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Mick McCarthy has praise for Chambers and Smith – but knows a new centre-back is priority

PUBLISHED: 09:40 03 January 2013

Luke Chambers

Luke Chambers

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TIME is running out for Blues boss Mick McCarthy to add a new centre-back to his depleted ranks before Town’s first assault on the FA Cup this season.

The Town manager currently has just two recognised centre-backs to call upon, Luke Chambers and Tommy Smith, as he plots a cup shock at struggling Aston Villa.

Danny Higginbotham back-tracked on extending his loan deal, a decision that happened so quickly that the McCarthy-penned notes in the club’s matchday programme for Brighton said he was delighted to keep the Stoke City man.

Instead, the 33-year-old made his debut for Sheffield United at Doncaster after completing a free transfer to Bramall Lane.

Rookie Tyrone Mings, primarily seen as a left-back but someone who could deputise in the centre, was included on the New Year’s Day bench but he is cup-tied for Villa Park after featuring for former club Chippenham Town in the qualifying rounds of the competition.

With Bradley Orr also made unavailable by his parent club Blackburn for Saturday’s match, McCarthy would arguably have to turn to Guirane N’Daw as a makeshift centre-back should anything happen to Chambers or Smith.

While the pair looked a little edgy in Tuesday’s home defeat to Brighton, McCarthy heaped praise on the duo’s performances over the festive period.

He said: “The fragile nature of the team means the spine is there – but we have the two of them and no one else.

“They are not the biggest, but they are two good competitors who have been excellent. I have been delighted with them.”

McCarthy has continually been linked with defenders Ronald Zubar and Richard Stearman, both from his former club Wolves.

But he said: “I have been linked with a lot of the Wolves players. One, because they are good players. And two, because I have managed them. I’m hoping it will be a busy January – I’m certainly looking to get some reinforcements.”

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