Wolves Vs Ipswich Town Preview

With our former boss back in town tomorrow, it was fitting to read that extract from Dave Edwards’ book about the day Mick McCarthy was sacked.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but pulling the trigger in mid-February without a replacement in mind was lunacy.

The club got what they deserved for that decision.

There was a great piece from Tim Nash in the immediate aftermath about the transfer targets Mick identified and was blanket refused the previous summer. The gist was the club wouldn’t loosen the purse strings so it was always onto ‘Option B’.

Those Option B players were rarely any better than those we already had, hence why it felt like the team were treading water.

He had his shortcomings of course and I think he was naive in how he managed relations with supporters. But he’s a good manager, I don’t care what anyone says.

Ipswich

If the football isn’t attractive, it has to be effective. That’s the root cause of the problem Mick has wherever he goes. When results go south the natives soon get restless.

He’s been in Suffolk for five years now and for most of that time they’ve been closer to the top than the bottom. Not awful if we’re being honest for a club with modest resources.

I thought he might walk in the summer but instead he was given license to do a bit of business and they look decent again.

No surprise he’s gone for proven grafters like Garner and Waghorn, but they’ve performed. A win tomorrow could take them back into the top six.

Unlike recent seasons, they’re not built on defensive stability. Far from it actually. The 32 they’ve conceded is the most of anyone in the top 10. But only Wolves have netted more than their 37.

Surely not a nil nil then?

Wolves

A few people have been making noises about the team looking jaded, but given that they haven’t played for over a week, I don’t see a reason to make changes tomorrow.

If Douglas still isn’t back, Vinagre is a more than able deputy. You could start Costa and give one of the front three a rest, but I think it’s worth holding that card back for now.

There are three games in a week from Boxing Day, so that’s when rotation might be worth consideration but I’m not sure making several changes now does much to freshen things up.

Predictions

Worth remembering we still haven’t beaten Ipswich since Mick took over at Portman Road.

We’ll never have a better chance than with this team.

Much will depend on how they approach the game tactically, whether they sit off like Sunderland or press high.

In either scenario though they’ll have to play very well to beat us and I don’t think it will happen.

3-1.

Up The Wolves!

5 foolish critcisms of Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy divided the opinion of Molineux like no other manager in the history of our great club.

Not everyone's cup of tea

And whilst the overwhelming majority seemed to agree the time was right for him to depart, the outpouring of good-feeling towards our now former leader has been remarkable.

I make no secret that I was and remain a staunch MM supporter. It pained me to call for his head in Sunday’s match report;  something I’d never publicly done even after the debacle of the Swansea game earlier in the season.

But now he has left the scene, I will forever defend what I consider to be foolish statements thrown around questioning the significant strides forward the club made under his stewardship.

These are 5 comments I’ve spotted over the years on this very blog that I stringently disagree with.

1. “Getting us promoted was no great achievement because he had money to spend.”

Putting aside the fact that he assembled the nucleus of that Championship winning side for peanuts, I still think this statement is grossly unfair.

Yes, he was given money to invest after Steve Morgan took control, but he still had to spend it wisely.

Admittedly he needed the dosh to get the likes of SEB, Iwelumo, Jones and Stearman who were obviously crucial to our success.

But although money helps, it doesn’t guarantee anything.

Just look at Leicester this season.

They spent more on Jermaine Beckford and Matt Mills than our entire Championship winning squad combined and they’re currently marooned in midtable.

Winning that league was a fantastic achievement and I don’t think many other managers would have done it in the timescale Mick did, particularly when you consider what he inherited.

2. “He only kept us up in our first season because Portsmouth, Hull and Burnley were so terrible.”

Pompey's loss our gain?

This statement annoys me because it completely disregards the fact that we finished in 15th place, above West Ham and Wigan, as well as the three aforementioned relegated sides.

Plus you can only beat what’s put in front of you and thanks to MM going 451 and playing Doyle up front as the lone striker, we did that and with games to spare.

Some dodgy transfer dealings in this season I’ll grant you, but we know for a fact our reluctance to pay decent wages scuppered moves for better targets.

3. “He only kept us up in our second season because Spurs beat Blues on the final day.”

Fast-forward 12 months and another ridiculous statement is doing the rounds.

For some reason, people have suddenly decided to completely disregard the previous 37 games of the season as if they count for nothing to justify a dig at the manager.

Yes, if Blues had beaten Spurs, they would have stayed up – you’re correct.

But why stop there?

If they’d reigned victorious in the other 14 games they lost that season, they’d have won the league, so by that logic Manchester United’s title-win is tainted.

Do me a favour.

We stayed up because over a 38 game season we accumulated more points that three other sides. No other reason.

4. “He always played long ball and wasn’t capable of anything better.”

Slick football in the 3-1 win at West Ham

Often but not always.

What disappointed me most about the deterioration this season is that we started off with the intention of being braver and getting the ball down on the deck.

The football we played in our first two home matches against Fulham and Spurs (despite the defeat) were encouraging and showed that the players can do it.

Sadly, one or two injuries, a couple of bad results and the team retreated into it’s shell. That was very disappointing.

Throughout McCarthy’s tenure I believe we always had players capable of a braver, more progressive approach, but too often he preferred to play it safe.

I will always maintain he was capable of getting them playing better football, but simply chose not to.

5. “He can’t manage in the Premier League.”

I don’t see how anybody can utter the above statement with a straight face.

Keeping us up, whilst always hamstrung by the club’s refusal to compete for players on big salaries, proved to me that he has what it takes to to cut it at this level.

He had many shortcomings, which I openly acknowledge.

He was found wanting tactically on many occasions and I believe stubbornness and loyalty to long-serving players were big problems.

But you don’t hang around in the Premier League for two and a half years if you haven’t got something about you.

And whatever you might want to say about Mick McCarthy, he most definitely had something.