Cook to Field Strongest Side Against Barrow
Friday, 3rd Dec 2021 11:31
Town boss Paul Cook says he’ll field what he feels is his strongest team when Barrow visit Portman Road in the FA Cup second round tomorrow but admits it’s difficult to judge what that is at present.
Asked whether his selection has to be a little bit different than it was for the first game against Oldham with the trip to Charlton on Tuesday, he said: “I think one of the things that our fans will be comfortable with is how difficult it is at the minute, for whatever reason, to pick what we deem our strongest Ipswich Town team.
“I think due to the changes in the summer where we recruited a lot of good players, no doubt about it.
“I think the epitome of it was the Oldham game at home in the cup when we produced probably one of our flattest performances of the season four days after playing so well at Wycombe.
“I think that probably encompasses the difficulties we’re having in relation to picking consistent teams and trying to get consistent performances. The reality is that we want to pick the strongest team tomorrow afternoon that we feel will take us into the third round of the FA Cup.”
Cook is determined to make it through to the third round: “Desperate to be in the cup. Our fans were a little bit disgruntled at the end of the game the other night, Wednesday night. We made 11 changes, we make 11 changes in a game.
“I think the starting line-up indicates your intent in the competition. We should have won the game, by the way, but that shouldn’t detract from the fact of what the team selection was.
“Tomorrow will be what I feel will be his strongest XI to get us in the third round of the cup.”
Quizzed on whether it’s difficult picking is lone striker with Joe Pigott having said he’s in need of games and Macauley Bonne currently without a goal in five, Cook responded: “Again, the selection matters are selection matters, aren't they? For supporters, supporters always want to see certain players.
“That's the reality for Macauley Bonne. If you had spoken four weeks ago about leaving Macauley Bonne out of the team, then you wouldn't have been allowed in Ipswich town centre and now four weeks later in football, we are speaking about him being left out of the team.
“That's what football is today, and you're not going to change it. I just live in a solid world. I just make my decisions off a solid base.
“I'm a very loyal manager, I try and be consistent with players that do well for me.”
James Norwood scored for the U23s on Tuesday and Cook was asked whether there is any way back for the striker, who has been training with the development squad and is set to be made available in January.
“I'm not going to be answering questions on players individually. We've got a strong squad. Lads all have different levels of where they are in the squad,” he said.
“We want to concentrate on the positivity around the game tomorrow and being in the third round of the FA Cup.”
Cook was similarly tightlipped on loanee Louie Barry’s lack of involvement against Arsenal U21s on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately for you, as much as I’d love to, I can’t answer questions on all the players all the time, it’s just not right,” he said. “Louie’s part of the squad, I can’t physically pick every player.”
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