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Cook Gives Strong Hint Blues Will Switch Formation
Thursday, 1st Apr 2021 12:57

Town boss Paul Cook has given his strongest hint yet that he is set to switch from his preferred 4-2-3-1 system to a formation featuring two up front.

Cook has said on a number of occasions that he has been considering pairing James Norwood and Kayden Jackson as a front two despite having utilised 4-2-3-1 throughout his management career and his successes at Chesterfield, Portsmouth and Wigan.

“I wanted continuity and I wanted to pick the same team and wanted partnerships to develop,” he said.

“I wanted consistency in formations – I just can’t get it. And I’m not fighting it any more. I’m not fighting it.

“I’ve let that fight be won by what I can’t win. My new fight now is to get results and win games on a short-term basis. That’s my new fight.

“That’s my clear agenda for Bristol Rovers tomorrow and then we look at Rochdale the next one. But we’ve got to win some games to get this club into the play-offs, we have to.”

Asked whether he is tempted to move to using Jackson and Norwood as a front two, Cook added: “Yeah, why not? One things for sure I won't get to the end of the season playing 4-2-3-1 in a team that doesn't function playing that way.

“That's not going to happen for our supporters. I think our supporters would be grossly disappointed with me if they thought I was going to continue doing that. So the brutal reality is watch this space.”
He continued: “My job is to find a way. My job is not to sit and wait and watch and hope. My job is to find a way. I've been working with these lads for a month now.

“In four weeks, I've learned a lot about them and they've probably learnt a lot about me and the demands, and what going forward we can demand.

“But the one thing that all Ipswich Town fans demand is that we turn up and that we try our best to win that game of football.

“What the formations look like will remain to be seen. I'm not going to sit in front of everyone and say ‘this is my philosophy and this is my identity’. My identity is winning and that's the greatest identity any manager or coach can have.”

The week prior to the trip to Wigan was the first without a Tuesday fixture since Cook took charge and he had planned double training sessions for the first three days of the week, however, he subsequently said that the squad wasn’t able to train with the intensity he was hoping for.

There has again been no midweek fixture again this week, so was the plan to do much the same over the last few days?

“Again, you're just on a learning curve like everyone,” Cook reflected. “The reality is our supporters wanting to know so much, I get it.

“You know, as you learn it can change your own plan as you go along, can't it? My plan was a very set rigid one.

“Last week informed me a lot about the club and what goes on within the club. The plan this week has been different, but the outcome of the plan is winning on Friday. So we're just going to try and go about it, possibly in a different manner.”
Asked whether it’s been frustrating watching recent games, Cook laughed: “No! It’s tough lads because I watch all the manager interviews after games, I watch the big managers, the senior managers, you look at [England U21s boss] Aidy Boothroyd last night [as they conceded an injury time goal to Croatia to knock them out of the Euros], imagine the pain Aidy’s going through today, being in that winning position and it’s taken away from you.

“And I listen to what managers say and my biggest overriding thing in all my career, these players play for me, they play for the club, they represent us all and sometimes we’ve very quick to give them criticism.

“That’s not my style, that’s just not my style. My style is to make these lads believe that we can achieve something this year at Ipswich Town Football Club that could go in memories.

“We’ve got do that first and foremost, so there’ll be no negativity from me in any shape or form.

“Our fans will crave different formations, different stuff and I’m about to deliver that for them. And like them I’ll be sitting watching, hoping, praying that we get it right.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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TractorFrog added 13:03 - Apr 1
Very interesting! What will it be?

I think maybe a diamond 4-4-2 could work, with Skuse at the base, Dozzell and Bishop in front of him and Judge as number 10. Let's see what Paul Cook goes for - I feel confident he will choose the best team possible.

Oldozblue added 13:08 - Apr 1
OMG - the Manager says, "he had planned double training sessions for the first three days of the week, however, he subsequently said that the squad wasn’t able to train with the intensity he was hoping for." What has been going on? Sounds like they are both unfit and/or lack commitment. Your history and reputation as a "big club" with the "best squad in the league" are meaningless if this has been allowed to develop. Can you imagine this being allowed to happen at a well run club? Cook has a really big job. Only hope is that some rivals for the play offs have injuries, suspensions or lost form.

Carberry added 13:10 - Apr 1
Whatever the outcome this is so refreshing to hear. A man who can share his hopes and fears - and honestly tell it as it is. Good luck Paul.

Bert added 13:14 - Apr 1
I like his pragmatism. Very different from Lambert.

muccletonjoe added 13:19 - Apr 1
And right there , you see why we have at long last got a good manager

Barty added 13:45 - Apr 1
Good and best of luck with the Easter games [ 6 points hopefully ]

GatesPerm added 13:45 - Apr 1
I think this is really interesting for a number of reasons:

1. This massive squad was assembled to play 4-2-3-1 but it can’t which to be fair has been obvious to those of us watching through the past 18 months of pain.
2. Cook has realised this and on the face of it is prepared to be practical for the remainder of this season. What does this say about Lambert, either not capable of identifying this or not prepared to acknowledge it?
3. I am as certain as I can be that Cook will reshape the squad in the close season so that he can play his preferred 4-2-3-1.

We really do have to give this guy time to sort out what is clearly a horrible mess.

braveblue added 13:46 - Apr 1
Not before time.

Trac70 added 13:46 - Apr 1
I think he'll go 3-5-2 rather than 4-4-2. Wolfy and Kenlock as win backs or possibly Edwards as a wing back although I worry about his defensive side of that role.

u2itfc added 14:01 - Apr 1
Just to be pedantic, England U21's BEAT Croatia 2-1 - but went out on GD due to the late Croatia goal...

johnwarksshorts added 14:13 - Apr 1
Nice to have a manager who is prepared to mix it up a bit. We've been crying out for this type of flexibility and not stubbornness like we've endured in the past. Please make my Easter weekend a good one. COYB!

bluechelmsford9 added 14:43 - Apr 1
Big changes in the Summer from Cook, I am sure. I am already a big fan of his. He is honest, transparent, straight-talking and willing to adapt his belief system and preferred playing style to grind out results, unlike his predecessor. Cook has inherited this team and he needs time from the club and us fans to bring about much needed change. COYB.

DifferentGravy added 14:54 - Apr 1
Its about getting players forward, in the box and in positions where they can score. Which is why many are asking for more than 1 in attack. Its not working in the 4-5-1. Dont care what we play.....just try something different!

Cook can plan for the longer term in post season.......ATTACK

Dockerblue added 15:33 - Apr 1
Got to love this man and what he says. Players can,t train twice? What the hell? I bet when he said he found out a lot about what goes on at the club he means certain players running to ME crying because the,d been asked to train twice a day for 3 days running. Well roll on the summer clear out! I for one am excited by the manager for the first time since Joe Royle left, him and PC seem to have a similar enthusiasm for football and l reckon any players who don,t show a willingness to work hard and fight for the team will find they are on their way come the end of the season. Bring it on please

Saxonblue74 added 16:32 - Apr 1
Theres the difference. Lambert would just dig his heels in and say "I'm the boss and I know best".

Billericay12 added 16:52 - Apr 1
Just because you play a different formation with 2 up top they still need to be fed crosses and through balls. Where are they going to come from ? Keanan Bennetts is the best at taking a player on but his delivery is poor and Edwards can’t seem to manage it at the moment.
But fair play to PC for being prepared to change his usual beliefs.


floridaboy added 17:02 - Apr 1
Two up front means wingers to provide service I assume. Dobra and Judge? Bennetts and Edwards?

If he goes 4-4-2 the line up will be interesting!

Chambers, Woolfenden, Wilson (if fit), Ward
Bennetts, Dozzell, Bishop, Judge
Norwood, Jackson

Or 3-5-2

Chambers, Toto, Wilson
Woolfender, Dozzell, Judge, Bishop/Parrott, Kenlock
Norwood, Jackson

Should be interesting to see the actual line up tomorrow!

Lathers added 17:02 - Apr 1
His massive issue is CM. Dozzell and Bishop just aren’t up to the task, Huws is past it and Skuse has been out for ages and is old. Our best options Downes and Nolan are injured. Not sure what he can do unless he goes 3-5-2 to pack the midfield. I’d like to see us play 4-3-3 with Norwood, Hawkins and Jackson as a genuine front 3 and actually have a go or die trying.

NorthLondonBlue2 added 17:09 - Apr 1
I can't say I've ever liked a formation with a sole striker. Too much chasing lost opportunities.

Attacking full backs, however, is another matter altogether. They can be so disruptive and create opportunities from nowhere.

At this stage, I'd take a 2-4-4 to get some goals in!

RobITFC added 17:30 - Apr 1
Finally the penny has dropped!

Robbie12345 added 17:31 - Apr 1
I find this worrying. Cook only changes from his 4231 when he is desperate.

blues1 added 18:30 - Apr 1
Robbie12345. What has being desperate got to do with it? No, hes just realised the players arent up to playing the way he likes to play, so has decided he needs to try something different. It's called good management, by a good manager.

cat added 18:39 - Apr 1
Great to hear some straight talking from our honest and flexible manager and him saying we have not got the ‘tools’ for his formation is little surprise. I’d go with 3 at the back with Ken & KVY as wingbacks. One thing 2 up front brings is goals against so we need to protect our fragile Captain.

norfolkbluey added 19:51 - Apr 1
If only we had the players Royle had! We wouldn't be in this situation if we had. The board didn't back him then otherwise we might have been in the premiership. At last we have a manager with flexibility and ability to understand the squad he has inherited. I just hope PC is able to bring us the success the supporters deserve after years of failure. It is often the team that starts a sprint at the end of the season that gets promotion so COYB there is still time.

bluesince76 added 20:30 - Apr 1
All cook needs is good financial backing in the summer and then I think he could be successful for us.

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