Date: 27th September 2007 at 11:21am
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A year ago Mick McCarthy had few problems naming his matchday squad.

Bereft of the big names who had upped sticks in the Summers’ mass exodus, if you were fit, you were in the team.

Not anymore.

“We are starting to see the competition for places in practice now,” McCarthy told the E & S this week.

“I look at Saturday and we`ve got Rob Edwards on the bench, Mark Little nowhere near the squad and Matt Jarvis who hasn`t kicked a ball yet.’ he added.

All good and well. Until your new goal machine gets ticked off at lack of match minutes and goes off to his old stomping ground in a huff, ending up spending an evening in the company of the local plod.

Perhaps not the reaction McCarthy was looking for.

It’s not just in attack that competition has now increased. No one, with the possible exception of Michael Kightly could honestly say that their starting place is safe.

“For the lads who have been left out – they have to come back stronger and I`m sure they will because that is the kind of players we have here.’ McCarthy said.

And long may that continue.