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Hurst: Fans Showed They Appreciate Good Players in My Only Portman Road Appearance
Tuesday, 12th Jun 2018 14:39

Paul Hurst checked in at Portman Road as the new Town manager and revealed it was only the second time in his career that he had set foot in the stadium.

He recalled: “I have only played here once. It was a midweek game when I was playing for Rotherham and I’m pretty sure we got beaten [4-3 in April 2005]. But one of our own players [Jamal Campbell-Ryce] actually got a standing ovation from the Ipswich fans.

“I don’t think either I or my team-mates particularly thought he deserved that and the manager certainly told him that afterwards. But it showed a side to the Ipswich fans that they appreciate good players and that’s my only real memory.

“Everything else has been looking at the club and, when you’re in the game, the things you hear. It’s a well run football club and I think it’s well respected throughout the leagues.”

Asked about the strength of the squad he inherits, he added: “There are clearly a lot of good young players coming through, which I know is part of the club’s tradition, and we all know how fans love it when people they call their own come through the academy.

“Added to that there are some good experienced pros, so there’s a nice mix. I think it’s slightly unbalanced and that’s something I have already spoken to the owner about.

“We’ll try to do something in due course about that. Overall, there are some good footballers.

“As I’ve said before, it wasn’t just a case of staying up last year; it was with problems along the way in terms of injuries.

“That’s something we have to look at very quickly – are those players going to be fit and available, and can we keep them fit? If we can we’ve certainly got some very good players at our disposal.”

Town were plagued by injury woes last season, with the likes of midfielders Andre Dozzell, Teddy Bishop, Tom Adeyemi, Emyr Huws and Luke Hyam all absent for long spells, and Hurst added: “Contact injuries are what they are. While I sometimes stand on the side and question whether it is still a contact game, it is, but work on the training ground and the monitoring that we’ll do will hopefully help to reduce the number of injuries.

“You’re always going to get some along the way but certainly at my previous club, in terms of actual muscular injuries, we only had two or three. It helps when you are winning games – players want to be fit when you are winning games as well – so hopefully we will see a similar trend here.”

The now departed Mick McCarthy spent five and a half years in charge and Hurst was asked if a similar period would represent success in his eyes. He replied: “For any manager five years is a very good record. But I never really put any timescale on it. We’re on a course at the minute and we were speaking about it yesterday. It is almost deemed to be a job where you are just trying to survive.

“What I would say, though, is that there haven’t been that many managers here. I think you are given time – I certainly hope that’s the case – to be a success and bring your own stamp to the football club.

“There are already a lot of good things happening here and hopefully we can add to that. For me as a manager it’s about trying to improve a football club.

“Every one I have been at to date, I’ve left in a better place. That’s satisfying from my point of view and hopefully we can do the same here.”

Hurst came close to winning promotion to the Championship with former club Shrewsbury, despite them being most bookies’ favourites for the drop when the odds were first published a year ago.

He famously posted the odds on the dressing room wall as a reminder to his players of the size of the task they were facing. Will he take similar action with some bookies already seeing Town as relegation candidates next term?

He said: “It will certainly be mentioned here. Whether we go down the exact same route, I can’t say, but when you work with a group of people – and it doesn’t matter whether it’s football or business – that team has got to share a goal and a vision, and they’ve got to be together.

“If that helps to bond the players more and give that little bit extra edge and determination, whether it’s to prove people wrong, we’ll see.

“If you ask me, I think they’ve gone a little bit early in terms of predicting we’ll be at the wrong end of the table.”

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goat_man added 14:53 - Jun 12
"players want to be fit when you are winning games as well" - Probably explains an awful lot. Players may not have wanted to be fit under McCarthy because they knew they would be played in poor formations and end up looking bad and being booed.

jabberjackson added 15:01 - Jun 12
I want to be positive all the time now, in this new era!
However, that is nonsense Goat man

jdtractor96 added 15:51 - Jun 12
Oh my god I love him

northernblues added 16:32 - Jun 12
I was at that game, campbell-rice played well and deserved his applause!

TractorBeezer added 16:44 - Jun 12
Well said Paul. I wish you well.

BTW I was at the Rotherham game in 2005 with my son (his only opportunity to get to Portman Road while visiting from Canada). It was a very entertaining game with end to end action. I overheard my son on the phone with a buddy. 'This makes hockey look like a pussy's game!

heathen66 added 21:04 - Jun 12
I am unsure why goat_man has so many down votes. Unfortunately this is a fact of life not just at our club, nor just because it was Mick McCarthy, but I can assure you there will not be as many on the treatment table now Paul Hurst has come through the door.
All will be out to impress at the earliest opportunity...and you won't be able to do that on the treatment table.

heathen66 added 21:09 - Jun 12
Paul Hurst is certainly making all the right noises.
I for one am looking forward to the coming season and what we all hope to have and that is a club that we can be proud of again.
We all need to get behind Paul and his new ideas, however we must not kid ourselves that everything is rosy in the garden.
Hurst needs time to establish his style and bring in some of his type of players.
The nest season will be a building block , and then hopefully we can all move forward...together !!!

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