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.

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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.”

1 comment

  • What a surprising statement !!!!!! Ever since we lost DeVos ,Magilton realized the team was short of a commanding CB, Keane also realized it but then CEO Clegg allowed McAuley to walk away for free, then Jewell came in and he too realized he wanted a CB. So he brought in various loan players. Now finally MM having lost Higginbotham realizes the team needs a CB as a priority. Jewell said good CB's were 'rare' or was it just to hide the fact that ME & CEO Clegg were holding back funds or were not prepared to pay the going rate for good defenders? Let's hope that their attitudes have changed and MM is allowed to buy a strong defender.

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    Brian Betts

    Thursday, January 3, 2013

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