‘Demolition Man’ Cook tells vast majority of Ipswich Town squad to find new clubs
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Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook has told the vast majority of his remaining players they are not in his plans and can leave the club this summer, we understand. Stuart Watson and Andy Warren report.
Cook has already allowed eight players - Luke Chambers, Cole Skuse, Alan Judge, Stephen Ward, Freddie Sears, Emyr Huws, Tristan Nydam and James Wilson – to leave at the end of their contracts and, following a series of meetings on Monday, has encouraged almost his entire squad to find new clubs this summer.
That includes many players who are under contract for extended periods, such as homegrown youngsters Flynn Downes, Andre Dozzell, Luke Woolfenden, Jack Lankester and Armando Dobra.
The list of players instructed to find new clubs also includes Teddy Bishop, despite the fact he triggered an extended stay in recent weeks, as well as left-back Myles Kenlock and goalkeepers Tomas Holy and David Cornell.
The club took up contract options on Kayden Jackson and Toto Nsiala but it’s believed they are both also available for transfer as the club look to recoup some of the money spent on them by Paul Hurst in the summer of 2018.
Janoi Donacien has also been given another 12 months at Portman Road, with Cook yet to see him either in training or in match action due to him ending the season on loan at Fleetwood. While he will be given the chance to prove his worth, he too could be allowed to move on later in the summer.
It’s not thought the club will be looking to agree mutual terminations with any players, some of whom have several years remaining on their deals, with the Blues seeking fees should any depart. They could also be used as makeweights in order to secure incoming players.
The likes of Dozzell, Downes, Lankester, Dobra and Woolfenden are unlikely to be short of suitors this summer, given their reputations, but all five are likely to be available for significantly less than clubs have previously been willing to pay for the academy graduates.
Town rejected offers from Crystal Palace and Brighton respectively for Downes and Dobra in 2020, while Dozzell has been the subject of interest from Norwich City and have continued to be watched by Championship clubs. Luke Woolfenden has previously been a Sheffield United target while Lankester has also attracted admiring glances from clubs after bursting onto the scene in 2018/19.
Ipswich are still in contract negotiations with winger Gwion Edwards, who is out of contract in just a few weeks, but he has interest from elsewhere in League One. MK Dons are keen.
Cook delivered the news to his players in a series of brief meetings at Playford Road on Monday, some of which are understood to have been brutally honest.
The Town boss has always stressed there would be a summer of real change at Portman Road, both prior to and since the club’s US-backed takeover, with Cook describing himself as ‘Demolition Man’ in the weeks leading up to the end of the campaign.
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Eight players have already moved on, as have coaches Matt Gill, Jimmy Walker and Gerard Nash, but plenty more departures are expected.
Cook will then be backed in the transfer market with a budget described as ‘significant’ by the club’s new ownership, as the Blues bid to escape League One at the third time of asking.
Speaking this week, co-owner Mark Detmer stressed Cook would be given full backing to ‘impose his will’ on the playing squad this summer, with all three of the club’s American owners clear in their view that Cook is the right man to help them rebuild the club.
Incoming and outgoing transfers are likely to be handled by newly-appointed CEO Mark Ashton, who officially begins work at the club on June 1.