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Mick can save Tractor Boys

FORMER Ireland international Daryl Murphy believes that Mick McCarthy is the only man who can save his Ipswich Town side from relegation.

McCarthy was confirmed as Ipswich's new boss yesterday and the 53-year-old is being thrown in at the deep end with a Championship game away to Birmingham City tomorrow. Five points adrift at the bottom of the table and with a goal difference of -16, things look bleak for Ipswich.

But Waterford man Murphy (right), who worked under McCarthy at Sunderland a decade ago, feels that the arrival of his former boss can keep the one-time UEFA Cup winners in the division.

"I had a full season of working under Mick, he has a great record in the Championship and if anyone can get us out of the mess we're in, it's Mick McCarthy," Murphy told the Herald after his first meeting with McCarthy in his new role as Ipswich gaffer.

"We just had a brief chat with Mick yesterday and he took us for training. I think I'm the only player that has played under Mick before so it was good to hook up with him again and I think his record is excellent.

"It's hard for Mick to come into a situation like this, a team at the bottom of the table and where confidence is a bit low, but I know how Mick works and I think he has the character to get us out of it.

"Relegation is a horrible feeling and it would be unthinkable for a club like Ipswich Town to go down into League One, so we have to make sure that doesn't happen.

"I have worked with Mick before, he was the manager who gave me my second chance in England as he took me from Waterford United to Sunderland," says Murphy, who is on a season-long loan deal from Celtic to Ipswich.

"When he brought me over to Sunderland everything looked great over there: Sunderland had just been promoted under Mick and we were all looking forward to the Premier League. But we ended up getting relegated and I was very sorry to see Mick leave.

"He won't have much time to settle in but from Mick's point of view he knows that we can't do any worse than we have been doing in the last while.

"All the players know that we have to start picking up points and winning games.

"There's almost a six-point gap between us and the team ahead of us, so if we don't start getting some points on board soon there could come a time when we're so far behind that even if we win some games it won't make any difference.

"It's a fresh start, everyone wants to try and get into the team, everyone will want to impress Mick. We have a big squad and we need to just start winning games, starting tomorrow," added Murphy, who is out of contract with Celtic at the end of this season.

The Tractor Boys had a reasonable start to the season under Paul Jewell, with two wins and a draw from the first three games, but since then it's been a nightmare season: 12 games without a win and a run of four successive defeats.

"We have thrown away a lot of points; in lots of games we have been in front but we can't kill teams off.

"We just have to be more ruthless. We've had chances to kill teams off and not taken them so Mick can maybe put that right," added Murphy.

The arrival of McCarthy onto the scene at Ipswich is bound to spark an Ireland-related conversation between the pair, but Murphy -- now 29 -- admits that his international career, which saw him win seven senior caps from 2007-08, is over.

"I don't even think about it any more, I have been out of the frame for so long that it's not even on the agenda for me," says Murphy.

"I was fortunate enough to play for my country. I would have liked more caps than I got but it wasn't to be (but) it was still a great honour to get even a few caps."