McCarthy admits Ainsley Maitland-Niles is unlikely to return to Ipswich Town next season
Â© Copyright Stephen Waller
As he prepares to give another Ipswich Town prospect his bow at league leaders Middlesbrough, Mick McCarthy doubts whether teenage winger, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, will be at the club next season.
McCarthy suggested that he may throw one untried youngster into the fray at Middlesbrough, and while he would not divulge who that would be, young Irish midfielder Adam McDonnell fits the bill, having been on the bench in the 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday last Saturday.
As for Maitland-Niles, the on-loan Arsenal starlet has made just one appearance since the 2-1 defeat at Bristol City on February 13, with the likes of fellow loanees Ben Pringle and Liam Feeney blocking his path into the first team in recent weeks.
The 18-year-old will return to The Emirates in the summer and McCarthy played down the chances of the England youth international returning to Portman Road for a second season-long loan.
McCarthy revealed: “He (Maitland-Niles) is in the squad all the time.
“There has been a thought, with the play-offs gone – mathematically we can still get in them but I am not holding any hope on that one – that we have players that I need to have a look at.
“He is still involved and may still be involved in terms of playing.”
On the prospect of Maitland-Niles returning next season, McCarthy added: “We will have a chat (with Maitland-Niles), I am not sure that will happen, but he will be a much better player for the 12 months he has had here, with everything that he has enjoyed, endured and experienced in a Championship season.
“Wherever he ends up, I don’t think it will be here, he will be a better player certainly.”
Although Town’s chances of reaching the play-offs look extremely slim, McCarthy says he is not tempted to make wholesale changes, despite a number of promising youngsters waiting in the wings, especially against such a fearsome team.
Boro are top of the league, have the best defensive record in the division, conceding just seven times at home, and have won their last six at the Riverside Stadium.
“No, I may have a look at one possibly with the view that if he is in the squad and has got to play at some stage, we need to know (if he is good enough) and it’s a good game to find out, that’s for sure,” added McCarthy.
“But I won’t be tinkering too much, we have a duty to everyone else in the league and a duty to ourselves.
“We still want to win the game and get something out of it.”
McCarthy will be without strikers Daryl Murphy (calf) and Luke Varney (hamstring) for the trip to the north East.
“I want to win the game and I would not want to go up there and get a hiding by putting a load of young kids in.
“I have no loyalty to anyone else (The other top-six teams) but it’s the integrity of the competition and, of course, I want my team to win.”