Skuse: That's Me for the Season!
Monday, 13th Jul 2015 06:00
Midfielder Cole Skuse joked that he’d hit his goals target for the season after netting Town’s third in Saturday’s 6-0 friendly victory over Shelbourne at Tolka Park.
Skuse scored his first and so far only competitive goal for Town in the 3-1 home victory over Cardiff in April.
“Another goal! That is my tally for the season done, I think, done in one game,” Skuse laughed having lashed a low volley through a crowd of players and into the net from the edge of the box.
The 29-year-old was pleased with the comfortable victory over the Dublin side, although said fitness was the greater concern.
“I know you obviously want to win the game, but it was more about getting 45 minutes in the legs and in the bank for the lads," he said.
“Shelbourne is always a tough place to come, the pitch was very dry but the lads did very well.
“I’d take 6-0, the new lads got on the scoresheet and performed very well, the young lads performed very well so it all in all it was a good game.”
The Blues got off to a great start with Alex Henshall netting the opening goal after only 52 seconds and Skuse says the 21-year-old left winger has done well since the start of pre-season.
“He’s come back really well. He’s had a good go over the summer, did a bit in the gym, he’s had a personal trainer, so he’s kept himself very, very fit. He’s come back very sharp and today he looked very good in the first 45.”
Starting on the other flank in the first half on Saturday was Arsenal loanee Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who has impressed the Blues’ holding midfielder.
“I can’t believe he’s only 17!” he said. “He’s a great lad, he’s such a hard worker. For all his flair, and there were some tricks in the first half, he’s got such a great workrate, which will go down an absolute storm with the manager.”
Alongside Skuse in the first half, facing his old club, was Adam McDonnell. The Irish U18 international joined the Blues from Shels almost a year ago but was unable to play competitive games last season due to issues with his education.
Now 18, he’s free to play and Skuse says he doesn’t look out of place in the first team squad.
“He’s a very, very technically gifted player, a very assured player, very composed. He’s got a lot of good attributes and you can see why the club brought him over from Shelbourne.
“Last year, I know he had a bit of trouble with his clearance, but he trained with us all season and he’s a very good player. He didn’t look out of his depth at all and he makes my life a lot easier.”
The former Bristol City man says he and the rest of the squad were worked hard by manager Mick McCarthy and his staff at the Carton House Hotel in Co Kildare last week.
“It wasn’t the easiest,” he admitted. “It’s a great place to stay, it’s a lovely facility. I know the manager loves it and swears by it.
“We get looked after very well, the food is brilliant, the facilities are very good. It wasn’t the easiest of weeks but we definitely put a shift in and it’ll stand us in good stead.”
Reflecting on last season, Skuse says the manner of the Blues’ play-off defeat made it harder to take: “It was a tough one to swallow, the way in which it happened, I think, because the game plan was going so well.
“Going down to 10 men, you can’t blame anyone for it, but I think if it had stayed 11 v 11 we would have had a very good chance.
“It was a tough one to swallow, but that’s the ups and downs of football. That’s why it’s the biggest and best game in the world and why people love it so much.
“After that, you try and switch off for a bit and spend some quality family time over the summer and then come back and start afresh.”
Fellow midfielder Luke Hyam has experienced another of football’s downs, after undergoing knee surgery which will sideline him for up to four months, having already been out of action since January.
Skuse says the rest of the squad are rallying round the 23-year-old: “Of course they are. It came out of nowhere. We were having a little game in training and Hymsey pulled up and said he’d taken a little nick on his knee and did we mind if he sat down. Everyone was like, ‘Fine, do what you’ve got to do’.
“The next minute he’s saying he’s got to go back and have surgery. The lads were absolutely devastated for him because he’s worked so hard and he’s such a fit boy, an honest pro and he’s come back so fit, so to have that setback again has not just hit him hard but everyone hard.
"He’s a big loss, he’s such a good player, a very under-rated player for us, I think.”
Town are next in action away against Fortuna Düsseldorf on Friday evening, which will be a new experience for Skuse: “It’ll be something different. I’ve actually never been to Germany before.
“I’m really looking forward to it, I don’t know what to expect in terms of the stadium and how they play and what they’ll be like. It’ll be an interesting couple of days.”
Photo: Action Images
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