4 names in the frame to replace Mick McCarthy at Ipswich Townby Jack Kitson / 26 March 2018, 14:17Tweet
*Since this article was written it's been confirmed that Mick McCarthy will leave Ipswich at the end of the season*
Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans has revealed that Mick McCarthy’s future at the Championship club will be decided before the season comes to a close.
McCarthy, whose contract expires in the summer, is approaching six years at the helm, but with many fans desperate for a change it’s looking likely that he could well depart Portman Road come the end of the campaign.
Below we take a look at four names in the frame to replace the 59-year-old, should this prove to be his final season in charge of The Tractor Boys.
Steve McClaren has been linked with just about every Football League club since he was axed by Derby County a year ago. Over the weekend The Sun reported that the former English manager is a summer target for Ipswich, with the club’s owner Marcus Evans pinpointing the ‘wally with a brolly’ as his No.1 target.
McClaren does have an abundance of experience on his CV, but in three jobs in the Championship he has never won promotion - something which Ipswich desperately crave - but while supporters are unlikely to be left excited by the prospect of having McClaren in the dugout, many would still prefer him to the current incumbent.
It’s obvious that after a number of stagnant seasons Ipswich are in need of a fresh injection of ideas and methods. With this in mind, why not take a risk on one of the most talented up-and-coming English managers in the Football League: Danny Cowley.
The Lincoln boss has worked wonders at the club, having propelled the Imps to promotion up into the Football League in his debut season, during which he also became the first manager in over a century to lead a non-league side through to the FA Cup quarter-finals (beating Ipswich en route).
Cowley’s troops are currently attempting to win back-to-back promotions, with the club one place and two points outside the League Two play-offs with eight games to go.
An appointment at Ipswich would undoubtedly be a gamble given that Cowley has never managed above the fourth-tier, but it could prove to be a punt worth taking.
Ipswich Town will clarify the future of manager Mick McCarthy before the end of the season.— The Sack Race (@thesackrace) March 26, 2018
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Mark Warburton is available and eager to return to work after his tenure at Nottingham Forest was cut short on New Year’s Eve nine months at the helm, with the club 14th in the Championship.
Warburton previously led Brentford into the Championship, and Rangers to the Scottish Championship and Challenge Cup double. It didn’t quite work out for him at trigger-happy Forest, who were/still are enduring a difficult period, but it would come as no surprise to see the former city trader back in the Championship next season, with Ipswich a potential suitor.
Ipswich fans will look back on the partnership between Shefki Kuqi and Darren Bent with a real sense of nostalgia. The duo terrorised Championship defences back between 2003 and 2004, before Kuqi went on to play for 10 other British clubs including Blackburn, Newcastle and Crystal Palace, while he returned to the Tractor Boys for a brief loan spell in 2008.
We’d be surprised if anyone could reel off the three teams Kuqi has gone on to manage….FC Honka, PK-35 Vantaa, and FC Inter Turku. But, while he’s not had the most glittering or high profile of starts to life in management, his iconic status at Ipswich would make him a popular pick with many fans, while last year he told Kings of Anglia:
“Ipswich is always there. You always dream, but one day I dream to get that chance to come back and manage Ipswich.
“That place, even the people nothing to do with the club, has always been very nice to me. I follow all the games, everything that happens and it’s been a bit disappointing to see them struggle.”
For old times sake here is Kuqi’s famous Swan Dive celebration (cut to 57 seconds):