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Norwood Back For Pompey Trip, Hawkins Closing in on Return
Friday, 19th Mar 2021 10:46

Striker James Norwood is available for tomorrow’s trip to Portsmouth, while Oli Hawkins is a week or so away from returning to the squad and manager Paul Cook says there could be “announcements” on one or two of the players who haven't been involved since he took charge at Town.

Norwood has missed the last two matches having suffered with back spasms and looks certain to return to the lone frontman’s role at Fratton Park.

Asked whether Norwood could be involved against Pompey, Cook said: “He’s available.”

Cook says it’s positive news but believes players’ value to the side sometimes gets over-hyped following a poor result or performance.

“The problem when you don’t win football games is that everybody who is not playing becomes a better player,” he said.

“They haven’t become a better player, we’ve just played really poorly the other night and got beat.

“So for me having James Norwood fit and available is a massive boost, no matter what because he certainly is a man who can read the line for us well, that’s for sure.”

Cook says another striker, Hawkins, is close to making his return having undergone knee surgery in January.

“He’s just joined in for the first time yesterday,” the Blues manager said. “Next week probably having a full week’s training, I would imagine Oli could be back for selection probably after that.”

Midfielder Cole Skuse made his first start of the season at Fleetwood on Tuesday having been out following a knee operation of his own.

Quizzed on whether the 34-year-old will be fit enough to go again against Pompey, Cook said: “You know yourselves, Cole’s not played a lot of football for a long time, so to play 80 minutes the other night [was a big ask].

“We all know how good a player and an experienced pro Cole Skuse is, so it’s just a situation we’re monitoring.

“As you can imagine, the lads got back from Fleetwood at five o’clock in the morning on Wednesday, the lads who played the minutes haven’t really been together until this morning.

“It’s like with every club, you’re just regrouping and getting ready to go again.”

A number of players haven’t featured at all under Cook, including the likes of Luke Matheson, Emyr Huws, Luke Thomas and Mark McGuinness.

Asked about their situations, Cook says there could be news regarding some of them, perhaps indicating that contracts may be settled or loan players sent back to their parent clubs.

“I think obviously the club might have one or two announcements on one or two,” he said. “I think with the Mark McGuinnesses and them there, they’re certainly in and around the squad to travel tomorrow.

“I think if you take out the Fleetwood result and performance, we just looked like we were getting going before that.

“And I’m not a great believer in chopping and changing. I think lads deserve that extra chance. That’s not my style.

“My style is to give everyone every opportunity to do what they think is right. I’m sure our team won’t be chopped and changed tomorrow and then if we can’t keep doing well, then the reality is that we will see other players, for sure.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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arc added 10:52 - Mar 19

Sounds like Cook may be about to trim the squad a little by sending a couple of the loaners home. Makes sense. And what are we to make of Emyr Huws?—how can he be so completely lost?

Timefliesbyintheblue added 11:02 - Mar 19
“The problem when you don’t win football games is that everybody who is not playing becomes a better player,” he said.

We could all learn from that statement; what a good one to make. None of our players are going to change things on their own; we just need everyone fit enabling PC to get a squad of say 18 players together to see this season to a conclusion, hopefully successfully!

Razor added 11:10 - Mar 19
Looks like the cheeky chappy is about to flex his muscles!

Personally I have always been a fan of Hews.

Razor added 11:10 - Mar 19
Looks like the cheeky chappy is about to flex his muscles!

Personally I have always been a fan of Hews.

WhoisJimmyJuan added 11:25 - Mar 19
Yes its important to separate poor attitude from low confidence. Its possible good coaching and a change of manager could suddenly get the best out of say Huws. But anyone with a poor attitude needs to be shipped out before you can say shipped out.

chepstowblue added 11:46 - Mar 19
I love it when a manager uses a quote that ive been using for two decades.... "everybody who is not playing becomes a better player". This forum is rife for upping the ability of absentees. KVY apart, we miss nobody.

Beattiesballbag added 11:52 - Mar 19
It maybe disappointing if he can't change things around this season & I don't think he has a lot of options to change things around because of the personel he has to work with but be it this season or next I feel fairly confident the we will end up with a team that understands they have to work just as hard as all the other teams in this division to get out of it.
I don't think next season we will be left with players that can't put in the work rate, think they can play at training ground pace or think they can comfortably see out their careers with their feet under the table.

dirtydingusmagee added 12:13 - Mar 19
Spot on PC, its been the case for a long time , if we are not doing well, we are missing x y z , its not the case, the whole team should be up to the job .Now we have a manager who recognises that we may get somehere. Lambert always used it as an excuse .

buzbyblue added 12:20 - Mar 19
Quite frankly after the display the other night I'd be quite happy to see him change the complete starting 11!

DifferentGravy added 12:36 - Mar 19
Norwood creates chances. He might not always take them.....but he gives us far more potency. Would really like to see us go with two up top. Far from convinced about Jackson but his best performances/goalscoring were in the two in attack

Radlett_blue added 12:43 - Mar 19
No point in Cook giving loan players a go, unless he's convinced they're better than our own. Sound like he might be letting some of the dead wood go so that they can find other clubs.

drewcudders1963 added 14:15 - Mar 19
Send the loanee's listed home but keep McGuiness..... also such a shame about Huws, he has all the ability in the world at the lowly level of League 1 and should be "pulling up trees" for us..... get him on the pitch for 4-5 games, tell him it's make or break and see where he goes !

RobITFC added 14:47 - Mar 19
Loans have been a waste of time with the possible exception of Parrott. Huws has been a major let down , the talent was there but unfortunately not shown it in a Town shirt.

rfretwell added 17:05 - Mar 19
Matheson will be sent back to Wolves. He was poor in his last match and KVY is back in the fold.

KiwiBlue2 added 03:13 - Mar 20
Huws is definitely an enigma. Showed great promise to begin with and then had a run of injuries. I would prefer to see him given games ahead of Skuse while Downes is out and see how he goes. He would certainly have every incentive to get into top gear, if he wants to stay, given PC's comments.
Great news about K V-Y. Lets hope he is quickly up to fitness and remains injury free through to the end of the season.

Linkboy13 added 11:21 - Mar 20
Kiwi Blue2 Huws is finished im afraid he's had loads of chances and not done it we can't keep giving players endless chances to the decriment of the team. Bishop is another player who is never going to be the player he was time to move on.

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