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See you at the Palace, Ollie

6 November 2012

By Tony Leighton

Five new npower Championship managers were unveiled on Saturday and two of them, Ipswich Town's Mick McCarthy and Crystal Palace's Ian Holloway, are set to face each other when the Tractor Boys visit the Eagles on Tuesday evening.

Holloway, who left Blackpool to join Palace following Dougie Freedman's switch from Selhurst Park to Bolton Wanderers, did not in fact take charge of Saturday's game having been appointed only on that morning.

But he watched from the stands as Palace won 2-0 at home to Blackburn Rovers - whose new manager Henning Berg was in charge for the first time.

That was Palace's eighth win in a tremendous 11-match unbeaten run, a stretch which is in stark contrast to the situation that faced McCarthy when he took over the managerial reins at Portman Road after the dismissal of previous boss Paul Jewell.

The Tractor Boys had won only one of their 13 Championship matches, but that lone victory had come in August and four successive defeats had been suffered before McCarthy took his bottom of the table team to Birmingham City on Saturday just 48 hours after being appointed.

"I do like a challenge, don't I," said former Millwall, Republic of Ireland, Sunderland and Wolverhampton Wanderers manager McCarthy with not a hint of irony in his dead-pan voice as he assessed the job in hand - a job he started particularly well with a 1-0 win at St Andrews.

When he started his last job, at Wolves in the 2006 close season, the club had only 13 contracted players.

He recalled: "That was a difficult situation, but I didn't have to get six points to get out of the bottom three - now that makes life difficult."

Saturday's win means that Palace have cut the gap between themselves and the safety places to four points, but McCarthy knows that only a massive amount of work and effort will keep the Tractor Boys ploughing a furrow in the Championship.

His first task will be to build on the confidence that should have been raised through that long-awaited victory, but that will not be an instant process reckons McCarthy.

He said: "You always expect footballers to be these confident, gregarious characters, but they're actually not. They're a pretty insecure bunch and when it's going tough they need something to get them out of it, whatever it might be.

"It was great to start well [on Saturday], but they've now got to do it again on another 32 occasions starting at Palace. It's going to be tough because Ollie [Ian Holloway] has inherited a good side and he will have an impact.

"I hope that we perhaps play better football than we did on Saturday, but I also hope that we get the same level of effort, commitment and performance because we need to get a positive result."

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