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Ipswich Town 1 v 1 Lincoln City
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 9th March 2021 Kick-off 19:00
Cook Proud to Take Charge at Portman Road For First Time as Blues Host Imps
Monday, 8th Mar 2021 14:54

New boss Paul Cook says taking charge of the Blues at Portman Road for the first time when Lincoln City visit on Tuesday will be a proud moment.

Cook admits it won’t be quite as he would have wished with no fans set to be present with the Portman Road atmosphere one he has always admired.

“It's something that as you drive down as a manager [you think about]. The clichés are old, aren't they? These stadiums, Portman Road, the old Upton Park, for example, historically they've been such great venues in English football.

“So for me to manage a game at one of the grounds with such a good tradition will be great.

“I long for fans to be back, I think the game without the fans is far, far removed from what we all love, but we know what sport is giving us all at the minute, it's given the nation such a life, and it's great credit that we've managed to keep it going.

“Hopefully, looking forward now, I think everyone can look forward with the optimism that we can all be back in the stadium supporting our team soon.”

Asked how it will feel to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Sir Alf Ramsey, Sir Bobby Robson and Joe Royle, who Cook knows well having worked with him at Wigan, he said: “Absolutely unbelievable. I really will be proud, but I'll be all the more proud if we can get a result.”

Turning to Lincoln, who are third, 10 points ahead of the eight-placed Blues, Cook says he has been very impressed with the job Michael Appleton has done this season.

“Excellent,” he said. “You know, when you watch teams and you look at teams and they say teams reflect the manager with how they play and the style of play, I think Lincoln are representing Lincoln and Michael in a really good way.

“They are very bright, you can see they are very well coached, they have really good patterns of play and they've certainly got good players, so we know we're in for a difficult game tomorrow night, we really are.

“But it's about what we can offer. With great respect to Lincoln, and we respect every team we play, but Lincoln must fear us tomorrow night.

“It’s at Portman Road, it's our home ground, and we must make Portman Road a fortress for Ipswich Town, not a place where teams like coming to play.”

Following the 3-1 defeat at Gillingham, the Blues are 12 points from the top two with 15 left to play. Is it imperative that Town beat Lincoln to stand a chance of still making the automatic promotion places?

“Again in football, something feels so far away when you get a bad result and it gets a lot closer when you get a good one,” Cook said.

“The reality is I want to see us play a lot better than we did on Saturday. I want to see the level of performances go up.


“I believe as a manager that when you're playing well, the results will follow. For us, I think we've hiccupped our way through a couple of games.

“I think on Saturday, it was just a culmination of everything that can go wrong in a game and going forward to Tuesday we want to be a lot better and we'll take whatever the result brings.”

Asked about former Norwich man Connor McGrandles, who is currently impressing for the Imps, Cook said he wouldn’t talk specifically about players from other teams.

“I won’t be commenting on any of the opposition players, it’s not my place,” he said. “I’ve got enough with my own players. I’ll certainly let Michael Appleton talk about his.

“I think for me it’s about concentrating on Ipswich Town, on how good we can play and how good we can be tomorrow night.”

Cook has said he will make changes to his team for Tuesday’s game and someone will be involved who wasn’t in the 18 at Gillingham.

While it’s difficult to second-guess a new manager, that may be on-loan Wolves right-back Luke Matheson, who could come into the side with skipper Luke Chambers reverting to his preferred role at centre-half.

That would probably see Toto Nsiala drop to the bench, a little unfortunately if that is the case after some solid recent performances, with fellow centre-half James Wilson having been the outstanding member of the backline in recent weeks. Tomas Holy is likely to continue in goal and Myles Kenlock at left-back.

In midfield, Cook could start Flynn Downes in one of the two deeper midfield roles alongside either Andre Dozzell or Teddy Bishop, although the latter could be in line for the number 10 position if the new Blues boss opts to rest Troy Parrott having briefly moved there on Saturday.

Out wide, Gwion Edwards could be in with a shout of a first start since his return from his recent knock, perhaps on the right with Keanan Bennetts rested, with Josh Harrop maybe continuing on the left with Luke Thomas another wing option. James Norwood again seems set to be the lone out-and-out striker.

The Imps will be without 13-goal top scorer Jorge Grant, who appears set to miss the rest of the season with ankle ligament damage.

Winger Harry Anderson and midfielder Max Sanders will also miss the trip due to thigh and hamstring problems respectively.

The Imps beat Crewe 3-0 at Sincil Bank on Saturday but that victory was only their second in their last seven league games.

Town just have the edge historically having won seven games between the teams (six in the league) with four (two) ending in draws and six (five) won by the Imps.

At Sincil Bank in October, Grant’s 77th minute penalty saw Lincoln City to a 1-0 victory over 10-man Town and to the top of the table.

Grant netted his sixth goal of the season from the spot after Nsiala had upended Brennan Johnson.

Late on, Jon Nolan was dismissed for a wild challenge on Anderson, while Blues boss Paul Lambert was also red-carded after the whistle for remonstrating with the referee.

The teams last met at Portman Road in January last year when Luke Woolfenden’s first Town goal a minute before half-time saw the Blues to a 1-0 home win and back to the top of League One.

The central defender nodded Luke Garbutt’s free-kick from the right into the net off keeper Josh Vickers to secure a deserved three points for the Blues.

Town defender Wilson will be facing his old club, the defender having previously spoken about having had a tough time with the Imps.

Blues midfielder Nolan was with Lincoln between June 2013 and January 2016, making 64 starts and 11 sub appearances.

Town keeper-coach Jimmy Walker was with Lincoln in the same role prior to his stint with Sunderland before joining the Blues.

Former Blues loanee Tayo Edun, who joined the Imps from Fulham in January 2020, made four starts and three sub appearances for Town in the first half of 2018/19, netting a debut goal in the opening day win against Blackburn Rovers.

Lincoln midfielder Brennan Johnson, who is on loan from Nottingham Forest, is the son of 1990s Blues striker David.

Imps assistant manager David Kerslake was with the Blues as a player between August 1997 and March 1998. The right-back made three starts and six sub appearances.

Tuesday’s referee is James Oldham from Derbyshire, who has shown 66 yellow cards and three red in 25 games so far this season.

Coincidentally, Oldham’s only previous Town match was the 5-3 defeat at Sincil Bank in December 2019 in which he booked Dozzell, Gwion Edwards, Freddie Sears and two home players.

Squad from: Holy, Cornell, Matheson, Ward, Kenlock, Chambers (c), Wilson, Nsiala, McGuinness, Woolfenden, Dozzell, Downes, Judge, Huws, Harrop, Bishop, Edwards, Lankester, Thomas, Sears, Parrott, Norwood, Jackson, Drinan.


Photo: TWTD



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Radlett_blue added 15:10 - Mar 8
"We must make Portman Road a fortress".
Aaargh - he's said it!
4

LWNR2013 added 15:40 - Mar 8
This guy definitely talks differently to the previous five.
4

PortmanTerrorist added 15:41 - Mar 8
We have a generation of fans confused by the abbreviation 'FPR'. Sort it out PC !
2

therein61 added 17:22 - Mar 8
He is without doubt a man who knows what he wants and how he's going to go about taking the clouds away from our club (unlike the previous so called managers we've had since Marcus came in) it's all about I.T.F.C without personal hidden agendas.
4

norfolkbluey added 17:35 - Mar 8
I haven't been this excited for a long time. If we win against the imps tomorrow night then there just might be a chance of getting something from this season. Paul must have some idea now of the uphill struggle this will be with the inconsistency of our players. On paper we should be streets ahead of other teams.
7

Northstandveteran added 18:28 - Mar 8
Wasn't it Brian Clough who said,

"We had a good team on paper, unfortunately the game is played on grass"
15

Nobbysnuts added 19:24 - Mar 8
I bet he wasn't proud watching that shower of sh#t on Saturday....
5

Karlosfandangal added 19:35 - Mar 8
Mmmmmmm same comments on here from fans how much Lambert was a breath of fresh air since McCarthy left and the same was said about McCarthey etc.

How long before Cook is slagged off if we don’t win games.

I must say I think Cook will be good for us.
5

DifferentGravy added 19:35 - Mar 8
Difficult to sort through so many players in such a short space of time. Hoping we put in an improved performance......whoever starts.....and hoping we win! But its a tough game and there are plenty winnable fixtures available for Cook to guide us into the playoffs. Nothing but respect for the man and am firmly behind the team.

COYB!
3

dirtydingusmagee added 21:58 - Mar 8
it would be a BIG night had fans been allowed back, shame its just going to be another match with zero atmosphere .Anyway good luck PC hope this one goes better than Saturday.
5

shakytown added 03:35 - Mar 9
I hope he can get a better effort from the players than the lifeless performance against Gillingham. How many changes will there be to what was one of the worst efforts in living memory. One things for sure there's going to be a lot of dead wood shifted out at the end of the season to make room for some much needed quality.
6

bobble added 07:47 - Mar 9
the singers come and go , but the song remains the same...yawn
0

Linkboy13 added 09:09 - Mar 9
Can't wait to get this season out of the way so Cook can start to build his own team. One player i just cannot see us getting is Josh Windass even if we get promoted he's way out of our price range. A lot depends on the new investers how much they are prepared to spend on player recruitment. Also there will be other championship clubs with more to offer than us.
2

Razor added 10:36 - Mar 9
He has identified our main problem so lets hope he can now sort it----my team for tonight:

CORNELL CHAMBERS NSIALA WILSON KENLOCK HEWS DOWNES BISHOP EDWARDS JACKSON NORWOOD

COME ON YOU BLUES!!
0

Ipswichbusiness added 10:48 - Mar 9
Razor, I’d have Holy in goal and Matheson at right-back, otherwise I agree.
1

Belgiumblue added 11:53 - Mar 9
Think not alot will change, maybe see Skuse in for Dozzell and Downes in for BIshop
0

dirtydingusmagee added 13:45 - Mar 9
Razor, you do not have faith in Holy but Cornell is shakey, i'd stick with Holy, THE FACT IS none of players are up to standard required ,some are just better than others.Those who think we have a strong squad are mistaken IMO, they very average,and we need a BIG clear out .
1

jabberjackson added 14:21 - Mar 9
I think the unfairly much maligned Cole Skuse might get a surprise game tonight
Someone of his experience would be great sat in front of Wilson and Nsiala
With Downes beside him - no way through...
1

Barty added 14:26 - Mar 9
The team serious let everyone down on Saturday but lets hope they make amends tonight.
Good luck Paul and COYB.
0

dirtydingusmagee added 14:49 - Mar 9
if they dont perform better tonight and let everyone down again ,you can kiss the season goodbye imo.
0

hawkzzter added 15:10 - Mar 9
Against Gillingham all he did was pick exactly the same team, and exactly the same tactics as the last manager, and unsurprising it failed. Time to make a change or two I think Mr Cook!
0

IpswichT62OldBoy added 15:15 - Mar 9
I think Matheson will play
0

runningout added 15:35 - Mar 9
I’m chuffed we have Paul Cook. He’s a better manager than he thinks he is. He has a tricky task ahead. Looking forward to Next season whatever league we’re in
0

Linkboy13 added 16:25 - Mar 9
Jaberjackson we don't need Skuse sat in front of the back four we've already got Dozzell he does plenty of sitting. Joking aside i think it might be a little early for a Skuse return.
0

gosblue added 17:36 - Mar 9
Kenlock had done well in the two or three previous games but he looked like the little boy lost again on Saturday. I’d give Ward a start and maybe Thomas and Judge. Parrot and Norwood would swap roles for me with Parrot up top.
0


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