As Ipswich Town turn their attention to Preston’s FA Cup visit to Portman Road tomorrow, Mick McCarthy is pleased with his side’s position in the Championship.
The Tractor Boys are in sixth place going into the break from league action.
Much has been made of them dropping points from a winning position – 23 at the last count – but the straight-talking McCarthy is not losing much sleep over that statistic.
Reflecting on Town’s position after their New Year’s Day 1-1 draw with Charlton, McCarthy said: “I don’t live in ‘la la’ world where everything is nice and shiny.
“You have to look at the bigger picture and think, ‘Top six, January the first’.
“Somebody will say, ‘You could have two more points’, but we haven’t. If my auntie had them, she’d be my uncle.
“We are there, we’re in a good position and it’s testament to the lads, who have been just great.
“Eight undefeated is a good run – but suddenly everybody wants more.
“They want eight wins on the bounce. Well, it doesn’t work like that.
“If we can keep being unbeaten and keep picking up points, we’ll be fine.
“People will point to the ‘23 points dropped’ stat – but we’ve got more from losing positions as well, I believe (13, joint with Leicester).
“The stat that counts to me is that we’re in the top six on January the first. I don’t deal with ifs, buts and maybes. I tend to deal with what really has happened.”
To have guided Ipswich to the play-offs as the season enters its second half is some achievement for McCarthy.
The former Wolves and Sunderland boss inherited a struggling side when he arrived in Suffolk in November 2012.
But he put them on an even keel last season and has pushed them forward this term.
The battle to be in the Championship promotion mix is a fierce one.
There are some big names in the upper reaches of the division, all clamouring to find a way to English football’s top table.
It might be that the wise old head of McCarthy – and his recently -grown white beard – is just what is needed to cope with the twists and turns which lie ahead. On Wednesday, Ipswich looked to be heading towards victory over Charlton, thanks to an own goal from Addicks defender Richard Wood.
David McGoldrick then had the chance to double the lead from the penalty spot but saw his effort saved.
That proved costly as the visitors drew level through a deflected shot from Johnnie Jackson.
Said McCarthy: “Overall Charlton deserved a point.
“We could have killed it if we’d scored the penalty, but McGoldrick has been brilliant and there are no recriminations for him because the goalkeeper’s made a good save – which he’s there for.”
McCarthy had started with 11-goal top scorer McGoldrick on the bench, choosing to give him a breather.
But he is a likely starter against North End.
This is the third FA Cup meeting between the clubs.
PNE beat Ipswich 6-1 in the fifth round in 1954, part of a run which took them through to the final at Wembley.
They met at Deepdale in January 1980, Ipswich winning 3-0.