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Cook to Make Changes as Hawkins and Skuse Make Progress
Monday, 8th Mar 2021 11:55

Town boss Paul Cook says the Blues suffered no new injuries at Gillingham on Saturday but that he will make changes to his team for the visit of Lincoln on Tuesday with an unnamed player involved who wasn't in the 18 at the weekend, while Alan Judge has indicated he wants to make a quick return, Oli Hawkins is close to being back and Cole Skuse continues to make progress, but Tristan Nydam has suffered a minor setback.

“We came through with no adverse reactions from the game,” Cook said when asked about his squad’s fitness following the 3-1 defeat at the Priestfield Stadium.

“I think physically they are okay. I think obviously mentally we mightn’t be as fit as well as we were physically.”

Alan Judge missed Saturday’s game following the death of his mother and Cook says the Irish international has been told to take as much time as he needs before getting back involved.

“Obviously, it's a really difficult time for any person to go through,” Cook continued. “Alan is making signs that he wants to come back immediately and he wants to be involved, and we're obviously telling Alan that we support him in whatever he wishes to do. That's something that I really wouldn't want to comment on.

“Alan's being as positive as everyone would expect Alan to be so Alan, I would imagine, would want to start tomorrow night. Obviously, today will be a very difficult day for him, and we'll see how he is after everything settles down.”

Striker Hawkins underwent a knee operation six weeks ago and is making good progress, however having even more players available adds to the decisions Cook has got to make.

“I think he’s just about ready, I think he’s just about getting there and it’s one of the problems with the squad is does it help or add to the confusion?” the Blues boss reflected.

“It’s the truth, isn’t it? It’s not a criticism because sometimes when you sit down on a Monday and you’ve lost on Saturday, for example, or a Sunday, you can have too many options. It’s just how it is. You can end up adding to the problem rather than helping the problem.

“Certainly tomorrow we’re going to be based on certain criteria within the team, we will be off the same page.

“Going forward, we’re delighted that Oli will be back fit because he’s certainly an experienced player who has got a pedigree in football and I can see him being a big help on the pitch.”

He says Nydam, who has been out since July 2019 having suffered a broken ankle and ligament damage, has suffered a minor problem as he continues his return, while midfielder Skuse, who underwent knee surgery in October, is getting closer to his return.

“Tristan’s had a little bit of a setback on Thursday, that’s probably put another week on his return to training,” he said.

“Cole’s doing very well at the minute, he’s had some really rigorous sessions under his belt and gets closer and closer.”

But he says Skuse won’t be involved in the U23s at Swansea this afternoon: “Not today, none of them will be involved in the football in the next two days, but certainly Cole will be training but Tristan’s still with the medical staff.”

Cook says it's important to speak to players currently out of the team or sidelined and says someone who wasn't involved at all at the weekend will play against Lincoln tomorrow.

“One hundred per cent,” he said “You'll see tomorrow night the team will change tomorrow night, a lad will be involved tomorrow night that probably wasn't even in the 18 on Saturday.

“And that's the reason as a manager you want the lads to work hard on the training ground and you've got to be prepared so that when your opportunity comes, you're fit and ready to take it.

“And for us as a club now, it's a big opportunity going forward. We've got 15 games to go and we've got so much to play for.

“The optimism and energy at the training ground must be transmitted onto the pitch and we didn't see that on Saturday, and that was the disappointing thing for us.”

Asked who the player not in the 18 who will be involved is, Cook laughed: “I knew I'd leave you with something!”

Cook also commented on Jon Nolan suffering a medial collateral ligament injury in training last week, a problem that will see the midfielder sidelined for two months.

“It was a real blow for Jon,” Cook said. “I had an idea of the squad before I arrived and he was a player I was really looking forward to working with.

“I've followed his career closely and seen him progress at clubs. He's the type of player that I really like and hopefully we'll get to work together soon.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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borge added 12:03 - Mar 8
I really like how honest he is. It is a very refreshing change!

sospier added 12:07 - Mar 8
Good to hear PC will omit players who underachieve on the pitch something PL opted not to do.cannot wait till tomorrow as I want to see a big response from the players on show.

martin587 added 12:11 - Mar 8
How refreshing to hear positive comments from PC.Let’s hope we have a very strong reaction from Saturday.COYB.

Suffolkboy added 12:20 - Mar 8
First indication I’ve seen for a long time that we’ve a new Manager who is intent on actually speaking ‘daily ‘ with players who were not or are not involved at First Team level : how often ,sadly, did PL play a straight bat ,or indicate he’d not spoken and was unaware of issues or the then present situation .
PC strikes a different tone ,and a more open confident approach ! GOOD stuff !

johnwarksshorts added 12:27 - Mar 8
Get the Wolf in for Toto, Toto's done well but he looked off the pace on Saturday, also Judgey if ok mentally, and maybe Dobra. COYB!

Bluefox added 12:39 - Mar 8
Until Saturday we had just had our best defensive run of the season, so would seem crazy to drop Toto after one game against arguably the toughest centre forward in the division. Woolfie certainly wouldn't have done any better in that one. And when Woolfenden did play the defence constantly leaked goals.

Intriguing as to who the player not in Saturday's 18 is. Possibly a comeback for Emyr Huws?

buzbyblue added 12:39 - Mar 8
After the dire performance by most Saturday I would have thought he'd have been looking to change 7 or 8!

Shocking display

TimmyH added 12:43 - Mar 8
Please no Skuse...we'll go backwards or sideways, maybe some players need to be rested, though it's a big game and hopefully not too many changes. Problem is some of the subs we've brought on the last week or so have made no impact whatsoever.

PortmanTerrorist added 12:51 - Mar 8
Bluefox, think you could be right. Maybe Huws just couldn't understand, or even stand, PL. We know there is a player in there and all new managers think they have the gift of performance, and what a difference a fit and firing Huws would make.....problem is we have been saying that for years and 3 Managers and counting ! Come on Emyr, make it happen.

stevelincsexile added 13:19 - Mar 8
Won’t be Dobra he’s playing for the under 23 team today.

braveblue added 13:23 - Mar 8
Can’t blame Lambert for Huws awful performances. Had plenty of chances. Simply not good enough.

Ipswichbusiness added 13:25 - Mar 8
We have a plethora of central midfield players.

If I was the manager then I would be thanking Skuse for his contributions over the years and wishing him well for his future career wherever it may be.

Mark added 13:35 - Mar 8
All credit to Alan Judge. His attitude is a fine example, and he has been playing very well recently. It was a long wait, but we are finally seeing the Judge we hoped for.

We need some more physical players in the summer I think to help us get out of this league, we are too easily bullied. I think we need to get Flynn Downes back into the midfield tomorrow to add some bite.

davetheblue added 13:47 - Mar 8
Could be vky!!

inghamspur added 14:01 - Mar 8
Chambers has been playing out of position so why not put him at centre back with Nsiala, then put Matheson in as a proper right back. Bring Downs back instead of Harrop. Not too many changes as we've seen that all before.

planetblue_2011 added 14:19 - Mar 8
Is McGuiness the player coming in? Or Lankaster? They weren’t in the 18 man squad🤫

Orraman added 14:19 - Mar 8
So good to hear that Cole Skuse is getting closer to a return. We have so badly missed his defensive midfield abilities this season. Also so refreshing to hear PC talk about injured players. All we got from Lambert was "I don't know, I really really don't know" I think we are really going to hear about things as they really are from Paul Cook without compromising tactics or confidentiality.

Linkboy13 added 14:21 - Mar 8
Hope Judgey is back tomorrow one of the few at the club who gives one hundred percent. Plus he's proved he can play in the championship maybe that's the reason he is more motivated than the others.

Cloddyseedbed added 14:26 - Mar 8
I wish someone would ask if KVY is still at the club and what is actually happening with him.

Len_Brennan added 14:27 - Mar 8
Unless PC was able to stick his foot up Huws's backside in less than a week, it's hard to see him get a start tomorrow night. If he had shown any form over the last few months he would be a real asset, as he has the strength, touch & composure that is needed in our midfield, but he has been so poor it's difficult to him being parachuted in from the cold. As I say, if PC can get a tune out of him, brilliant, but we've had our hopes dashed with him once or twice before.
My guess is that it's Matheson for Chambers.

ShropshireBluenago09 added 14:45 - Mar 8
Got to get Downes back in the midfield, we look light weight without him.
Would go;
Chambers NSiala Wilson Kenlock
Downes (Dom)
Bish Dozzell Judge
Norwood Jackson

atty added 15:01 - Mar 8
Limited rotation because of fatigue please, and form of course . We have a big enough squad. It’s a very punishing schedule.

Bad_Boy_Mark added 15:03 - Mar 8
I think the player that probably wasn't even in the 18 on Saturday is Kayden Jackson.

firestorm_westy added 15:11 - Mar 8
He came on as sub and nearly scored for us @bad_boy_Mark... Won't be him.

90z added 15:31 - Mar 8
Cloddyseedbed last I heard of KVY is that he hyperextened his knee

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