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Ipswich Town 2 v 2 AFC Wimbledon
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 28th August 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Cook: We Know We Have to Get Up to Speed, We Know We Have to Win Games
Friday, 27th Aug 2021 12:10

Town host AFC Wimbledon at Portman Road on Saturday still looking for their first league win of the season.

Manager Paul Cook was at Sixfields on Tuesday where the Dons beat Northampton 1-0 in the Carabao Cup with Anthony Hartigan netting the goal in the final minute. Wednesday’s draw saw them handed a glamour third-round tie against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

“I was at Northampton and I thoroughly enjoyed the game,” Cook said. “I thought Wimbledon played really well, probably a different system than they may play tomorrow, probably with quite a few different personnel but clearly a team who are playing with great belief, great structure.

“I think Mark [Robinson] has done an excellent job in his short tenure as manager and they’re a really big threat, but then so are every team you play.

“Every team offers a different challenge at League One level, there are no secrets anymore, everybody is very coached, everyone is very well analysed, and everyone knows what’s coming.

“So we’ve got to make sure when we get onto that pitch tomorrow that we’re better than Wimbledon at most aspects of what we’re trying to do.”

Cook says it’s beneficial to see an opposition team in the flesh rather than relying on video footage.
“It’s the only way I like to view games,” he added. “I think as a coach, as a manager I will be at any game I can involving the opposition team we’re playing.

“I think when you watch a team as a coach or a manager or even as an analyst or a scout, you’re trying to work out what they are trying to do and once you’ve worked out what they’re trying to do, it helps you to possibly try and stop them or it helps you try and adjust and change for them.

“For us, once you know what teams are trying to do, it allows us to do our analysis on them, it allows us to come up with a game plan, although our game plan at the minute doesn’t change greatly for every team.

“Our game plan at the minute is very much based on how good can we be and how much better can we get.

“So we respect every team we play, without a shadow of a doubt, we know they’ve got good players, but the most important thing for us is now is bringing a complete 90-minute performance to a game.”
Let them worry more about you? “Again you know that. It’s football. Come five o’clock at Portman Road on Saturday, both teams will have given their best to win the game and you move on to the next one.

“For us as a team, you watch us and one minute you look at us and think ‘Wow, we’re showing some really good signs’.

“The other minute you look at us and go ‘How naive, and young and inexperienced are they?’ So only time and games will bring us stronger and better.”

Cook has options all over the pitch having made 16 signings over the course of the summer, not least at left-back where Hayden Coulson was handed his debut ahead of Matt Penney, who had started all the other games this season, in last Saturday’s 2-2 draw with the MK Dons.

“Always a tough decision – every decision,” Cook reflected. “Matt Penney has been excellent and trained really, really well this week. Hayden Coulson has come in and we want competition for places in all areas of the pitch. That’s what good clubs have.

“Predominantly up to now we haven’t had much competition in many places on the pitch, we’ve had lads who are picking themselves and we’ve been picking lads who probably won’t last 90 minutes because they haven’t had good pre-seasons because they’ve come in late.

“So all of those excuses will soon go out of the window and the race will start being run in my world in earnest.

“We know we have to get up to speed, we know we have to win games, we know we have to stop giving silly goals away.

“But one of the biggest qualities this team has is the ability to score good goals, I think everybody has seen that and when you carry that punch as a fighter or a football club, you carry a punch.

“And we carry that now, we know we have to develop the other aspects of the game for sure and that will result in us being a better team with more points on the board.”

Despite the Blues sitting in 20th in League One, following two home draws and two away defeats, only three sides have scored more than their total of six.

At the other end of the field, Town have conceded eight, the most in the division alongside Cheltenham and the MK Dons.

Cook probably won’t stray too far from the team which drew with MK last weekend, although says one or two of his injured players will be fit, but wouldn’t divulge precisely who they might be.

Vaclav Hladky will be in goal with Coulson probably getting the nod again at left-back and Kane Vincent-Young at right-back.

If fit, George Edmundson will probably make his Town debut alongside Cameron Burgess at the centre of the defence with Luke Woolfenden dropping to the bench.

In midfield, Tom Carroll is likely to come into consideration for a first start in place of either skipper Lee Evans or Rekeem Harper.

Kyle Edwards will be on the left, Wes Burns on the right and Scott Fraser in the middle behind lone out-and-out striker Macauley Bonne, who will be looking to add to his three Portman Road goals in his first two league games at his local club’s home ground.

Sone Aluko, who is over his knock, is likely to be on the bench, as may Conor Chaplin, James Norwood and Toto Nsiala if they’re among the players Cook says have also recovered from fitness issues.

Wimbledon have no new injuries going into the game with defenders Jack Madelin and Luke Jenkins the only absentees.

The Wombles could face striker Joe Pigott, who left Plough Lane for Portman Road in the summer, at some stage on Saturday and assistant head coach Rob Tuvey says he rates the 27-year-old very highly.

Pigott scored 54 goals in 130 starts and 27 sub appearances in three and a half years with the Dons.

“I think he’s definitely up there [with Wimbledon’s best strikers] if you look at the service he gave to the club, both on and off the pitch,” he told his club’s official website.

“He was a massive part of our dressing room last year and hopefully the Wimbledon fans will give him a great reception on Saturday, but we want to be celebrating three points with them afterwards.

“Joe was fantastic for us and someone who we’ve all kept in contact with. We wish him well for the future.”

Tuvey says their side this season is more versatile than it was in 2020/21 and there will be aspects of their play that will be unfamiliar to Pigott.

“This season myself and Robbo [manager Robinson] have had longer with the group to try to implement new ideas that Joe has potentially not seen,” he added.

“But ultimately we will go there with a game plan and I think the nice thing that people will have seen is that we’ve got flexibility in our side – for personnel and formations.

“Whatever we choose to go with on the day, we’ve got the opportunity to change formations and players. That’s going to be a strength for us moving forward.

“They are definitely a different side because there was a lot of recruitment in the summer, but you are always know that Ipswich will be a tough test.

“When you play against Paul’s teams you know that they are going to play a good brand of football and attacking style of football as well.

“They’ve definitely been unfortunate in a few games this season as they’ve created a lot of chances.

“We know the threats that they pose, but in every game we’ve played so far we have carried a good threat.

“We haven’t been out of any of the games so far and we want to go there and put our mark on it.

“We want to take the game to them in the best way we can. It is about 80 per cent us and 20 per cent them. We’ve looked at them, gone through that 20 per cent, and hopefully we can put our mark down on the day.”

Until 2019/20, Town and AFC Wimbledon had never met anywhere in a competitive or friendly fixture since the Dons’ formation in 2002. Since then, Town have won one of the four games, Wimbledon one and two have been draws.

At Portman Road in April, Town’s goal drought stretched beyond the 10-hour mark as they drew 0-0 with the Dons, their fifth stalemate in eight games.

Dai Cornell saved a penalty from Pigott in a first half dominated by the visitors, while the then-Dons striker also went closest for Town when he headed against his own bar in the second half.

Eleven days prior to that, the Wombles comfortably beat the Blues 3-0 at Plough Lane with Will Nightingale, Jack Rudoni and Ryan Longman scoring the goals.

Nightingale headed in the opener on 21, Rudoni nodded home the second four minutes later, then in the 28th minute Town loanee Josh Harrop was shown a straight red card for a late challenge.

Sub Longman added the third in the 86th minute to complete a thoroughly miserable evening for Town.

Saturday’s referee is David Rock from Hertfordshire, who has shown six yellow cards and no red in four games so far this season.

Rock’s last Town match was the 3-3 pre-season friendly draw at Colchester in July with his most recent competitive Blues game the 1-1 draw at MK Dons in October last year in which he booked Flynn Downes and two home players.

Prior to that, Rock’s only previous Town fixture was as a replacement referee in the 3-0 defeat at Watford in March 2011.

Having been the fourth official, Rock took over from fellow Hertfordshire whistler Grant Hegley in the 10th minute after he had suffered a hamstring injury, showing yellow cards to two Hornets and no Blues.

Squad from: Hladky, Holy, Vincent-Young, Donacien, Penney, Coulson, Burgess, Woolfenden, Edmundson, Nsiala, Evans (c), Harper, Carroll, El Mizouni, Fraser, Burns, Chaplin, Aluko, Dobra, Edwards, Pigott, Bonne, Barry, Jackson, Norwood.

Photo: TWTD

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northernblues added 12:21 - Aug 27
A little less conversation a little more action

blues1 added 12:35 - Aug 27
What is it with our fans when it comes to our managers and players being interviewed prior and after games? Why the constant criticism every time? It may have escaped ur notice but it happens at every club, in every lge, in every country. So let's stop with the constant critical comments shall we?. If u dont want to read it, or listen to it, then don't. But why read it(if indeed u actually do), then criticise them for answering the questions put to them?

BeattiesBackPocket added 12:45 - Aug 27
Christ we’ve had the busiest summer EVER new owners, 16 new players, loads of players off to league two, new back room staff the owners are doing everything possible and people’s till moan. Yes the juries out on cook but Christ give him time what he did needed to be done a huge reset was needed and anyone who doesn’t see that need to wobble their heads. Anyone expecting to win all our opening games with all that happening doesn’t know football or what it takes to reset a business. Give him and the new players time. He’s the first manager I can remember who is completely honest in every assessment which is what EVERYONE on here wanted after constant excuses from previous managers about their assessments of the games. He knows and has said it’s not good enough yet but most who have been to games can see technically the players we have now are chalk and cheese to last few years but they need to build partnerships around the pitch and only had 5 games to do this with some even less having only just come in.

Let’s get behind the boys no booing it doesn’t help and get the confidence going for them. COYB’s

spanishblue added 13:05 - Aug 27
BBP well put looking forward to going for the first time in 4 years when I can back to rainy up

Europablue added 13:06 - Aug 27
Having attended my first match in years last Saturday, I can attest that way we play is not fairly represented by the highlights we could have and should have won any or all of the first four matches. Last year no one ran away with the league, the way it is going this year, it's looking like a few teams might be more consistent. The playoffs will always be on even with a poor start, but we need to start winning tomorrow and keep doing it so we don't lose touch with the pace-setters.

tractorboybig added 13:07 - Aug 27
well produce then

markchips added 13:14 - Aug 27
Well said blues 1

Three points tomorrow will help settle everyone .If Edmundsen , Aluko, and Coulsen are in with Chaplin and Pigott on the bench to freshen things up I think we will win.

bugledog123 added 14:34 - Aug 27

BurleysGloryDays added 16:24 - Aug 27
Fully bought into the project, it'll take time, happy to accept that as our performances have been impressive!

Ignore the tiny minority of fans who think this is some sort of computer game.

Sing a Song for Cookie Blue Army! COYB!

TimmyH added 16:26 - Aug 27
Less talking and more doing please...we've heard enough 'spiel' over the last few years!

Monkey_Blue added 17:27 - Aug 27
The first few paragraphs are once again absolute waffle and contradiction. Btw I don’t criticise every manager. Hurst is probably the only appointment under Evans I vocally said was a mistake before a ball was kicked. Wasn’t happy Jim was sacked, was worried about Keane, 50/50 on Jewell, thought MM was the right replacement given the situation and he did well longer term. I recall people being way more positive about Lambert than Mick on here. With him I was ok, just thought he was handed a hospital pass and a bit like Jewell, maybe his confidence was shot by the time we got him.
I don’t like Cook but if gets us up then I’ll celebrate as much as any of you but if he does get us up he’ll have been allowed to buy a team no one else in this division can afford. How would he have done with Lambert or Micks relative budgets and vice versa?

Monkey_Blue added 17:28 - Aug 27
I don’t like Cook but that’s happened post his appointment. I actually thought he was a good choice initially.

Skip73 added 17:57 - Aug 27
We will turn the corner soon. It takes a few games for a new team to get uo to speed, as most intelligent people know.

bluesteal74 added 19:30 - Aug 27
Things will soon turn our way and I think there going to starting tomorrow 🙏 COYB 🚜🔵⚪🚜

townthroughmyveins added 19:47 - Aug 27
So i thought cook was the best of a bad bunch for appointment...but now I'm absolutely sure it was a Hugh mistake to appoint him. His record with us is appalling and it does not look like its going to change in the foreseeable future. Any one on here that thinks he is our savior needs to hit the reset button. He publicly announces that our formation will always be with one up and i ask you, which team would not play to counteract that? 4 games in and its there for all to see. It does not work, wont work and it will take about 6 months more of this crap b4 our American cousins wise up and sort this. Good luck mr cook 2moz coz i can guarantee another loss. Soz 2 b so negative but i can not c this current form changing under this regime and cooks negative playing formation. :(

ringwoodblue added 20:22 - Aug 27
To be honest, what else can Cook say? I can’t criticise him for his pre or post match interviews after that joke Lambert who talked complete nonsense.

A win tomorrow will make a massive difference to everyone involved with the club including Cook who wants it as much as we all do.

algarvefan added 22:22 - Aug 27
'To lose patience is to lose battle' - Ghandi

Hang in there guys, good times are coming.

LegendofthePhoenix added 22:49 - Aug 27
Tomas Holy please

KiwiBlue2 added 01:32 - Aug 28
The stats from most of the earlier games have seen us win it everywhere except on the scoreboard, with us being undone by mistakes which can be eradicated. I am confident that we can get on a run shortly that will move us up the table. A stark contrast from last season is the number of chances we are now creating. Hold the faith..... coyb

Uppatown90 added 06:49 - Aug 28
Townthroughmyveins.. I am sorry, but your point regarding Cooks formation is utter garbage. He has a system and sticks to it. Most managers do! Look at Pep Guardiola, he doesn't even play with a striker most of the time and nobody says that his teams aren't attacking! On paper we play a 4-2-3-1 (which is by no means a defensive formation) but that formation changes through different phases, going forward with the full backs bombing on and leaving 2 back essentially means we are playing a 2-2-3-3. I have massive respect for what Mccarthy did for us but that was very much defensive then hoof ball and we all got bored of it. Hurst was just a write-off and Lambert wanted to play Barcelona style football with league two players on league one pitches.. was never going to work! Understandably, us fans have been crying out for better. And, finally we have a manager who has bought in lots of ATTACKING players and is trying to play exciting football. Already I am more entertained than I have been with the dross we have seen over the last few years. We look like scoring goals, we look shaky at the back but I am certain that will change given time and people staying fit. Give this team a chance to gel and it will click! In Cook we trust! COYB!!

itk92 added 07:01 - Aug 28
I need to learn to not get irate with the comments on here, usually coming from people who haven’t kicked a ball or been involved with any sort of football most probably.
It’s been a poor start, a win would have masked the teething problems expected but would also have been a welcome boost
It’s a long season, I remember us being top around xmas time I believe a few years back.
Stop moaning and just surpport the club, if you can’t see they’re trying to right the wrongs your just ain’t football savvy

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