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Following a run of just 1 win in 12 Championship matches, questions are now being asked of Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy.
More is expected of the Tractor Boys by their fans and they have every right to, given their history. Ipswich currently lie 17th in the Championship, just 5 points above the relegation zone and some fans think that now is the time to cut ties with McCarthy and move in a different direction. Are they right?
The answer is probably a ‘No’. A closer look at Ipswich’s recent form shows it to be not as bad as it appeared at first. After their win at Aston Villa, Ipswich have taken a point from tough visits to Preston North End, Brighton and East Anglian rivals Norwich City. Home draws with Wolves, Leeds United and Brentford may not set the world alight but those are not particularly bad results either. Had those results been more evenly dispersed at different times of the season, fans would not complain as much.
It is probably inevitable that Ipswich will climb the league between now and May. So it would be wise to analyse their final league position in conjunction with what business McCarthy has been allowed to do in the transfer market. Losing striker Daryl Murphy to Newcastle in the summer left a massive gap in their squad and that piece of business alone put McCarthy at a huge disadvantage. Ipswich would do well to attempt to take him back following the Toons’ promotion.
The Barnsley-born manager has also shown supreme loyalty in his career to date. Having retired from playing while at Millwall in 1992, McCarthy went on to manage the Lions until 1996, when the Republic of Ireland came calling. Six years in charge of Ireland was followed by a 3-year stay at Sunderland during one of their most turbulent times.
Another 6-year stint followed, this time at Wolverhampton Wanderers before he took over at Portman Road. His longevity is not in question and the fact that he has never spent any appreciable time out of work since beginning his managerial career back in 1992 is an incredible record. Such things don’t happen for no reason. McCarthy is very well thought of in the game and Ipswich are far from guaranteed to find someone better than him should they decide to let him go. Doing it so would undoubtedly be a backward step.
Perhaps the tactic should be to analyse how much it would cost them to sack McCarthy and replace him with someone else. It would also be wise to think about spending the same amount of money to bring in new playing recruits to enable him do his job to the best of his ability.