Let’s make Portman Road a place to fear again, says Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Mick McCarthy wants Portman Road to become a place to be feared again.
Ipswich Town host second-bottom Preston North End today, in their third home game of the season, the Blues having previously defeated Barnsley 4-2 and drawn 1-1 with Norwich City on home turf this term.
Town lost six times at Portman Road last season, drawing a further eight, having been defeated on just three occasions the previous campaign, on their way to a top-six finish.
“We want to win at home, we want this place to be somewhere people fear coming again, because it was a couple of years ago,” said McCarthy.
“Last year was different but we had a good away record. We want to get back to dominating teams at Portman Road.”
The Blues currently sit just below mid-table in the embryonic Championship standings, with five points, but there have been signs of better times ahead in each of their opening two league games on home soil.
McCarthy reflected: “I thought it was an excellent performance (against Norwich). It was probably a fair result on reflection, we probably had more of it, the chances, certainly in the first 20 minutes, but they showed some real bits of quality and their goal was a real bit of quality.”
He added: “They (Norwich) are a very good side and we had to play really well to get a result out of it.”
Today’s opponents picked up their first league win of the season last Saturday at QPR and McCarthy knows the visitors, managed by Simon Grayson, will offer more than their current lowly position suggests.
“It’s one of those really awkward, tough games because Preston had a great result away from home at QPR,” McCarthy added.
“His (Simon Grayson’s) teams are always well-organised, they are disciplined, they work hard and they try and play their football off the shape of the team.
“They are always a difficult nut to crack, we have had some really tough games against them and I think, especially having had a great result at QPR, they will be coming here full of confidence.”
McCarthy could name an unchanged side for today’s game against Preston, with Conor Grant (groin) still injured. That would mean Kevin Bru continuing alongside Jonathon Douglas and Cole Skuse in a three-man midfield, with Teddy Bishop, still building his endurance levels up after a year out injured, on the bench.
The visitors could be also unchanged meaning no place in the starting XI for ex-Town loanee, Ben Pringle.
Ipswich v Preston preview - Three pages in today’s EADT