There was a time when it looked like Mick McCarthy was destined to return to the Republic of Ireland managerial hot seat when Martin O’Neill’s long-term future was up in the air. He has been with Championship outfit Ipswich Town for the last five seasons and with his contract set to expire this summer, it’s possible McCarthy could be on the way out of Portman Road. Big Mick has performed well with the tools at his disposal from the Tractor Boys’ reclusive owner Marcus Evans, spending just £3 million of the £15 million in transfer fees that he’s made for the club during his time in charge.
The Tractor Boys faithful have grown tired of McCarthy’s pragmatic style of play though, which will keep them in the second tier but won’t help them challenge for the Championship top six. However, Unibet has the Blues at odds against (5/4) to finish in the top half, which is probably a good value bet at this stage of the season. Many football pundits believe the Suffolk side should be doing all they can to keep him at the helm. After all, there are few better managers to milk the extra 5-10 percent out of ordinary players, particularly at that level. Nevertheless, if McCarthy does indeed sever his ties with Town, where is his next likely port of call?
Just a few weeks ago, McCarthy was installed as the bookies’ favourite to get the vacant Barnsley job. However, he ruled himself out of contention with the Tykes eventually appointing Jose Morais. McCarthy has tended to work with medium-sized clubs with proud footballing traditions, seeking to breathe new life into their fortunes; just as he did at Wolves and Sunderland. Although he’s not quite managed it with Ipswich, it’s possible he would be an ideal fit for Leeds United? Leeds are McCarthy’s boyhood club, and he’s always been held in high regard at Elland Road.
The most likely positions to be available this summer will possibly involve clubs relegated from the top flight. Alan Pardew’s position at West Brom is hanging by a thread, and McCarthy would probably be a safe pair of hands to steady the ship for an immediate return to the Premier League should the Baggies drop this term. Furthermore, the Crystal Palace role would also seem like a good fit should Roy Hodgson fail in his bid to keep the Eagles up. McCarthy’s family home is in the southeast London area and his gritty managerial style would rub off well on the Palace Ultras.
It’s hard to see Mick being out of a job for too long. Should he leave Ipswich this summer, his stock will be high despite a lack of sustained success at Portman Road. However, Town boss Marcus Evans does have an option to extend McCarthy’s stay by an additional two years. If Evans is prepared to give McCarthy a bigger transfer fee, it’s possible he could remain in East Anglia. We shall be watching with interest.