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Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook ready to pair Kayden Jackson with James Norwood in pursuit of play-off place




Paul Cook revealed Ipswich Town fans will see the 4-2-3-1 system he has favoured so far abandoned in the pursuit of a winning formula to propel them into the Sky Bet League One play-offs.

The Blues manager spoke to the media this morning ahead of his side looking to get their promotion push back on track with a first win in four matches when Bristol Rovers (23rd) visit Portman Road tomorrow (3pm).

He said with the nature of the league, where games are coming thick and fast, and April itself containing no less than seven fixtures, he has accepted he must adapt the way they approach games.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook spoke to the media in his latest virtual press conference, ahead of tomorrow's match at Portman Road Picture: Barry Goodwin
Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook spoke to the media in his latest virtual press conference, ahead of tomorrow's match at Portman Road Picture: Barry Goodwin

"Where I wanted continuity and I wanted to pick the same team, I wanted partnerships to develop, I wanted consistency in formations, I just can't get it. And I'm not fighting it no more. I've let that fight be won by what I can't win," he said.

"The new fight now is get results and win game 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."

With a lack of goals having been an issue this season and in Cook's short reign – with just four scored in the new boss' six matches to eight against – he was asked if he is still tempted, as he has previously hinted at, to put Kayden Jackson as a secondary striker alongside Norwood.

I'm not going sit in front of everyone and say this is my philosophy and this is my identity. My identity is winning and that is the biggest identity any manager or coach should have - Paul Cook

He replied: "Yes, why not? One thing's for sure, I won't get to the end of the season playing 4-2-3-1 with a team that doesn't function that way, that's not going to happen.

"Our supporters would be grossly disappointed with me if they felt I was going to continue doing that.

"So the brute reality is, watch this space."

Kayden Jackson could be set to come into Ipswich Town's starting line-up at home to Bristol Rovers as a secondary striker Picture: Barry Goodwin
Kayden Jackson could be set to come into Ipswich Town's starting line-up at home to Bristol Rovers as a secondary striker Picture: Barry Goodwin

He added: "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 and in four weeks I have learned a lot about them. And they've probably learnt a lot about me and the demands and what, going forward, we can demand.

"The one thing that all Ipswich Town fans demand is that we turn up and try our best to win a game of football and whatever those formations look like remains to be seen.

"But I'm not going sit in front of everyone and say this is my philosophy and this is my identity. My identity is winning and that is the biggest identity any manager or coach should have."

When asked about the injury situation with Kane Vincent-Young, who went off with a hamstring issue in his first start in 17 months on Saturday, Cook was not prepared to give full updates.

“It’s always going to be difficult, we’ve got a couple more injuries, if I’m being truthful I don’t really want to debate each and every individual player, if that’s OK," he said.

“I understand you guys have a job to do. If we were only speaking about one or two people, then I wouldn’t have a problem, but the reality is, the injury situation over a period of time at this club’s not been great, has it?

“We do seem to be adding to it at the minute and I’m not so sure whether that is the games, whether that is fatigue, but it’s something that we’ll seriously look at at the end of the season, that’s for sure.”

The Blues are in 11th position in the League One table, three points off sixth-placed Gillingham on whom they hold three games in hand, following Steve Evans' side beating Wigan Athletic 1-0 last night.

Town's last result saw them play out a goalless draw at Wigan, who, like tomorrow's opponents Bristiol Rovers, currently occupy a relegation spot.

On-loan Tottenham Hotspur striker Troy Parrott is back available following international duty along with central defender Mark McGuiness, who has recently found himself out of the team.

Bristol Rovers, who appointed departer Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton as their third manager this season, on February 22, have lost their last four matches to sit second-from-bottom of the table.

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