By Jamie Holt
CHRISTOPHE BERRA says Mick McCarthy is harnessing the spirit of his former Wolves side in a bid to drag Ipswich up through the play-offs.
There’s something of a Wolves clique forming in Suffolk with Berra, a summer addition from Molineux, linking up with his ex-boss McCarthy and midfielder Stephen Hunt.
That was before Sylvan Ebanks-Blake’s arrival from the Black Country in January brought yet more bite from a wounded Wolves outfit that had suffered successive relegations.
But Berra’s overriding memories from his time in the West Midlands are not the latter years – it’s the Premier League era under McCarthy. And the Scotland international insists the Tractor Boys boss has got his recruitment policy spot on.
“A few of the lads might have a point to prove,” said Berra. “For the last couple of seasons something just wasn’t right at Wolves, the squad maybe got a bit stale and we needed a bit of a change and we got dragged into trouble.
“But they’re doing well now and look set to come back up.
“People forget we had a successful time of it at Wolves, I have a lot of good memories there.
“We spent three years in the Premier League – yes, it’s a grind at the bottom end of the table but that’s where every- one wants to be, it’s the biggest league in world football.
“There’s a few of us here from Wolves. There’s obviously the boss, Stephen and now Sylvan – there’s a great spirit in the squad.
“Stephen in particular is a lively character. He’s funny without realising it, but the gaffer likes players who pull in the same direction, fighting for the cause, and we have that here in abundance.”
At this point McCarthy, with typical timing, interrupts our interview to berate Berra for taking too much time – the Ipswich boss is keen to get out to training.
McCarthy, who spent almost six years as Wolves manager, was only half serious, but he is certain in his assessment that Berra is currently the best defender in the Championship.
“It’s nice to get praise, especially from someone like the gaffer, but I take it with a pinch of salt,” added Berra.
“I’ve played under him for about four or five years, so I must be doing something right!
“I’m pretty experienced now and like to think I’m level-headed. I go into every game with a point to prove in that respect (trying to prove he’s the best defender in the Championship).
“I’ve certainly been happy with the way I’ve played since the move, it’s a big club with great support.”
If Berra and co do make the play-offs, the 29-year-old’s injury-time winner in the 2-1 victory against Derby on Tuesday could prove pivotal.
“I saw the injury time board go up and thankfully I managed to grab the winner pretty much straight after, it was a great feeling, especially in such a big game,” continued Berra.
“The game on Tuesday could prove to be a crucial two points earned but we won’t know until May.
“We’ve got plenty more to come, we’ve got teams who are currently in and around us so we’ve got to keep pushing and concentrate.”