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Club News


19 February 2013

Manager Mick McCarthy shares his matchday programme notes with the Club website

Welcome back to Portman Road for tonight's game against a Watford side who are right in the mix for promotion.

We played very well apparently to beat them at Vicarage Road at the start of the season, but they are a different team now. I saw them play Brighton a while back and they were excellent and they had another terrific result at Birmingham on Saturday.


We had a pretty good result ourselves though against Blackpool. It wasn't pretty. In fact it was horrible, scruffy, messy but we did all the professional jobs well - and it was a fantastic win. A massive three points for us.


We'd had the defeats at Bristol City and Blackburn and the teams below us all seemed to be winning and that gap had closed right up. The win gives everyone a lift and brings those above us back into the frame. We are only a couple of points behind Blackpool now. The league has concertinaed right up which is why every point becomes vital.


When you are in the situation we are in, it's not about opening the game up, playing this way or that way. It's only about getting the points on the board. That is all that matters, getting enough points to stay up.


It's a new experience for me, battling at the bottom end of the Championship. I've been in the position Watford are in now, pushing for a promotion place and while the pressure is there to get the three points, it's different.


If you don't make promotion, you can still look at it as some sort of success that you have been up there contesting for it. There is no worse feeling than getting relegated. The pressure is huge and we want to keep this fantastic club in the Championship this season. If we do that, then next year we can go again and look to be in Watford's position and challenging at the right end of the table.


Michael Chopra got our winner on Saturday in what was the one real moment of quality in the game. He's had his nose put out of joint lately because he has not been playing. There were a few clubs interested in taking him on loan but there was no way I was going to let him go.


He has worked really hard in training and has looked like he really wants to get back in the team. He can't do anymore than that. He showed a real goalscorer's instinct against Blackpool.


It was a terrific goal and I was delighted with his performance in general. We defended from the front throughout the game and Chops was part of that. If he continues to perform like he did against Blackpool, he can have a big role to play for us over the rest of the season.


The only downside from Saturday's win was the injury to Anthony Wordsworth. He has cracked three vertebrae in what is more like a car crash injury than a football one and is definitely going to be out for a while. It's difficult to say how long he will be out because it's such a new injury for everyone here.

He's a talented footballer, Woody, and has a lot to offer. It's a blow for him and us and we wish him a speedy recovery.


On the plus side, Scott Loach and Lee Martin are back training with us and will come into contention for tonight.


I was delighted to be able to tell five of our Academy scholars (David October, Jonathan Leddy, Jack Marriott, Mark Timlin and Tom Winter), that we will be offering them professional contracts for next season.


They are a good group and have a chance of being footballers in the first-team here. We want to nurture youngsters and bring them through and they now have that opportunity. They deserve it, they are good characters but there is nothing given in this game and even the very best kids can fall by the wayside.


I have said to all five, wherever you end up playing - whether it be Ipswich, Inter Milan or Halifax, love the game and be a professional for 10, 15 years. If you can stay free of injuries, then go and play 500 games.


Then you have really achieved something. It's no good playing 20 games and driving around in a flash car thinking you've done it. It's the longevity in the game that proves you've been a footballer of note.


Finally, I'd like to welcome Gianfranco Zola, his staff and the Watford players to Portman Road. We know they are a very good side and we have to match them. It won't be through a lack of effort. Enjoy the game.



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