Proud Mick McCarthy still dreaming of Wembley date

Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy believes his side have every chance of getting to Wembley after holding local rivals Norwich to a 1-1 draw in the home leg of their Championship play-off semi-final on Saturday.

The Canaries went ahead on 41 minutes through Jonny Howson but Ipswich rallied to level courtesy of substitute Paul Anderson before the break.

Neither side were able to find a winner during what was a cagey second half ahead of next Saturday’s second leg at Carrow Road, but McCarthy reckons his men should be proud of their efforts against a team which was one of the division’s form sides during the run-in.

“With two teams competing for a big prize, it will never be wide open, expansive football, but it was very competitive without any nastiness,” he said.

“I am full of admiration for my side. To go behind when we are actually playing well and to come back shows everything what my team is about. For us, I will take that. Now, we have to win at Norwich.”

Canaries boss Alex Neil accepted his side were not at their very best, but is hopeful for an improved performance back at Carrow Road.

He said: “We probably had more chances in the first half than Ipswich. However, did we do enough to win the game? Probably not.

“We are in exactly the same position as when we started. The only thing which gives us an advantage, if any, is that we are at home and hopefully we can put a performance in.”

Yesterday, Jermaine Beckford stole the show as Preston booked their first Wembley trip since 1994. Beckford’s volley and incredible lob from near the halfway line helped Preston to a 3-0 victory over Chesterfield and a 4-0 aggregate success.

In last night’s League Two play-off first leg Stevenage and Southend drew 1-1.

In the other play-off first leg on Saturday Wycombe won 3-2 at Plymouth.


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