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Hurst: Lower League Signings May Take Time to Step Up
Thursday, 9th Aug 2018 21:48

Town boss Paul Hurst admits it may take a little while for his signings from the lower leagues to adjust to the Championship but knows he can’t afford too many of them to take their time to find their feet.

Five of Hurst's signings - Jon Nolan, Toto Nsiala, Ellis Harrison, Gwion Edwards and Jordan Roberts - were playing in League One last season, while Kayden Jackson and Janoi Donacien helped Accrington to the League Two title.

In addition, on-loan Chelsea youngster Trevoh Chalobah made his senior debut in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Blackburn, while Tayo Edun, who netted the late equaliser having come on as a sub a day after joining on loan from Fulham, was playing in his eighth senior match.

Hurst says it’s inevitable that there will be a period of acclimatisation for the players as they step up to the Championship and also for the team to gel given the changes which have taken place over the summer.

“I think so, just in terms of getting the message across,” he said. “Sometimes you feel they’ve got it already, whether it’s in training, whether it’s like the game last Saturday. Some bits I’m thinking, ‘Yes, that’s it’ and then they kind of go away from that slightly.

“To get a team to play exactly as you want, you’re very, very fortunate if it suddenly clicks. It can happen. It probably happened last season [at Shrewsbury] where we went on an unbelievable run at the start.

“But here, a level up, against I think probably more clinical opposition, better quality opposition, it might take a bit of time.

“But while ever I feel that the players are giving everything, and that includes out on the training pitch, I’m certainly willing to give them a little bit of time - but not too much - to put on performances and take us where I want us to be.”

Hurst made the same step up as a player when Rotherham climbed from what’s now League Two to the Championship in successive seasons in the early 2000s.

“A lot of that team which got promoted started the Championship season and played quite a few games,” he recalled.

“And I know at the time the manager [Ronnie Moore] was thinking, ‘We need players’ and again maybe, particularly there due to finance, he couldn’t make too many changes and had to go with what he’d got and we managed to do OK.

Posted by TWTD on Thursday, 9 August 2018

“We were never going to win the league or anything like that but a lot of those players, myself included, in League Two if you’d have told fans and probably managers or even team-mates that you’re good enough to play in the Championship, you’d have been laughed out of there.

“But it just shows that with a determination, a desire what can sometimes be achieved. And these players, like I said, don’t write them off just yet, let’s give them an opportunity.

"Chances are one or two might struggle a little bit and while I want them to perform right now, sometimes it takes players a year, almost two years sometimes.

“That’s OK with one or two, providing everyone else is up to speed. Where we clearly would struggle if all of those are taking a year or two years to get up to speed and chances are I then won’t be here speaking to you. Like I said, I can’t afford for them all to take that time.”

Can he understand some people feeling it might have been too much change too soon?

“Maybe it is, but at the same time if it all goes wrong and maybe I hadn’t instigated those changes and tried to make them happen, I’d have been kicking myself thinking, ‘I’d rather have made those changes’,” he reflected.

“I’m a big believer in that, don’t have any regrets at the end of anything. Go with what you feel is right. If it doesn’t quite work out I’ll probably sit at home drown my sorrows and think and evaluate what I could have done differently. I’m hoping that that’s not for a long time.

“We’ll see. Time will tell and there’s no guarantees either way, that’s what I would say. A bit like one of those situations, hindsight is always a wonderful thing. But fingers crossed, the players that we’ve brought in, added to what was already here, can be competitive and get some good results for us.”

Hurst has taken a very different approach to recruitment from former manager Mick McCarthy which has evidently had the firm backing of owner Marcus Evans.

“You’d have to ask him, if you can get hold of him,” Hurst joked. “In terms of maybe starting with myself and Chris coming in, while it was only a league below, we clearly hadn’t managed in the Championship before.

“And maybe it’s followed suit [with recruitment]. I bring in my thoughts and views of how best to move forward with what we’ve got to work with and I know that there might be some concerns out there. I can’t say that they might not come to fruition, but I want to give it a go doing it a certain way

“And that’s what we’re doing rather than going for maybe the same old names, the tried and tested.

“I want to try and add some value to this squad and I think we’ve got - again there’s never, ever a guarantee - but we’ve got a lot of players in the squad now where you could really see in time clubs being interested in them and us perhaps getting some good fees for them again.

“It’s a relatively young squad, quite fresh and a lot of them are unproven, they’ve got to prove their worth.

“But, from my point of view, it’s going to be exciting working with them and trying to help them develop, trying to give them the confidence to compete in the league against some good clubs and not be overawed by the name of the club or maybe a name that they’re directly against. And let’s have a go is all we’re going to ask of them.”

He says the players he has sought to bring in are the cream of the divisions in which he has operated prior to his move to Town.

“Yes, I think that’s fair comment,” he said. “I did something similar at my previous club, giving players an opportunity to play at the highest level that they have.

“Kayden’s slightly different [having previously had a spell at Barnsley] but I don’t think in truth he would be a player that says, ‘I’ve been a Championship player before’. He was put into the development team really

"But overall I speak about hunger, a little bit of potential but a lot of players I truly believe can make the step up. I wouldn’t have brought them here if not.

“And again, I don’t think I’m being rude to ourselves, we know we have to shop in a certain market. Some of the players that are getting moves I would love to have brought here, but it was never, ever going to happen.

“The more money you’ve got, the easier it is to get exactly what you want. But at the same time I am pleased with the players that we’ve brought in and hopefully the fans will like them as well given a bit of time and seeing them pull the Ipswich Town shirt on.”

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TractorCam added 21:59 - Aug 9
Please be patient Town fans and listen to the big (little) man!

Oldsmoker added 22:17 - Aug 9
I think thats what the intelligent fans had figured all along Paul.
I think most of our sentiments have been expressed in the blog by DazC which he posted earlier today.

Warkys_Tash added 22:38 - Aug 9
Agreed it will take time, but after 15 games if we are bottom of the league, will the same fans be saying the same?

It a risky strategy, selling our two best strikers, centre back and replacing them with unknowns...

I sincerely hope Hurst succeeds but I am worried.

rfretwell added 22:53 - Aug 9
Surprised to hear that Donacian was the cream of his division. Edwards, yes even on his debut he showed flashes of brilliance. He, Nolan Toto, Harrison will be worth millions more if they perform in the Championship.

TimmyH added 23:17 - Aug 9
Mr Hurst you've got a lot of 'managing' to do over the coming months...certainly going to earn his money (which no doubt Evans has saved on over McCarthy too).

parkinshair added 23:36 - Aug 9
We have been treading water for far too long now. Yes, it's a risky strategy but we had stagnated and signing proven workhorses was getting us nowhere. I'm more than happy with how Hurst has gone about his business.

midastouch added 23:53 - Aug 9
"we know we have to shop in a certain market. Some of the players that are getting moves I would love to have brought here, but it was never, ever going to happen.
“The more money you’ve got, the easier it is to get exactly what you want."
Obviously the reason we have to shop in this market is because our owner won't give Paul the licence to shop anywhere else but lower down. Yet our owner in relative terms has more money if not more than a lot of the other owners in this league. Therefore, one can't help but draw the logical conclusion that his heart isn't in it perhaps as much as some of the others owners.
If Paul gets us into an unlikely position where we are punching above our weight and in with a chance of the Play Offs then it will be interesting to see if Evans has learned from his past of 2014 to 2015 mistake. Remember when we were flying under Mick that season but in January Bournemouth and Watford strengthened and consequently had a much better run in. Meanwhile Marcus gave Mick little to nothing extra in January to try and help secure our automatic spot. We were awesome up to Boxing Day that season and then into the New Year we could barely hang on to a Play Off position come May. We went from looking like realistic automatic promotion contenders to barely clinging on to 6th place, only thanks to Derby dropping a big clanger on the last day of the season at home. One can't help but wonder how different it might of been if Marcus had of gone out and got us a couple of top players in Jan that season to help get us over the line. If you can't take a calculated gamble and back your manager in those ideal circumstances then I can't help but wonder if Marcus will ever commit towards what is necessary to give us a proper fighting chance of competing at this level again.
Paul might be able to work miracles but the odds are stacked against him on our transfer budget. It's almost like making him work with one arm tied behind his back if you are always making him shop in League One and League Two and never any higher. I'm all for giving hungry players a chance from those leagues but I would like to see a blend of those mixed with at least one or two signings of proven players at a higher level. If Marcus really wanted it bad enough he could afford it but he just doesn't seem to want to cut loose and do what's needed.
All that said, I'm actually cautiously optimistic that we might punch above our weight if Paul is as good as some seem to think (and his track record gives me some measure of hope) but if this goes horribly wrong then anybody with half a brain will draw the obvious link that ultimately the lack of financial resources (compared to the majority of our rivals) made it virtually mission impossible. Let's hope Paul can defy the odds but don't be shocked if he can't as usually the prizes go to the rich in modern football. Just look at the winners of the Premier League (Man City) and the Championship (Wolves) last season. Man City didn't win the Premier League by signing a load of hungry Championship and League One players, and Wolves didn't win the Championship by signing numerous league one and league two players.
If Paul can get us into the promised land on our minuscule budget then he deserves all the credit in the world but given the bookmakers have us at about 66/1 or 80/1 to win the league there aren't that many that think we're likely to be leading the charge.

midastouch added 00:03 - Aug 10
The rose tinted supporter in me did have a £1 on Ipswich mind you to win the league at 80/1! But obviously if I had any real faith I'd backed us with at least a fiver or a tenner! Still 80/1 is small beer compared to Leicester's odds when they did the impossible. We can but dream and hope for a fairytale ending with a happy ending!

FinnishBlue added 05:09 - Aug 10
Looks like we have decent squad for League one. There's no time for adjusting. 26 Championship goals given away with Waghorn and Garner. Money doesn't score goals... Hopefully Hurst new signings proves me wrong.

geminimustang added 06:49 - Aug 10
"The Emporer with no clothes".I sincerely wish PH every success but this is borderline suicidal tactics.Look at the competition which is stronger than ever and ITFC have assembled a group of players from the lower divisions,note i didn't use the word team.The team will take until Xmas to form and by that time we'll be in a relegation fight.ME may be a very successful businessman but hasn't a clue about football.Don't hesitate to hit the down arrow,you can apologise at Xmas!

lightingblue added 07:15 - Aug 10
My concern is how does Dozzell, Nydam and Downes fit into the system. I’d like to think that these 3 would start stepping up. I appreciate they are young and have had injuries etc but they are starting to get to an age where they almost need to be playing regular football on an almost regular basis.

Dog added 07:43 - Aug 10
Well money has been spent on PH signings. ME has pocketed a cool 5 million so everyone is happy.

I really don't know if PH is a tactical genius or a raving fool. Time will tell. He has nine games to sort it and then the jury will deliver its verdict.

Lets hope his proper blokes get us a win on saturday. If we have the cream of league 1 then we should beat this league 1 outfit.

Pencilpete added 07:49 - Aug 10
I have no idea how we will do, how these signings will adjust, how Paul Hurst will cope ETC .... we might struggle down at the bottom .... we might shock everyone and challenge but at least I'm not sat here saying "we've got a team of proper blokes and we'll finish between 10th and 17th which is what I've said for the last 2 or 3 years !! One last point Bursts first year at Shrewsbury they finish 18th and stayed up by 2 points, 2nd year they should have got promoted. If we do struggle keep the faith at least Hurst has a plan and isn't happy plodding along. As for Evans give him some credit in previous years he has banked the money from player sales, this year he has backed PH to the tune of £5-6million depending on various figures. Let's have some positivity !!

Swn98 added 07:55 - Aug 10
If we don't get 3 points at rotherham we are bang in trouble.
Look at last season we had that fantastic run at the start and the geniuses of the news site kept saying wait till we meet the good teams yet this season those same people are saying the opposite even though we have a team packed with league 1 and 2 players and no obvious 15 plus goal scorer.
Time to start worrying.

SpiritOfJohn added 07:56 - Aug 10
I don't care what league our players come from, but they should have the potential to do well in the Championship, and ultimately be capable of driving us towards promotion. We will never get out of this league (in the right direction) if we are not able to buy or produce - and keep - players who are good enough to play at the highest level.

1RWR added 08:37 - Aug 10
SWN98:If we don't get 3 points at rotherham we are bang in trouble.

So, after game number 2, if we lose, we're in trouble? POPPYCOCK!
You've either heard or read the man's statement "it will take time" in my eyes, as long as we survive
this season & crack on next season with great intent, that'll do me for me!

We've wanted change.....we've got it. We wanted a new manager..........we've got it. We wanted more exciting football.........think we've already got that. "Rome wasn't built in a day" so just cut PH some slack & see where we go. Have a little faith dear boy, have a little faith.

bedsitfc added 08:37 - Aug 10
I for one am a little worried but not overly.
We have been in this league fighting for a mid table position far too long.
Sometimes you have to take a step back before going forward.

Will we win promotion this season? Doubt it very much
Will we be safe? More than likely.

Can I see Ipswich competing at the top of the league next year? Yes

TR11BLU added 08:41 - Aug 10
Refreshing read.

Let the excitement begin

bedsitfc added 08:47 - Aug 10
Remember this is what 99% of fans wanted!!!!

We were unhappy with ex prem players seeing out their careers, matching up to opponents and hoping to nick a win rather than going out to win a game with our own tactics.

We now have a younger hungrier team/manager with options on tactics.

midastouch added 08:59 - Aug 10
I think the main point of that article (and I made a bad fist of emphasising it waffling on above) is that Paul himself has said on the record he'd of found it easier to get what he wanted with a bit more backing, see here:
"Some of the players that are getting moves I would love to have brought here..."
"The more money you’ve got, the easier it is to get exactly what you want."
So he's been forced to try and box clever and I think he may well of made a really good go at it, but just imagine what he might of been able to achieve this season with just another 2 or 3 million of backing. The money was available if Marcus really wanted to let Paul cut loose but Paul was constrained in his options and as had to buy players that most teams in this league (certainly none of the more fancied teams) were never really interested in. That might be a blessing in disguise but nobody can deny it's an uncertain risk. It's exciting, but I am a little worried it might not work out and if it doesn't we'll all of wished that Marcus had of given Paul that little bit extra cash to splash this week.

Batram98 added 09:25 - Aug 10
Selling garner and waggy is a big concern, don't see why garner was sold gives us something completely different up top, sears should have been the one to go for me and now our team especially on paper looks like a league one team

BeattiesBackPocket added 09:31 - Aug 10
Looking forward to the season and for all those fans who grumble and moan about lower league players well the majority of Burleys team were from the lower leagues or youth set up, had anyone heard of David Johnson or Matt Holland before they came in?...No. They may take time to adjust but Rome wasnt built in a day and I would like to hope that the Mick lovers would give this guy as much chance as Mick got.
I like most fans would wish our owner would give managers more money (Thats another debate) so we can compete but its clearly not going to happen so lets get behind the new manager and players.

bedsitfc added 09:47 - Aug 10
Huddlesfield went up last season do they look like a championship team?
What about wolves or Fulham ?

BlueDiamond added 09:54 - Aug 10
Never mind. By the time they have got the hang of Championship football we will have been relegated to Division 1 so they will feel right at home! :)

TractorBoyTommy added 09:59 - Aug 10
After reading the comments I can see that a few of you are echoing what I have been saying on these posts for the last few weeks. Selling experienced players and proven goalscorers with unproven players in the lower league is a massive risk. With the 9 signings we will be lucky if 4-5 of them can make the step up. I also have said what Hursty has said and its going to take time for a whole new team to gel, however when saying this I got a lot of negative feedback and someone even referred to the famous Ipswich team that won the UEFA cup as an example of how a team of unproven players that have never played with each other before can gel (if anyone can relate that to this current team please enlighten me as I am still scratching my head how this comparison is made)

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