorers (20 in 10), but they have also conceded more than most too (16).

There have been mitigating circumstances, a host of injuries meaning it’s often been a patched up back four with the likes of Jordan Spence, Dominic Iorfa and Jonas Knudsen all having played out of position.

Webster and Smith are back now though after both missing a lot of football this calender year. It’s a timely boost given the tough-looking run of fixtures coming up – starting with Saturday’s game at third-placed Sheffield United.

• Town quartet passed fit for trip to Bramall lane

“I’d like to think we can tighten up more and not give the goals away we have,” said McCarthy.

“Bristol City were good two weeks ago (winning 3-1 at Portman Road), but two of their goals were deflected when all is said and done.

“There are other games where we’ve not helped ourselves though. Against Sunderland we score five, but I’m still not happy with the two we conceded.

“When you get defenders back you hope that you’ll concede less goals. But, if we’ve got the amount of attacking players on the pitch that we have, then it does make it harder to shut up shop.”

Webster, 22, took the step up from League Two side Portsmouth in his stride at the start of last season, exciting fans with his comfort on the ball before an ankle injury effectively ended his campaign in January. He returned to the starting line-up for the Carabao Cup tie at Luton back in August only for his ankle to give way again.

• Webster: My loyalties lie with Ipswich

“He looked a really good signing,” said McCarthy. “It’s been such a shame that he’s had the injuries because he really was thriving at this level and everyone was enjoying watching him play.

“I think he would have been attracting a lot of attention had he carried on playing as well as he been. There were clubs looking at him because the reports on how well he was playing and how highly I was speaking of him don’t go unnoticed.”

He added: “He’s great on the ball, but he should be concentrating on keeping it out the net this weekend.”

• Webster a Premier League player in the making, says boss

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David McGoldrick should go straight back into the Ipswich Town line-up when he returns from injury.

Former Town star Jason Dozzell says Ipswich can catapult themselves into play-off contention over the crucial festive period.

Ipswich Town players past and present, plus fans, have been paying tribute to club stalwart Dick Parker.

Ipswich Town fans have been reacting to news that owner Marcus Evans could be ready to spend in January, even though the club’s debt has increased to £89m.

Ipswich Town finance director Mark Andrews insists owner Marcus Evans remains ‘in it for the long haul’ after the latest set of accounts were revealed at last night’s PLC AGM, adding there could well be money for transfers in January.

Ipswich Town’s managing director last night criticised the “unwarranted personal abuse” suffered by manager Mick McCarthy and players from fans and the media this season.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy and skipper Luke Chambers have led tributes to “much-loved” club stalwart Dick Parker after he died at the weekend.

Ipswich Town lost 2-0 at Middlesbrough on Saturday to slip to ninth in the Championship table.

From the counter kings at Derby, to the counter chumps at Middlesbrough. With five of the next seven games at home, Ipswich Town need to take their medicine and quickly refocus on maintaining the fun factor at Portman Road.

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