Mick hails Ingham display

MICK McCarthy made an unusual tribute in the wake of gaining a Portman Road point yesterday, singling out Michael Ingham for special praise.

The 23-year-old - making his first senior start for Sunderland - was at fault for Ipswich's first goal and looked shaky on several other occasions as Ipswich's fans and players targetted the opponent they saw as the Black Cats' weakest link.

But the Sunderland manager was having none of it when he was asked whether he thought his keeper had been disappointing.

He said: "I'm delighted with Michael. I thought he did brilliantly and let me tell you, I've got nothing but admiration for him.

"That lad has been told by this club that he can go, that he's been released and he knows that when he walks out there against Ipswich Town.

"He knows he's playing for a future elsewhere and I think that overall he's handled a bloody tense situation really well.

"To come in and do the job he's done is fantastic considering there's a massive prize at stake -Premiership football and millions of pounds - he's handled the pressure as well as anyone could have expected."

McCarthy was happy with a point but revealed that Sunderland conceding so late had hit his players hard when they knew they had one foot and four toes in the Premiership as the game moved towards the 90th minute with the Black Cats leading 2-1.

But he said that regardless of Darren Bent's late equaliser, Sunderland would have settled for a point before the game.

"I've got a disappointed dressing room down there," he shrugged. "We played well and should have won the game.

"We've scored two goals, had a penalty, hit the crossbar and broke on them regularly.

"You have to say we've let them off the hook.

"That's the way it goes though and heading home, I'll certainly settle for a point away at Ipswich and a performance as good as the one we gave on the day.

"Some people are now saying it might take a disaster for us not to go up with us being five points ahead of third place,

"But I can assure everyone we are not thinking that way.

"Disasters do happen after all, don't they?

"So I apologise to all the reporters for having to come out with the old cliche of us having achieved nothing yet - but at the moment that remains the case.

"Now we just have to get our heads down and try to concentrate on winning the next game, against Leicester City at the Stadium of Light next Saturday. It's all we can do."