Mick McCarthy considers return to wing-backs with skipper Luke Chambers fit again
PUBLISHED: 18:22 15 September 2017 | UPDATED: 18:22 15 September 2017
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy believes his team have missed Luke Chambers’ leadership in recent weeks.
The Blues skipper will return to action tomorrow, going straight into the starting XI for the Championship visit of rock-bottom Bolton little more than a month after he suffered ankle ligament damage in the 4-3 win at Millwall.
Chambers was the only Championship outfield player to be on the field for every minute of every league game last season, but has missed the recent matches against Brentford (2-0 home win), Fulham (2-0 home defeat) and QPR (2-1 away defeat).
In his absence a makeshift defence made up entirely of full-backs has battled, but lacked a little cohesion and chemistry.
“I’m delighted to have Chambo back,” said McCarthy, who has named Cole Skuse as the stand-in skipper. “I think we’d have had a far better chance of getting back in that game at QPR if he had been playing, just with that leadership that he brings and what he demands from people. That was lacking after the second goal went in and that’s disappointing.”
Everton loanee Callum Connolly and Jonas Knudsen were the full-backs last weekend, with Jordan Spence and Dominic Iorfa filling in at centre-back. Myles Kenlock was on the bench.
“I’ve got six defenders now, but there’s no tough call putting Chambo back in,” said McCarthy.
With Wolves loanee Iorfa having played right-back and centre-back, the Blues boss added: “It’s nice that he’s got that ability to play both. He’s done well at full-back, to be quite honest, when he’s played. I think that his height and his blistering pace will always be an asset as a centre-back. At some stage in his career he’ll have to find out which he wants to do and stick to it.”
Asked if he might play three at the back again at some stage, McCarthy replied: “Yes. I thought we played very, very well in the first game (1-0 home win against Birmingham) with it. That was as solid, composed and organised as we’ve been. We went to Luton and did the same, then we were wide open against Barnsley’s 4-3-3 and looked like we were going to get beaten until I went 4-4-2.
“We’ve got to have versatility as a team, not just a couple of players being versatile.”