Ipswich Town boss would be content with full-backs in a back-three against Brighton
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy will not hesitate to play full-backs Jonas Knudsen and Jordan Spence in a makeshift back-three at high-flying Brighton tonight.
The duo moved into the heart of the Town defence during Saturday’s 1-0 win at Aston Villa, following injuries to Christophe Berra (concussion) and Steven Taylor (hamstring), who will both miss tonight’s trip to the Amex Stadium as a result.
Knudsen and Spence could keep their places, alongside Luke Chambers, against a Brighton side who are on a tremendous run on their home turf, having won their last six league games there, scoring 14 goals.
Indeed, the Seagulls have lost just twice at home since Town won there on December 29, 2015 – Brighton amassing 62 points from a possible 78, while attacking quartet, Glenn Murray, Anthony Knockaert, Tomer Hemed and Sam Baldock have scored 42 of the Seagulls’ 51 goals this term.
“I always thought Jonas (Knudsen) would make a great left-sided centre-back in a three (man defence),” said McCarthy, who confirmed that Cole Skuse remains sidelined with an Achilles problem tonight, but could return for Saturday’s home clash with Leeds United.
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“I think it’s a position for full-backs really, if they are a good size that can head the ball, they are happier going out wide defending one versus one, rather than centre-halves, so I thought that suited him and I thought Jordan Spence was excellent when he came on.”
On Berra, who is a more natural centre-half, McCarthy added: “He has played in the centre as well and I think that would probably suit Christophe better, but he’s done fine.
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“I have always thought it is a position for full-backs. Me being a centre-half, I have recognised that, I like to play down the middle. That’s what centre-halves do.”
McCarthy confirmed Berra could well be back for Saturday’s home clash with Leeds, while Taylor is likely to be out for a month.
Another centre-back, Tommy Smith is getting closer to a comeback after a long-term back injury, but McCarthy explained: “It would be wrong to rush Tommy back.”
He added: “With the games we’ve got coming up, that would be daft.”