Skuse Hoping Sunderland Thrashing Will Help Bring Back Stay Away Fans
Thursday, 28th Sep 2017 18:26
Town midfielder Cole Skuse believes if they can continue their impressive start to the new season they will be able to entice many of the stay-away fans back to Portman Road.
A slump in season ticket sales followed last season’s disappointing 16th-place finish – the club’s lowest in 58 years – and the 14,164 turnout for the recent win against rock-bottom Bolton was the lowest for a home league game since 1998.
Town won their first four league games of the season and currently sit sixth in the table with 18 points, having won another two and lost three of their subsequent fixtures, and have stunned those pundits who saw them as potential relegation candidates in the current campaign.
Skuse said: “Four wins out of four is a dream start for anyone. We had a reasonable pre-season leading up to our last game but we got slapped at Charlton, a real kick in the face.
“We were thinking we needed to get off to a good start so it was brilliant and to be in the position we’re in at the minute, with a game in hand, is a great start by anyone’s standards.
“The fans are entitled to do what they need to do but after a 5-2 result against Sunderland the other night you’d like to think we’re going about it in the right way to get them back onside.
“I was as disappointed as anyone last season and I know what it must have been like for the staff at the club, the fans and everyone around the town.
“But we’ve had a great start, a few wins, scored lots of goals and played some great stuff and it would be great if we had a bigger crowd on Saturday to get behind us.
“Fans can make a big difference. At Elland Road last week they had a sell-out crowd and I thought the atmosphere was fantastic. It gave them the lift they needed at the start of the game. If we could get crowds like that it would be a real help and give us a big push.
“In all fairness, even through the roughest times last season, the atmosphere around the place – and I can’t speak on behalf of all the staff – but in the changing room it was brilliant. It’s a great group, we’re always buoyant and confident, and the momentum we have built up along with the start we’ve had can only add to that. It’s been a real good place to work.”
While Town being the Championship’s leading scorers has placed the main focus on Town’s attacking players, Skuse’s new partnership with Tom Adeyemi has also caught the eye.
“He’s a great lad and a very, very honest pro,” said Skuse. “He’s got a lot of good traits – he’s well disciplined, he’s a clever and intelligent footballer with a very good footballing brain.
“He’s also done very well to get back into shape and fitness in a short period of time after his illness and in the games he has played he has done well.
“In terms of a partnership it’s no different to anyone else. When I play I go out and play my own game and I’m still the one who is sat a bit deeper, which gives him the licence to get forward.
“I thought he was very unlucky not to score against Sunderland with a great header in the first half. Out of the two of us he’s the one looking to get forward more often and he’s very clever in the way he plays. If I do break forward he’ll just slot in for me.”
Skuse also had praise for another team-mate in Jordan Spence, who was also a colleague in two loan spells at Bristol City. “He had a really successful first loan spell and he had a couple of injuries the second time so it wasn’t as successful,” recalled Skuse.
“He was a good player for us at Bristol City and he’s had a real good spell of late here.
“I think his favourite position would be right-back but he’s had a good spell at centre-back.
“It was an unbelievable goal he scored the other day against Sunderland because the ball was going back, away from him, so he had to get round and arch his neck to get his head on it. It was an unbelievable finish. His celebrations are worse than mine by the way!”
Skuse turned his attention to the club’s academy, in which he takes a great deal of interest after he joined the Bristol City set-up aged nine and made it all the way to the first team, clocking up more than 300 appearances before joining Town in the summer of 2013.
Several young players have forced their way into Town’s senior squad this season and Skuse said: “They’re all great players and if you look a bit further down the academy age groups I’m hearing good things too.
“If I speak to [head of football development] Bryan Klug or [academy head of recruitment] Steve McGavin they will give me reports on lads in the U14s and U15s who are playing for England and who certain clubs will be chasing for their signature when they get older.
“Throughout the whole academy there’s an abundance of young talent and the boys who have already broken into the first team squad have done well.
“You look at the likes of Woolfy [Luke Woolfenden] on the bench every week and lads who are just missing out.
“There’s a great conveyor belt, which is a representation of the academy and a credit to those who put in the work that goes on behind the scenes.
“The lads who have come in have fully deserved their chance. Flynn [Downes] has been fantastic and Doz [Andre Dozzell] had a great start to the first game of the season before being unlucky and picking up his injury. Everyone knows the ability he has.
“Tristan [Nydam] has a great trait – it can be a great trait or it can be a down side to some players – in that he can play several different positions.
“I had it in the early part of my career when I was playing in central midfield one week, right-back the next and right side of midfield the week after that.
“Like I say, it can be a great trait if you can play in a lot of positions but there’s also a down side to it. The bottom line with Tristan, however, is that he’s a fantastic player.
“I came through the academy at Bristol City, making the journey all the way to the first team, and that’s why I take an interest in the young lads looking to do the same here at Ipswich.
“It was good for me and I want to see other kids benefitting in the same way. It’s a great academy here with great staff and because we’re all in the same building it isn’t difficult to realise all the hard work that goes into bringing these players through the system.
“It’s phenomenal and I’m genuinely interested in it, especially people like Bryan and Steve, who know the game so well, and I enjoy picking their brains.”
But for academy graduate and former Northgate High School pupil Luke Hyam the misery continues. He underwent a further knee operation that will keep him out until Christmas and Skuse has plenty of sympathy for his fellow midfielder’s battle to be injury-free.
He added: “Luke’s had another setback and we all really, really feel for him. Every day he comes in and he gets his head down but he just seems to be having setback after setback.
“He’s such a lovely boy as well and you just want him to get on the mend, get his boots back on and have a good run.
“He’s a great lad and he’s in the best of hands with Matt Byard and Alex Chapman – they’re great physios and do their best to look after him.”
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