RF: How’s the relationship between the fans and big Mick? He’s been at Portman Road for a while now and it does seem like things are coming to a natural conclusion. Do you see him staying beyond this season?
BB: It’s very peculiar! All the good will from taking us out of the bottom three, clearing up the mess left by Paul Jewell and the play off season of 2014/15 seems to have disappeared now.
The fans no longer chant his name, and the most loyal Mick fans tend to talk about doing a good job on limited resources, while those who want him out are counting down the days to the end of the season. It looks like it’s coming to a natural conclusion as you suggested and I would be surprised to see him sign a new deal now.
RF: If McCarthy was to leave, what direction would you like to see the club head in? Any particular type of manager you would want the board to pursue?
BB: I think the main complaint at Ipswich has been that it has just got boring, so a lot of fans would just like to see something different and would like a manager who hasn’t managed in the Championship before. Someone who is maybe working abroad now or in a lower division, perhaps.
Marcus Evans would probably want the exact opposite though! We’d all love a manager who brings through the young players from the academy and plays passing football whilst still having a competitive team and working under Evans’ budget. Whether such a manager exists is a different matter.
RF: Earlier in the season you told us that most Ipswich fans would take finishing between 8th & 11th. Is that still the aim or are you setting your sights higher?
BB: I think that would still be absolutely fine. Every week the manager gets asked about a play off push but there seem to be better equipped teams than Ipswich to do that, who’ll probably take the 5th-7th spots, whilst 2nd-4th try and get automatic with Wolves.
RF: Martyn Waghorn brought the “ex-player” curse at Portman Road but who else should we be worried about going into the game? Anyone in a good run of form?
BB: Waghorn was fantastic in the first game - other than the odd excellent goalkeeping performance from Bialkowski, that’s the best individual performance from an outfielder I think I’ve seen this season.
The team is not in great form and the goals have stopped flowing. Celina can score or assist out of nothing and Waghorn’s set plays have been of use. The most consistent players are really the keeper - Bialkowski - and the captain Chambers at centre back.
RF: On that note, is there anyone you’ll be keeping an eye on in the Sunderland side?
BB: Aiden McGeady was great at Portman Road in a pretty dreadful Sunderland performance. Obviously we know a lot about Jonny Williams from his various loans to Ipswich as well.
RF: How do you expect Mick Mac will approach the game and what do you think the starting line up will be?
BB: Well we know Mick’s approach will be cautious, defending the clean sheet and trying to nick a goal, attacking will be direct and Waghorns set plays important!
Line up at a guess: Bialkowski, Knudsen, Carter-Vickers, Chambers, Spence; Skuse, Connolly; Waghorn, Gleeson, Celina; Garner.
RF: Finally, can we have a prediction please?
BB: I think it will end in a draw, 1-1.
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