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Skuse: We're Going Through a Blip, We're Not Hiding Away From It
Sunday, 15th Dec 2019 17:12

Vice-captain Cole Skuse admits Town are going through a “little bit of a blip” at present but says no one is hiding away from it and is confident that squad has what it takes to finish the season in the top two.

Skuse skippered from right-back as the second-placed Blues were beaten 2-1 at home by Bristol Rovers on Saturday and admitted his team had a mountain to climb after allowing the Pirates, who are up to fourth, two early goals.

“Giving a team that’s in a good run of form and in a decent spot in the league, chasing similar spots to ourselves, a two-goal start, sloppy goals from our behalf as well, it’s going to be tough,” he said.

“Even when they went down to 10 men, it’s still tough because they camp men in behind the ball and it’s tough to break down.

“On the flip-side, we still had chances, we got in good areas and on another day we could have nicked something.”

Despite being 2-1 behind at half-time a Town comeback to win 3-2 or 4-2 looked on with the Blues encamped in and around the visitors’ box in the minutes before the break.

“Yes, the two goals we conceded, without being disrespectful to them, they didn’t offer much more,” Skuse added.

“We had them penned in for a huge chunk of the first half and, you’d argue, without really threatening their goal too much in the second half, we had loads of possession and penned them in.

“It’s just a frustrating one because it was a big game for us and we’re on a little bit of a blip, which happens to every team, let’s not get away from that. We’ve got to look to turn that around as quickly as we can next weekend.”

The Blues are now without a win in their last four League One matches, three draws and Saturday’s defeat, with their last won the 1-0 success at Rochdale on November 5th. In all competitions Town have won once over 90 minutes in the last 10.

Asked whether Town are missing skipper Luke Chambers, Skuse said: “Yes, Chambo would be missed in any team not just because of his presence and his voice, his ability as well, he’s been around the block and he’s a very, very good centre-half.

“But saying that, in fairness to them, in the last couple of weeks the lads have been brilliant, Luke Woolfenden and Willo have been brilliant today, and probably warrant their places at the minute.”

The Blues have scored only nine goals in their last 10 games in all competitions and Skuse accepts Town are struggling to find the net at present.

“As a team, yes,” he said. “Like I say, we’re going through a little blip, which all teams go through. We’re not hiding away from it, we’re going to front up to it and it’ll turn for us.

“We’re trying to take positives from the negative situation. Granted we’ve just lost at home to a team in and around us, but we’ve still got a game in hand, we’re still in second place and we’re still in December. There’s no league ever won in December.”

Bristolian Skuse, who was with Bristol Rovers as a schoolboy before joining Bristol City where he spent 17 years before signing for Town in 2013, says he has no long-term concerns regarding the run - “No” - and still firmly believes the squad is capable of finishing in the top two.

“Of course I do,” he insisted. “I’m not just saying that to you because I’m stood chatting to you now, you don’t come and think, ‘Jesus, we’re in a false position, it’s a false dawn’. It’s not. We’ve earnt our place.

“And it’s a huge credit to the group of lads that we’ve got to have turned around the mentality we had from last season. Let’s not get away from the fact that we were losing and drawing most weeks, we had a really poor season.

“To spin that round and be second in the league this early in the season is a credit to everyone.”

While fans have for the most part stuck with the Blues, there were a smattering of boos at full-time on Saturday and Skuse is aware there might come a tipping point if the poorer form continues.

“There’s always going to be because we’re a huge club and I know the gaffer has said it before, we’re there to be shot at, everyone wants to come to Ipswich or play Ipswich and beat Ipswich,” he added.

“So we can’t cower away from it, we’ve got to be bold and when the fans do turn you’ve got be bold and take the ball and still be brave.

“But are fans are brilliant on the whole, they’re a great group and they deserve a good, positive season this season.”

While Town’s away form - 23 points from 10 games - is the best in the division - Rotherham are second with 20 from 11 - the Blues are 16th in the home form table having taken only 13 points from nine League One matches at Portman Road, winning just three.

Asked what he believes is behind the disparity, Skuse said: “It’s definitely the approach from the opposition, but that’s credit to them, they’ve come with a game plan, to do a job and get the result.

“We’d be doing exactly the same. That’s the Ipswich Town badge and name going ahead of us, teams want to come here and do a number on us.

“And if that means coming here to set-up and camp behind the ball and hit us on counter-attacks, we’ve got to be big enough, brave enough and ugly enough to come away from the game having dealt with that.”

Skuse admits it was a surprise to start at right-back, a role he often played early on in his career at Bristol City and has occupied on a handful of occasions at Town.

“A bit of a surprise,” he said. “JD [Janoi Donacien] fell ill overnight. With Chambo coming back from a serious neck and back injury it’s a bit too soon for him, so the gaffer said he needed me to play at right-back, which is something I’ve done before. It’s not brand new to me, it's showing a bit of versatility and if it’s helping out, it’s helping out.”

At Friday’s press conference manager Paul Lambert said that at 33 Skuse won’t go on forever and praised the recent form of youngsters Andre Dozzell and Flynn Downes in central midfield. However, Skuse believes he has a few more years in him yet.

“I’ll never go on forever, that’s one thing you definitely can’t do, but I’m far from at that point yet,” he said.

“I feel really fit, I feel good, I feel as if I’ve had a reasonable start to the season. I’ve played every league game up until last weekend, so I feel I can offer far more for far more years than just the end of this one.”

Reflecting on Dozzell and Downes, he added: “They are talents and you can’t hide away from that, they’re England internationals and they deserve all the plaudits they get.

“I’m not the one that picks the team, the gaffer picks the team and he’ll go with the team that he wants to go with.”

Looking ahead to the games over the Christmas period, the Blues are at Portsmouth next Saturday with a visit to leaders Wycombe, who are now seven points ahead of Town, the pick of the holiday fixtures on New Year’s Day.

“Big games," Skuse reflected. "Some very tough games and, like I say, we’re not going to hide away from anyone, we’re bold enough and brave enough to go and take anyone on.”

Photo: TWTD

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ITFCsince73 added 17:23 - Dec 15
Considering you once had Premiership class, and have bags of experience.
You haven’t performed as expected.
Pinning 40 or 50 yard balls around, and bossing the midfield.
That’s what we hoped for, but hasn’t happened.
To many average performances from a 1st name on the team sheet type player.

Suffolkboy added 18:08 - Dec 15
A cool calm reflection from CS especially considering the almost total nonsense written on the TWTD site about his role and performance this week .
He hints , only , and with care at the difference we have to make : SCORE some goals ,Yesterday we created several but fluffed our lines when it came to putting the ball in the net ; and our opponents looked up for the fight , desperate to challenge and prepared to lay lives on the line to prevent us .
We need to find the same edge to our attacks ,and more cohesion in the last third !

ITFCsince73 added 18:12 - Dec 15
Suffolkboy it’s his role and performance so far this season, last season etc. Not just his last game.
Which, yet again was average at best.

MrTown added 18:14 - Dec 15
At least someone is recognising it. The gaffer seems to be shying away from it.

Bert added 19:04 - Dec 15
Sincere and accurate words from Skuse. He may not win many accolades but at present he is needed in the team whilst players like Dozzell are still finding their feet and only contributing from time to time. We are not edgy enough or at time physical enough for this division but by and large we are a better team than most. PL must start to play the best eleven and ride out the injuries that will come. The squad is big enough to do that.

cat added 19:25 - Dec 15
I felt Skuse was hung out yesterday. To get up and down the pitch you have to have some pace, or at least be comfortable crossing the half way line, unfortunately Skuse don’t possess either.
Same with his ‘bestie’ Chambo, don’t quite agree that we have missed him, one things for sure though we do play out from the back more and look far more comfortable on the ball in our own half.
Bit difficult to argue against the fact that both have done okay this season, but in this pish poor league that’s the minimum requirement.

BettyBlue added 19:39 - Dec 15
Yadda Yadda Yadda.........

Has anyone at ITFC ever considered that rather than coming on here with endless excuses and promises they could just put it right on the pitch?

Dozzells_Bobblehat added 19:45 - Dec 15
Was always gonna happen at some point . Just need to try and get out of it asap and then kick on .

herfie added 19:50 - Dec 15
This ‘blip’ is, to a large extent, the result of management decisions, based around the questionable benefits to be gained from team rotation. If we possessed the quality/experience of a PL team, then perhaps there might be a credible case to be made. But, at this level, playing regularly with a solid core of individuals who know their jobs, and each other, in a settled formation that maximises indivuduals’ strengths, would match most opposition team’ approach to League 1 football.


WhoisJimmyJuan added 20:10 - Dec 15
Yes we can talk about Skuse and Chambo all we like. The real problem is quite simple: just put the pigging ball in the back of the pigging net!

Saxonblue74 added 20:11 - Dec 15
Mrtown, you stole my lines!

Saxonblue74 added 20:15 - Dec 15
Herfie, I agree. Apparently the benefit of rotation will come toward the end of the season.......when we'll have a fully fit squad of strangers who can't win a game!!

Saxonblue74 added 20:21 - Dec 15
Donacien after Coventry: "good to have the opportunity to turn things around quickly (against Bristol)". Skuse after Bristol defeat: "we've got to look to turn things around quickly as we can next weekend". Next please!!!

herfie added 20:36 - Dec 15
Saxonblue - those comments struck me, too. I almost forgot that we’re playing League 1 standard teams. The JD and CS comments might be more credible if we were playing the likes of Leeds or WBA etc. The teams in our league should be making those type of comments having just been beaten by us!

Westy added 22:37 - Dec 15
I agree with Skuse. Every team has a bad spell during the season. I'd rather have it now than at the end of the season - that's assuming we improve of course which I'm sure we will if Lambert stops making so many changes starting with the keeper. For me, Holy should be the first choice. I think he had the edge over Norris and is our own. I felt the atmosphere never really got going on Saturday and we were very unlucky to to equalise just before half time. Who monitors the statistics ? We had far more shots on target than the figures show but were blocked by defenders. Do these not count as shots on target ? I actually EFT the ground disappointed but felt I'd been entertained. Given our current winless run I'd rather have seen a poor game and won. I am still optimistic - we are in an automatic promotion spot ! Finally, although we have had some poor referees this season, I thought yesterday that he let the game flow very well.

bobble added 23:03 - Dec 15
not good enough...when i place a bet on town now i have to scroll through 3 pages to find the division we play in....3rd division ......3rd division....and we are getting beaten at home !!!!

FenboyBlue added 23:34 - Dec 15
Let's hope it is a blip, maybe brought about by the squad rotation juggling league matches and 3 cup competitions. It's good fortune that we find ourselves still second in the league without really hitting any consistent form. Promotion winning sides don't have a problem coming back from 2-0 down either or 3-0 even. Perhaps we could do with getting another senior player on loan to help out Chambo & Skuse.

DifferentGravy added 02:11 - Dec 16
Some are totally devoid of the reason for our lack of cohesion (in the final third). You cannot keep rotating the first eleven/formation and expect it. Players need to stand up, be counted, put a shift in.....and so forth.....but in international or club level, i have never seen a team be successful that rotate their starting eleven to such a degree.....and for reasons other than injury/suspension. Ridculous

Agree with Cat - Primarily, Skuse is there to break up play, that is his main asset. Im not a particular fan of his but feel a bit of sympathy for him here. He is NOT a right back and asking him to play a position he is unfamiliar with is just idiotic. Take the game against Tranmere, we were awful in the first half with Skuse in the back line, push him forward and.....on look......we tighten up at the back and win 4-1. Would you ask Ageuro to play sweeper or Ashley Young to play full back( not so subtle dig at the woeful AY)


norfolkbluey added 07:59 - Dec 16
Dif Gravy absolutely agree with you and herfie. This rotation of players and playing them in different positions makes for poor management decisions. Settled teams with the occasional necessary changes win matches. The team are getting confused and definitely off point. Scoring goals and defending is the name of the game and we are not doing this at the moment. Simples!. I am getting concerned that our early form could disappear down the table. COYB's

dirtydingusmagee added 08:13 - Dec 16
wonder what gate numbers we will be pulling in next year in Lge 1 ?

Razor added 10:52 - Dec 16
I have seen worse performances this year and think if we stay calm and play 3 up front on Saturday (will he have the b--ls to do that) we will win and then we can move on.

afcfee added 11:25 - Dec 16
Probably be rewarded with a 2 year contract 😖

BettyBlue added 11:52 - Dec 16
While no-one at ITFC admits that we have a big problem we will not turn this around.
With no new additions in January or a new approach from PL I predict PL's predicatable annual mid table finish.
While PL is complacent , with a fixture pile up, injuries, players not at their full potential and no discernible playing style that's where we're headed.

Edmundo added 14:26 - Dec 16
Not seen enough decent efforts from distance. That would stop teams camping in their penalty box. We have the service from out side but need finishers in the box too: Freddie will be "new signing" number 1, but we need a quality goalscoring mf, and despite Judge and Nolan having runs, they're not doing it.

Steve_D added 17:16 - Dec 16
Heard this 12 months ago , that went well

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