Hawkins: Goalless Run Astonishing
Thursday, 29th Apr 2021 12:05
Oli Hawkins is at a loss to explain Town’s lack of goals this season – just 41 from the 43 league games played so far – and in particular how they have dried up completely in recent weeks.
The Blues have now gone 619 minutes without a goal and are closing in on the club record of 714 minutes set in the 1994/95 Premier League relegation campaign.
Hawkins, who had been sidelined with injury before making his first start since December in last week’s goalless home draw with Wimbledon, said: “It is astonishing that we haven’t scored in our last six games.
“It’s more than 10 hours of football and I don’t want to be making excuses or anything like that. But it does feel as if we’ve been really unlucky because we hit the bar and the post at Northampton, for example, and we had the chances to score.
“In some games we haven’t had a lot of chances, which has been clear to see, but it’s hard to put my finger on what’s the real problem. Is it luck? Is it effort? I’m not too sure.
“It’s hard to keep talking about it because the more you talk about it the more you think about it. It could be the same analogy we use for a striker who isn’t scoring – as soon as the first one goes in the rest will start coming. It’s just about trying to get that first one and we have people who are capable enough of getting it.”
Hawkins, who has netted just the once for the Blues since signing following his Portsmouth exit last summer, would like nothing more than for the end of Town’s goal drought to coincide with his return to action, his lengthy absence meaning his opportunities to impress manager Paul Cook have been limited as a result.
He added: “It was really good to be out there last week against Wimbledon. I was unfortunate to be out with a knee injury and it took about seven or eight weeks to get back, around the time the new gaffer came in and all the other strikers were fit.
“So it has been a tough last few months for me with injury, getting back to full fitness and trying to make myself available again for selection. It was a great feeling to get out on the pitch again and I feel good.
“It was obviously my first game time for a while and it’s always going to be tough whoever you are. I had played a couple of U23 games behind the scenes but they’re different games at a different pace – a completely different story.
“I was just happy to get the minutes that I did and getting through them without any problems. Unfortunately, we didn’t score, but for me it was good to get the minutes in the tank and to stay injury-free.
“Injuries happen in football and when it happens to you it means you’ve got to be mentally strong and ready when you are fit again. All I could do was to be fit and available for selection, plus try my hardest in training.
“If the new gaffer wanted to pick me I was ready. It might have taken a lot longer than I expected but I wanted to show what I could bring to the team.”
On the subject of the lack of goals, he continued: “It hasn’t started to play on the players’ minds as yet but we know how important it is to end this run by scoring goals and winning games.
“The defence has been really solid over the last few games, so at least there are parts of our game that are strong.
“It’s just in the final third that we haven’t had the luck or things go for us, plus of course there’s been some wrong decision-making as well.”
Hawkins, who still has 12 months of his two-year deal to run, knows that with the club’s new owners looking to return to the Championship at the earliest opportunity – and fans set to return – next season could be very exciting for everyone.
He added: “The main reason I came to Ipswich was that I see it as a massive club and I was excited by the prospect of big crowds cheering on a promotion-chasing team. I’d love to be here next year under a new regime and a new style of play.
“Hopefully, the fans will be back and there will be a buzz around the place again. The new owners are going to want the club to be promoted back to the Championship and I’d like to be a part of it.
“Football in general isn’t the same right now as it was before the pandemic but if crowds are back next season, and we can get it right it on the pitch, it could be an exciting season for us all. That’s what I’m looking forward to because it hasn’t happened for me at Ipswich yet.
“It has been hard going this season. I came here from Portsmouth and the fans gave me a real buzz.
“I don’t even mind if I hear people moaning because it makes me want to go on and do better. It is what it is and sometimes the games are slow-paced because there are no fans there to encourage, moan or whatever.
“It’s hard to deal with the fact that there are no supporters in the ground and I can see Ipswich being one of the clubs that will benefit most when they are allowed back in and football gets back to normal.”
New boss Cook has made no secret of his desire to play his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation and Hawkins was asked if that suited his game. He replied: “I like that formation but I don’t mind what system we use as long as the manager can get the way he wants us to play into the boys.
“If we eventually get there and we realise what he wants I think it can work. I think it’s a good formation and you can see in training, the way he trains us, it’s there and ready to go.
“It’s too late for this season and for it to start working properly but it’s an exciting way of playing and I definitely like it.
“As everyone knows, there are other systems out there. You can play two up front, or go 4-3-3, I don’t mind. I will try to fit into any formation, it’s just a question of what’s right for Ipswich going forward.”
Photo: Matchday Images
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 279 bloggers
Reflections On the Change of Ownership at Ipswich by PhilR
I am in my late 50s and have supported the club for as long as I can remember.
Power of Motivation by LegendRay
The strangest and most disappointing aspect of this season has been lack of bounce.
Demolition Man by tractorboykent
Paul Cook isn’t a man to mince words. Even though we are all sick of the continuing spiral of underachievement at Town, it was nevertheless still a bit of a shock to hear him lay into the 18 that capitulated to Wimbledon in what he described before kick-off as a season defining match.
Here We Go by tractorboykent
For a club recently described as Britain’s unhappiest, it may seem odd that Town fans are suddenly awash with optimism now that the deal is done.
One of the Strongest Squads? by NormEmerges
I keep hearing that ITFC has one of the strongest squads in League One. It’s certainly true that we have one of the biggest squads, but strongest? I would assume ‘strongest’ to mean ‘includes higher quality players for this league’. What do the facts tell us?
Ipswich Town Polls
[ Vote here ]