Thursday, March 6, 2014
Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy seems to be missing his side’s rivalry with Norwich City, after joking that the Football League fixture computer is a Canaries fan.
The Tractor Boys have had to watch on as City have battled in the Premier League for three seasons, while they have bounced around mid-table in the Championship.
It has meant the Suffolk side has yet to have a chance to avenge their two heavy defeats in the 2010/11 season, as Norwich rose from League One and immediately secured promotion to the top flight.
During that season Paul Lambert’s side beat their local rivals 4-1 at Carrow Road, with Grant Holt scoring a hat-trick, and 5-1 at Portman Road.
Now it seems McCarthy is ready for a taste of the famous rivalry, as his side look to close the four-point gap to the Championship play-off places in the closing stages of the season.
The former Republic of Ireland boss made light of his ‘geographically challenged’ side’s busy schedule for the remaining 13 games of the Championship campaign.
The Blues face a 500-mile round trip to the north east for Saturday’s game at Middlesbrough, and will then cover 400 miles for next Tuesday’s match at south-west side Yeovil.
The beginning of April also presents a similarly gruelling Saturday-Tuesday scenario, with Town travelling to the north-west twice in the space of four days for games against Blackburn and Huddersfield.
“It is what it is, it’s not ideal,” McCarthy said. “I think the computer is a Norwich fan!”
With six home games left, the Blues also have trips to Brighton, Watford and Burnley to play.
“With the Blackburn-Huddersfield one the question is do you go up and stay up (in the north-west)?,” McCarthy added. “If you do then it’s a long old time from leaving on Friday afternoon and getting back on Wednesday morning.
“I think the benefit of being up there and preparing is counter-balanced by players not seeing their kids, being bored out of their box and not being able to do what they want to do on their day off.
“We take them to the pictures or bowling but they don’t want to be there.”