Hurst: Derby Waghorn Interest News to Me But We've Had a Conversation
Tuesday, 24th Jul 2018 22:55 by Nick Ames
Town manager Paul Hurst has refused to fuel the growing speculation linking Martyn Waghorn with a move to Derby County, although he admitted that he has “had a conversation” with the sought-after frontman.
Speaking after Town’s 1-0 win over MK Dons, a victory earned through Freddie Sears’ second-half penalty, Hurst said he knew nothing of any developments regarding Waghorn’s future but was cryptic when asked why he had been left on the bench for the entire 90 minutes.
“Nothing’s changed since the weekend on that side,” Hurst said. “If [Derby are in for him] it’s news to me, if anything’s changed. I’m sure, when I switch my phone on, if there’s anything I’ll be getting a call to say so.”
National newspaper reports this evening suggest Waghorn has put in a transfer request and Hurst was reluctant to elaborate on discussions that have taken place between the pair.
“I’ve spoken with Martyn,” he said. “I’m not going to divulge at this moment in time what that conversation was, but we have had a conversation.”
Asked whether Waghorn’s lack of action against the League Two side was simply through a desire to assess other squad options, Hurst simply replied “Possibly”.
Any deal with the Rams would complicate what already looks likely to be a frantic two and a half weeks of pre-deadline day activity at Portman Road. “I feel like it’s groundhog day,” Hurst said of Town’s chase to add to the four summer signings they have already made.
“Every time I open my eyes you start the process of trying to come up with something new or hoping a situation has changed.
“Just because Ellis [Harrison] has come in it doesn’t mean it’s the end of our business. The lads have done well tonight but we certainly need more bodies still, every Ipswich Town fan can see that I’m sure. We’re talking about being patient: it’s a testing time, it’s testing my patience, but we’ll get there in the end.”
On Monday the Scunthorpe chairman Peter Swann said his club had rejected a “rubbish” bid from Town for their left-back, Conor Townsend. Asked whether such a bid had been placed, Hurst answered: “If he’s said that then it must be true.”
Hurst would not say how many players he is targeting – “I’d better not because I’ll scare the owner… no, we still need a few more” – but admitted that central defence remains an urgent priority.
“We’re looking at a couple of lads obviously,” he said. “Credit to Luke Woolfenden, he’s looking a good player. Is he ready to play 46 games a season? We all know that’s certainly not the case but that’s nothing against him.
“Between him and Luke Chambers they’re the only two recognised centre-backs we have, a couple of players can fill in there but if that happens we’re stretched in other areas.
“So certainly I’d suggest that’s the most obvious place we need strength, whether that’s strength in depth or lads coming in to start. We want competition all over the pitch.”
On the pitch, Hurst was far happier with a dominant performance against Paul Tisdale’s side that should have yielded a bigger winning margin. Town pressed intensely for much of the game but failed to take advantage of several promising situations near the goal.
“I was pretty pleased, I think it was the best we’ve been so far,” he said. "In particular our pressing to win the ball back high up the pitch, there were improvements to be seen there.
“The lads did it with more intent tonight, a better attitude towards that side of the game, which enabled us to have some opportunities we didn’t take advantage of.
“That’s probably the biggest standout for me, we’ve still got to stop making the ballboys and stewards be as busy when we’re in good positions. But certainly the best performance since I’ve arrived.”
Although Town did not miss a string of clear chances, he highlighted that being clinical does not necessarily equate to converting a shot on goal.
“It’s not really someone being through on goal and missing target, it’s more the final pass or cross into the box,” he said. “That’s where we’ve certainly got to be more clinical.
“Bart’s made a big save which would have made the scoreline 1-1, and if that’s finished like that I think it would have been an injustice to a lot of the work the players carried out over the 90 minutes.
“But if you don’t get that second goal you always leave yourselves vulnerable.”
Hurst was particularly pleased with Harrison, who put in a lively 63 minutes and came close to scoring in both halves. Harrison seemed particularly well cut-out for the pressing game and his new manager believes there is much more to come.
“He’s mobile, he is a threat when we get balls in the box, he was unlucky in particular with one header,” he said.
“He hasn’t trained with the players, that’s his first outing. I’m pleased with how he’s already settled in with the group, he’s a good character in the dressing room and will be, moving forwards.
“His movement was good so, as we haven’t done any work with him yet, it’s a very positive sign.”
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