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Ipswich Town 2 v 2 Blackburn Rovers
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Saturday, 4th August 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Klug: I'm Very Fortunate to Have Big Responsibility
Thursday, 12th Apr 2018 18:41

Town visit Nottingham Forest on Saturday for the first match of the four-game Bryan Klug era, former boss Mick McCarthy having departed along with his assistant Terry Connor on Tuesday. Caretaker-manager Klug, who first joined the Blues as a player in 1977 during Sir Bobby Robson’s time as boss, says he’s “very fortunate” to have been handed the role and knows it is a “big responsibility”.

The 57-year-old, who has been working as the academy’s head of coaching and player development, has spent most of his career in youth coaching but knows the emphasis is far more on winning matches at senior level, while he knows that part of his role is to start to heal the rift which has developed between the club and its fans.

Following the Blues’ trip to the City Ground, Aston Villa are in Suffolk next weekend, Town travel to Reading and then Middlesbrough are at Portman Road on the final day.

“I share one trait with Mick, I like winning games of football,” Klug said. “I know there is a bigger picture here. Obviously, it’s a tough league and every game is going to be tough and I did have a giggle with Mick when I saw the games he’d left us to get through.

“I look at the managers in there, they’re going to be quaking in their boots probably coming up against me.

“I’m coming from youth development aren’t I, so we’re allowed to say [it’s about performances and development] but I know the game’s about winning. But they're fantastic games, I want the lads to go and try and express themselves and play and enjoy it.

“But it’s about winning, I know that. I know what the game’s about, I’ve been around a long time.”

His four games will see him face two experienced bosses in Villa’s Steve Bruce and Boro’s Tony Pulis as well as two up and coming younger managers in the shape of Reading’s Paul Clement and first Forest’s Aitor Karanka.

“I’ve met one or two of them, I’ve come up against some of them a couple of times,” he said. “But it’s just terrific and we’ll look over at their bench and I’ll see those faces, and actually some of the [players on the] benches as well for some of those teams. Actually, perhaps I won’t look!”

Inevitably, given his background, fans are expecting Klug to play a lot of younger players during his spell in charge but he says that while they will get their chance, there are unlikely to be wholesale changes.

“I think there has to be a balance for a variety of reasons,” he explained. “I very much think that for the development of these players it's about finding the right time and the opportunity.

“Listen, I want to get as many minutes for as many young players as we possibly can but you’ve got to be fair and make sure you’re putting out a team which is very competitive.

“It is a balance, but of course I’m going to put them in whenever I can. At the same time, the more senior or established players, if they’re performing in the right way, I’ll take it game by game, but very much on what people show me. But if it’s possible we’ll get them on the pitch, of course I will.”

He says it’ll be impossible to turn Town into a ‘Bryan Klug team’ in the time he has available.

“I think that’s very difficult, especially when the players have been used to something for as long as we have,” he said.

“It’s very unusual in football that a manager does five and a half years at a club and there’s so much that you want to keep.

“To throw something completely different, which might be a ‘Bryan Klug team’, I don’t know, but I share the trait with Mick that we want to win, we want to be competitive.

“I think to change too much will spook players, so there will be some differences but there’s not going to be a revolution. That would be ridiculous, that takes a lot longer than one day’s training like we’ve had today.”

How will he feel on Saturday morning ahead of the game? “Nervous, I think, of course I’ll be excited, but this is not my best [suit], I can think of things in football that I’m better suited to.

"When I came down as a 17-year-old, if I’d have looked Mr Robson in the eye and said one day I was going to be standing on the touchline, he would have laughed. I’m very fortunate and I’m very aware of that. It’s a big responsibility.”

Town’s injury situation is as it was going into Tuesday’s game against Barnsley with skipper Luke Chambers and Adam Webster both unavailable.

Klug is unlikely to stray too far from McCarthy’s side given the short time he has been working with the squad; his first session with them was on Thursday morning.

Bartosz Bialkowski will be in goal with Barry Cotter likely to keep his place at right wing-back following his hugely promising debut on Tuesday, with Myles Kenlock at left wing-back.

Jordan Spence and Jonas Knudsen are likely to be either side of Cameron Carter-Vickers in the back three.

Cole Skuse will wear the captain’s armband in the centre of midfield, probably alongside Callum Connolly, although Luke Hyam is another option.

Up front, Grant Ward and Freddie Sears could come into the reckoning for the wide roles occupied by Bersant Celina and Mustapha Carayol on Tuesday with Martyn Waghorn again set to play the central role.

If Klug is considering giving an academy graduate a first start, Ben Folami might also come into his thinking for the front three. Otherwise the Australian and Ben Morris will be among the subs.

Forest, who are 18th, six places and 10 points behind the Blues, are without a goal in their last six games, three goalless draws having been followed by three defeats.

They last scored 551 minutes of football ago in a 2-1 victory over Birmingham at home on March 3rd.

Manager Karanka says he has plans to add to his striking options in the summer but in the meantime has to work with who he currently has at his disposal.

“We do have targets in mind,” he told the Nottingham Post. “I have a lot of targets in place.

“But my first target is Ipswich on Saturday and trying to win with the players we have here.

“Again this crowd deserves a win at home and the players deserve a win, because they are working hard for it.”

One player not available to the Spanish former Boro boss is ex-Blues frontman Daryl Murphy, who has a calf problem having previously had a rib injury.

“I do not know. I do not know. I do not know. I am the coach, not the physio,” Karanka said when asked when the 35-year-old Irish international might return.

“It would be a boost to have somebody like Daryl back, but I cannot do anything with players who are not training with us. I hope he can be back as soon as possible.”

The Forest boss doesn’t care who scores or when his side finds the net just as long as they end their goal drought against the Blues.

“I don’t mind if it is the first minute or the last – the main thing is to score a goal and to win a game, because everyone deserves that here,” he said.

“The players deserve that, the crowd deserve that and my aim and my biggest target is to finish the season as well as possible. Because we want to give ourselves a positive start for next season.”

In addition to Murphy, midfielder David Vaughan is out with an ankle injury and club captain Chris Cohen is a long-term absentee with a knee problem.

Blues captain Chambers, who is likely to be alongside Klug and caretaker-assistants Gerard Nash and Chris Hogg on the bench on Saturday, joined Town on a Bosman free transfer after departing the City Ground in the summer of 2012 and was targeted by his old club on deadline day in January 2017.

Chambers made 209 starts and 20 sub appearances for the Tricky Trees, scoring 21 goals, having joined them from Northampton in January 2007.

Currently injured striker David McGoldrick signed on loan at Town from Forest in January 2013 before putting pen to paper on a permanent deal the following summer.

Having joined Forest from Southampton in June 2009, he scored nine goals in 36 starts and 39 games from the bench.

Fellow injured Blues frontman Joe Garner was at the City Ground between July 2008 and August 2011, scoring 10 goals in 35 starts and 20 sub appearances.

Mustapha Carayol joined Town in January after leaving Forest. The Gambian international made 17 starts and 21 sub appearances in 18 months at the City Ground.

Ex-Town striker Murphy joined Forest from Newcastle last summer for £2 million and has scored seven goals this season, none since November.

Waterford-born Murphy scored 67 goals in 207 starts and 18 substitute appearances for Town in three loan spells and a permanent stint - June 2013 to August 2016 - at Portman Road.

Forest keeper Stephen Henderson, who is on loan back at his former club Portsmouth, was on loan with the Blues from West Ham twice in the 2012/13 season making 24 appearances.

Another ex-Town loanee, Jack Colback, joined Forest on loan from Newcastle in January and has made 12 appearances for the East Midlands side.

The midfielder had two spells on loan with the Blues from Sunderland and made a total of 46 starts and eight sub appearances, scoring five goals.

Historically, Forest very much have the upper hand, winning 36 of the games between the two sides (33 in the league), with 18 (17) ending in draws and Town winning 22 (21).

At Portman Road at the start of December, Connolly, Dominic Iorfa, Waghorn and Celina were all on target as Town beat Nottingham Forest 4-2.

Connolly netted his second goal in two games in the seventh minute, Forest equalised via Kieran Dowell’s freekick on 29, then Iorfa’s first senior goal restored Town’s lead in the 37th minute before Tyler Walker made the scoreline 2-2 six minutes later.

Eight minutes after the break Waghorn made the most of some hesitant defending to make it 3-2 and Celina sealed a deserved three points on 67.

The teams last met at the City Ground - where Town are without a win since December 1999 - on the final day of last season when Forest saw themselves to Championship safety with a 3-0 victory over the Blues.

Britt Assombalonga put the home side in front via a 43rd minute penalty, skipper Chris Cohen made it 2-0 on 57 then, having missed a second spot-kick, Assombalonga added the third in the 69th minute.

Saturday’s referee is Darren England from South Yorkshire, who has shown 127 yellow cards and seven red in 34 games so far this season.

His last Town match was the 1-0 defeat at Bristol City last month in which he booked Knudsen and one home player.

England, who is in his second season as a Championship official and has refereed 27 matches at this level, had only taken control of one Town game prior to that, the 2-0 win at Sunderland a month earlier in which he booked Garner and one home player.

Squad from: Bialkowski, M Crowe, Spence, Kenlock, Knudsen, Carter-Vickers, Cotter, Smith, Skuse (c), Connolly, Hyam, Bru, Gleeson, Nydam, Ward, Celina, Carayol, Waghorn, Sears, Folami, Morris.

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massivemole added 18:44 - Apr 12
Good luck. Your one of own.

therein61 added 18:51 - Apr 12
A proper Town man talking(what a refreshing change) I know you don't want the job Brian you are happy bringing our future through, but I think that with your chosen committee you can give us long suffering fans something to be excited and positive about for a change, the future is blue not black!!!!!! C.O.Y.B.

TheTrueBlue1878 added 19:17 - Apr 12
I cannot express enough for how long I've wanted to hear these words from a Town manager. "I want the lads to go and try and express themselves and play and enjoy it."

FromIpswichToPhoenix added 21:27 - Apr 12
127 yellow cards and seven red in 34 games so far this season? That's almost four yellows a game...

TractorBeezer added 22:12 - Apr 12
Good luck Brian. Hope that you enjoy the experience. It's certainly refreshing to see some modesty and humility.

marinerswagepacket added 22:34 - Apr 12
If any one deserves a chance it's Brian, Good luck mate we our all in this together ... I.T.I.D.

armchaircritic59 added 22:55 - Apr 12
I think we can (mostly) all breathe a sigh of relief over possible managerial appointments. If it was going to be the likes of McClaren or Pardew, there'd be no block for an appointment now. Reading between the lines, i strongly think it's going to be one of the "up and comings" though which one is anyone's guess at the moment, if not why wait till the seasons over.

megamoth added 00:00 - Apr 13
Good luck to you Brian. Longer term, my head says Cowleys or Mogga, my heart says Hoddle. There, said it.

Met a fellow ITFC supporter on the London underground at Farringdon tonight. Only had two stops with him before I had to get off at my stop. Neil - if you're reading this, DM me and will hook up with you for a pint.

woohoo added 08:10 - Apr 13
I'm sure all fans will wish Brian the very best of luck.

carsey added 10:22 - Apr 13
What a refreshing change Brian Klug is - clearly an Ipswich man who cares about the club. As much as I was anti McCarthy style of football if the man had demonstrated even a modicum of Klugs ability to speak as though he really cared he would probably still be here.
Anyway - onwards and upwards - whatever the results between now and seasons end I am looking forward to games where everyone is supportive of the players on the pitch and coaches on the touch line.
My remaining hope for this year is that ME selects the right person and gives them some real financial support during the summer.

brendanh added 13:45 - Apr 13
Bryan Klug is exactly the manager we need: a great coach and steeped in the Ipswich way. No more personality-cult, no more futile attempts to wheeler-deal success. Hope he's given the job permanently.

The only change Evans should ever have made is to retain star academy-graduates for longer. With Klug in charge we can return to this successful, tried-and-trusted ITFC strategy: build around the youth team, and fill in the gaps with the underappreciated from lower leagues. ITFC should not be in the business of out wheeler-dealing our competition, has never, will never work. This has been shown ever since Evans arrived in 2007.

To those who say our problem is Evans not giving enough to the manager to spend in the transfer market, when he bank-rolls the club to the tune of > £7m per year: you aren't supporting, and don't understand Ipswich Town FC.

Lord_Mac added 15:09 - Apr 13
"I've said to the players that I haven't got the qualities and I don't want some of the qualities I think you need to cope with this job."

I'd say that's exactly what makes a successful man manager and Robson might very well have said the same thing. I doubt he'd have laughed at all.

Let's suppose - just suppose - that we get 8 or more points from these last four games? What then? Why not go for a management team with the emphasis on academy development? Surely, it's about the only business model we can adopt which would make us competitive with the big spenders. We have the whole of Suffolk to ourselves to recruit home-grown talent and there are some excellent non-league teams to partner with, like Leiston, Needham Market, Felixstowe & Walton, Bury Town etc.

Why not go for something different?

itsonlyme added 18:00 - Apr 13
Lord Mac your sentiments are good but Brian has stated quite clearly that he does not want the job. I think you have to have a certain strong mentality to be a manager and I think Brian is too 'nice' if you know what I mean.

Pendejo added 18:35 - Apr 13
1. Roots in Robson Era - isn't that enough to make your hairs stand up on end?
2. After this stint let the man do what he thinks he is best at

Good luck Brian Klug, for the next 4 games and the next few years working with the person[s] chosen to follow Mr. McCarthy


dirtydingusmagee added 19:17 - Apr 13
Good luck Brian , hope the lads give you 100% and we can all look foreward to a new era, Hope the new optimism continues and Evans dosnt screw it up this time . COYB

1966 added 21:16 - Apr 13
Men Who Have Managed Ipswich town Fc , Sir Alf Ramsey/ Bobby Robson/George Burley / Bryan Klug (Caretaker) All Share a Common Bond , Very Modest and understaded . But Have an Understanding of How Football Should be Played and a Very impressive CV . Mick Had None of These Things ......

guentchev added 23:22 - Apr 13
Wish Klug had been put in charge a few matches ago when things really started to go south. It might have given the team the necessary motivation to push towards that 6th spot.

shakytown added 01:51 - Apr 14
Those stats say it all phoenix. Muckball at it's absolute worst. I personally believe that the massive injury crisis at Ipswich is totally because of the useless outdated gits style of play. Shame the hopeless outdated no hoper was not sacked 2 seasons ago. good riddance to bad rubbish and upwards and onwards for Ipswich town.

groundhog added 09:14 - Apr 14
Mr Klug may not want the managers job, I'm thinking he would make a very good director of all things ipswich town. Also known as a director of football. Someone to work with evans to show the right path and maybe we might get the right manager.

warktheline added 09:59 - Apr 14
Good luck today Mr Klug! Cowley' s aside one more name I wouldn't mind seeing walking through the famous Portman Rd gates is Steve Clarke! Done a tremendous job at Reading until he made an error of judgement talking to Fulham, and thereafter at WBA good, and now turning Kilmarnock from cannon fodder to unlikely European football possibilities !

warktheline added 10:13 - Apr 14
*thereafter should read prior.

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