|Ipswich Town 0 v 0 Barrow|
Saturday, 4th December 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Cook Desperate to Give Fans a Cup Run as Barrow Visit
Friday, 3rd Dec 2021 13:57
Boss Paul Cook says he’s desperate to give Town fans an FA Cup run by beating Barrow at Portman Road on Saturday and would love a home derby against Norwich City or maybe a trip to the club he supports, Liverpool, in the third round.
The Blues, winners of the competition in 1978, go into the Barrow tie looking for their first home victory in the competition in almost 13 years, having last won an FA Cup tie on their own turf when Jim Magilton’s side beat Chesterfield 3-0 in the third round in January 2009.
The Blues will also be aiming for only their third FA Cup win in 22 matches having defeated Oldham 2-1 in a replay at Boundary Park in the first round, following a 1-1 draw at Portman Road in the initial fixture.
Asked where progress in the FA Cup features on his Christmas wish list, Cook said: “I just think about winning. That's the disappointing thing about Wednesday night [the on-penalies Papa John's Trophy loss to Arsenal's U21s].
"The reality is that it's a penalty shootout that decides good and bad, but we really wanted to win three games this week at Portman Road.
“We really wanted to get through in all competitions that would have seen us win three games on the bounce for the first time and also progress in good cup competitions.
“The Papa John’s is a good cup competition. The day out at Wembley is a fantastic day out for any supporter.
“Wembley is a great experience for coaches, managers and players. So we are disappointed and we felt the team was strong enough to go through and on fortune and the balance of play it should have gone through.
“The disappointing thing is that Joe Pigott's goal two minutes before the end is clearly onside, and they are the moments as managers you can't affect. They're just refereeing decisions.
“So we turn our attention fully now to the FA Cup. For Ipswich fans, it's a great competition historically when you've won it.
“Similarly, when I was at Wigan, Wigan fans held the cup in great esteem because they had been to Wembley and won it.
“For Ipswich fans, they are desperate for a cup run and as a manager, players and staff, we are desperate to give them a cup run.
“But we can't get ahead of ourselves because Barrow will be a tough opposition. As everyone knows, we have already seen the cup results this year, numerous teams going out of the competition quite quickly.
“We will be addressing the cup competition with the strongest team we can put out, I cannot relay that any more to our supporters. It will be a team that I feel can win the game and that I feel deserves to play.”
The first FA Cup final Cook attended was Liverpool’s 3-0 victory over Newcastle in 1974 and as a player he reached the quarter-finals with Wolves in 1994 where they were defeated by 1-0 by Chelsea - having beaten Town 2-1 in a replay at Portman Road in the previous round - and also with Burnley in 2003 when they were knocked out by Watford.
Cook’s best run as a manager was back 2018 as Wigan boss when the League One Latics beat three Premier League sides on their way to the quarter-finals, AFC Bournemouth, West Ham and Manchester City.
He added: “I’ve got great memories of the FA Cup. As a manager I don't believe in looking back, I believe the most important thing is that you look forward.
“Everyone wants to be in the third round of the FA Cup. I think for all different reasons, I spoke about it before, I think in the early rounds, as an Ipswich manager to play Norwich at Portman Road would be great because of the media attention and the activity it would give the whole area and the supporters.
“Privately obviously, I'd love to go to Anfield. Well, I'm not saying I'd love to go, guys, I've got to tell you that, but I think we'd enjoy the experience of being drawn against Liverpool.
“And then you could go right through the club and the squad on who everyone would like to play.
“But the reality is we don't go in for a laugh and a joke, we go in to progress. So we need to beat Barrow tomorrow, it will be a tough game and then everyone can get excited about the draw.”
Cook watched Barrow in League Two action at Sutton United last Saturday when they were beaten 1-0, the Bluebirds’ third successive defeat to take their winless run in the league to nine matches, although in that time they have won in both the FA Cup first round - 4-0 at non-league Banbury - and Papa John’s Trophy, 1-0 at home to Leicester’s U21s. They’re currently 20th in the division having finished 21st last season.
“For one or two of our supporters I do actually try my best to be a good manager, lads, I work,” Cook joked.
“It’s the game we’re in, we like watching the opposition. As a manager I’ll always watch the opposition whenever I can. It’s difficult when we play on the same day but as a manager I pride myself that I’ll always be where the opposition are.
“Unfortunately for me Charlton are at Gateshead this evening, aren’t they? So I’m hoping that Charlton play a full-strength team.
“That’s just part and parcel of my job. That’s the truth of it. I enjoy that side of it because it allows you time to think.”
Cook was impressed by the Cumbrians’ passing game: “I enjoyed Barrow, I enjoy how well coached teams are now.
“Mark Cooper’s been a manager for a few years now, he’s done very well wherever he’s been. Mark’s a good guy, he’s a good coach, he’s a good manager and his team play that way.
“They were by far the better team last week at Sutton, they lost 1-0. They missed chance after chance.
“They’re easy on the eye, they have a real identity in how they want to play, they try and have a possession-based game, keeping the ball.
“And they were good. We’ll have spells, no different than Crewe, where Barrow will have the ball, because they’re good at what they do.
“The most important thing, as ever, we’ve got to make sure we impose ourselves on the game and our style and our identity comes through.
“After what was a lacklustre performance against Rotherham, I thought certainly in the first half especially [against Crewe last Sunday], we played with a lot more aggression in our play and created a lot more chances.
“Unfortunately that third goal at Portman Road was always going to be crucial and it set for a very, very nervy ending to the game. And you can feel it. As a manager you can feel it, as a supporter you feel it.
“But the reality was it was a game we needed to win. It was a game we needed to win because if we have aspirations of getting where we want to be this season, we can’t keep giving up ground. The biggest thing about last week and the Crewe game was that we won.
“We’re now on to a cup game tomorrow and we’re desperate to get through the round.”
The Blues had an unwanted midweek trip to Oldham in the last round following the draw at Portman Road. Asked about the likelihood of a repeat result and an even longer trip to the North West, Cook laughed: “I’ve already booked the hotel! Even you journalists, get your AA maps and start having a look because you know we don’t do anything easy.
“One hundred per cent we’ll all be in Barrow next Tuesday and we’ll probably get through after extra-time!”
Cook has said he’ll play a strong side against the Bluebirds which will see Christian Walton return in goal with Bailey Clements and Janoi Donacien set to be the full-backs and George Edmundson and Toto Nsiala the centre-halves.
The Blues manager has a decision to make alongside skipper Sam Morsy with Scott Fraser having come into the team last Saturday, a move he admitted had pluses and negatives to it afterwards.
Tom Carroll returned from injury and impressed against Arsenal’s U21s on Wednesday before running out of steam with Lee Evans, Idris El Mizouni and Rekeem Harper other alternative options.
Kyle Edwards will probably start wide on the left with Sone Aluko likely to be on the right and Bersant Celina in the middle behind lone out-and-out striker Macauley Bonne.
Barrow boss Cooper says his side will go into the game with few expecting anything other than a Town victory.
“This is a good game for us,” he told iFollow Bluebirds. “Nobody really expects us to get anything at Portman Road against a good Ipswich team so we can go and express ourselves and the pressure will be on them, they know that.
“We’ll be in for a tough afternoon but if we go and play like we did last Saturday and we put the ball in the net then we can cause them problems.
“Unlike in the last round, there is no pressure on us so if we can be free, we can be dangerous because we can just go and play our stuff.
“I know Ipswich will have done their homework because I saw Paul Cook at Sutton last Saturday and I have been to watch them too so both teams are respectful, as you have to be.
“We have to play really well on the day, we have to get a bit of luck and they have to not be quite at it and that’s why you get the odd upset in the FA Cup because those things can all happen.”
Cooper has defenders Patrick Brough and Connor Brown available again, the former following a one-match ban and the latter after a chest infection.
Midfielder Jamie Devitt and and forward Dimitri Sea are likely to miss out having been on the sidelines with injury recently.
The game is live in the US on ESPN+ and in other countries, while highlights will be on the BBC Sport website.
Town and the Bluebirds, who returned to the EFL after an absence of 48 years in 2020/21, have never previously met in any competition.
However, they did face one another in a pre-season friendly at Holker Street in August 1966, the game ending in a 1-1 draw.
The draw for the third round takes place on Monday as part of the coverage of the Boreham Wood-St Albans City tie, which is live on ITV4.
Saturday’s referee is Sam Purkiss from London, who has shown 59 yellow cards and three red in 16 games so far this season.
Purkiss’s most recent Town match was the 2-1 defeat at Burton in August in which he booked two Brewers and awarded both teams a penalty.
Fraser missed Town's following a foul on Louie Barry, while Lucas Akins converted to win the game for the home side on 86 after Matt Penney had tripped Joe Powell.
In March, Purkiss took charge of the 1-0 home victory over Plymouth in which he kept his cards in his pocket throughout.
Prior to that he had previously only taken charge of EFL Trophy games away from home involving Town.
The 2-0 loss at Crawley last season, in which he booked Keanan Bennetts and one home player, and the 1-0 defeat at Colchester the campaign before in which he booked James Wilson and two U’s.
Squad from: Walton, Hladky, Donacien, Vincent-Young, Clements, Penney, Edmundson, Nsiala, Burgess, Woolfenden, Morsy, Evans, Harper, El Mizouni, Carroll, Fraser, Chaplin, Celina, Edwards, Bonne, Pigott, Jackson.
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