Skuse: Hugely Disappointing, We Can Only Apologise
Friday, 5th Jun 2020 11:01
Vice-captain Cole Skuse admits the Blues’ season will have been “hugely disappointing” if the League One campaign is curtailed and they finish 11th on unweighted points per game, as appears likely, and issued an apology for what would be the club’s lowest position for 67 years.
The EFL clubs will hold an EGM on Tuesday where League One clubs are set to vote on the way forward for the division with it anticipated that 2019/20 will be curtailed and settled on unweighted points per game.
Town were 10th in the table when the season was halted on March 13th but would drop a place under the EFL's preferred formula for deciding placings, promotion and relegation. Eleventh would be the Blues' lowest finish since they ended the 1952/53 campaign 16th in Division Three South back in Scott Duncan's time as manager.
“If they’re going to finish the season on this unweighted points per game and we finish 11th, it’s outrageous really considering we were top of the league for some spell at the beginning of the season and as a group it’s hugely disappointing to see that, to finish the season, to finish where we were,” Skuse said in a lengthy interview with BBC Radio Suffolk (1hr 7mins 25secs).
“To not even be in with a chance of reaching the play-offs is hugely disappointing from our standpoint and we can only apologise to everyone for that.
“If the season restarts, it restarts [but if not] we’ll be having a good go to finish far better next season.”
The 34-year-old admits it’s been a frustrating period not knowing when or whether the campaign might resume.
“It’s like anything in the world, as much as we want the football season back there are greater things that need deciding first,” he reflected.
“But from a football standpoint, it’s just the prolonging of it, it’s the unknown. I know they can’t just come out and say ‘This is the date, this when we’re starting, this is when the fixtures [will be played]’ because you can’t do that with this uncertainty.
“It’s just the prolonging of it. You get your head around that it’s stopped but you’d like a date or a timeline to work to if it is going to continue. Like everything in the world it’s just the uncertainty at the minute that’s a bit frustrating.”
In terms of fitness, Skuse disagrees that it might take players several weeks of pre-season type training to get up to speed.
“I’ve heard some people saying that for injury prevention, but with the athletes the players are today and the stuff you do at home yourself to maintain your fitness levels [I’m not so sure],” he said.
“Pre-season when I first started years ago you’d come back and use pre-season as getting fit because back in the day the lads would have six or seven weeks off and you’d have six or seven weeks of doing nothing, you’d be drinking, you’d be eating what you want and you’d come back overweight and unfit and you’d use your pre-season to get fit.
“But nowadays you’re given programmes from the day the season finishes to maintain your fitness levels and your eating habits throughout the off-season, so you come back in pre-season and you’re almost at your peak position from the start.
“If we’re told to come back in for training next Monday, the lads would be in unbelievable condition.
“If you’re asking me whether we need three or four weeks, I’d probably say no. But sports scientists and other people might say different because of injury prevention.
“I understand that you can run around roads on go on bike rides for as long as you want but football fitness is completely different. When you get the balls involved, it’s a completely different fitness.”
Skuse recently spoke about his wife Louisa being among those more at risk during the coronavirus crisis as a type one diabetic, however, he says he’ll play if the season does restart as long the right measures are put in place.
“I’ve stated before, it would have to be safe and the EFL and the world in general are making sure that that is the case. They’re taking the right steps to make sure that everything is safe for people to return,” the Bristolian added.
“It’s not myself I’m considering, my wife’s obviously got a high risk illness as a type 1 diabetic and my little girl was recently in hospital with respiratory issues, so I’m looking at the bigger picture.
“But if everything was safe and it was all in line and ready for me to do so, of course I’d want to go back and continue work.”
Skuse recently put pen to paper on a new contract which will keep him at Portman Road for 2020/21 with the club having an option for a further campaign, while he will also start to make the transition into coaching during that time.
The midfielder says it was good to get his future settled given the likelihood that many players will be out of work as a result of the financial crisis in the game.
“It had been ongoing for a little while but [it is a relief] due to this current pandemic and seeing the reports on Sky Sports News or on the radio about the number of people that are going to be out of work this summer in the football world, it’s quite staggering really.
“So to get the deal done is a relief for all of us, our whole family. We’re over the moon to be staying in Ipswich for at least another season, we love the town itself, the club’s been fantastic, the supporters have been fantastic for us. There’s a sense of relief and it was brilliant to get it done.”
Skuse, who has been helping home educate his children and also project managing the renovation of his home during the time away from football, has been in close contact with his team-mates.
“We obviously have a Whatsapp group and I’ve made a conscious effort to ring around the boys and make sure they’re all OK, especially lads that are on their own at this time, it can’t be nice, so I’ve made a conscious effort to ring round and make sure everyone’s doing alright,” he said.
“I’m in contact with some of the lads more than others. I speak to Chambo a lot, James Wilson, Jordan Roberts, I speak to them an awful lot.
“We’ve had Zoom calls with the staff just to keep us update on the situation and for them just to touch base on how we’re doing. I’ve been on contact with most people, to be fair.”
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