Paul Cook (left), manager of Ipswich Town, speaks to chairman Michael O’Leary (center), general manager of the football business Lee O’Neill (2nd right) and the after the 3-0 defeat at AFC on Tuesday night Club Secretary Stuart Hayton (far right) Wimbledon. Photo: Pagepix
– Credit: PagePix Ltd.
Ipswich Town will face Charlton Athletic at The Valley this afternoon (kick-off at 12.30pm). Andy Warren takes a look forward to the game.
Manager Paul Cook described the Blues’ visit to AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night as a game that would ultimately « determine our season ».
We have in the last Weeks many limp gigs, but this was missing in almost all areas. The city has not faced physical strikers, skilled midfielders, or looting full-backs. They did not hold the ball well, did not use it on purpose when in possession and, as usual, struggled to create it.
The defeat leaves Town five points from the play-off spots, of which 18 are still to be played. The first three will be offered in Charlton this afternoon.
After losing Wimbledon, Cook bit his tongue a little, but he couldn’t hold back until today’s game at The Valley.
He left his Pre-game press conference going on, admitting he doesn’t like the team, doesn’t trust the players, listing all of their shortcomings, and repeatedly insisting that it will be a summer of change on Portman Road, ‘Demolition Man’ tackles the Work and rejuvenate the squad.
Cook was asked how he thinks the players are feeling after Tuesday night’s loss and the home truths in the locker room. He just replied, « I don’t care ».
All of which leaves you wondering what kind of side Cook will choose in the valley and how he will motivate his players.
We already know Alan Judge doesn’t will be involved as the Irishman drives to the Portman Road exit and will not be considered for the first team to avoid triggering a new contract.
Ten of the other 17 players who played at Wimbledon are behind no longer under contract this season, and Cook will certainly have made his choices with the vast majority of his players. We just don’t know yet.
There will be changes, certainly to the staff and possibly to the system, and it is certainly not impossible that we have seen the last of a number of other players.
A man who could start is Kane Vincent-Young, who survived a U23 game well on Tuesday and is certainly on Cook’s mind. Could that mean Luke Woolfenden is returning to the heart of the city’s defense and one of Toto Nsiala or Luke Chambers is out?
Cole Skuse and Myles Kenlock also played in that game, the latter being a possible replacement for Stephen Ward. Tristan Nydam also played and after impressing against MK Dons last weekend, he got another chance to prove his worth.
Josh Harrop is suspended after his red card on Tuesday and that could open the door for Armando Dobra to return. Jack Lankester is believed to be currently injured.
The Blues have started releasing some of their U23 players before the end of the season, but should the city boss feel like diving into the younger pool, Liam Gibbs will be there possible option.
Charlton manager Nigel Adkins was at Town’s game at Wimbledon on Tuesday night, and Cook was sure his squad wasn’t giving his former Wigan teammate too much to worry about.
« He probably went home and slept two good nights because if I’d been watching I would feel just like Nigel, » said Cook.
« You’re in a play-off position, you are very strong and they have a lot of men on the team, Jayden Stockley, Jason Pearce, Ryan Inniss and Darren Pratley, Alex Gilbey. All good, strong players, all men.
“If we don’t show up tomorrow, we’ll be beaten. Simple soccer. If we can’t take a fight and we can’t challenge and we can’t be strong and we can’t create chances and we can’t score, we’re just going to fall to 15th, 16th in the league and that will go down in the history books. «
This is Adkins’ first home game for Charlton after winning two games and drawing the other of three away games since his appointment on March 18.
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