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‘I have personal things to consider... family is everything’ - Skuse on returning to football during virus crisis

PUBLISHED: 14:46 20 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:37 20 May 2020

Cole Skuse in action during Town's 1-0 defeat Sunderland Photo: ROSS HALLS

Cole Skuse in action during Town's 1-0 defeat Sunderland Photo: ROSS HALLS

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Cole Skuse has stressed ‘it has to be safe’ before he would consider returning to football during the coronavirus crisis.

Cole Skuse pictured during Town's 2-1 defeat at Blackpool Photo: ROSS HALLSCole Skuse pictured during Town's 2-1 defeat at Blackpool Photo: ROSS HALLS

Players at League One level could potentially return to training next week, but whether or not that happens depends on whether a decision is made regarding the remainder of the third tier season.

The EFL and its clubs will continue to talk in the coming days but, for Skuse, the primary concern is the safety for him and his family given his wife Louisa falls into the ‘at risk’ caterogry.

“They say a decision will be made this week but they have been saying that for weeks now,” Skuse told the club website.

“A decision does need to be made but I echo what a lot of players are saying ‘it’s got to be safe to play, it has to be safe’.

Cole Skuse pictured during Town's 0-0 draw at AFC Wimbledon Photo: ROSS HALLSCole Skuse pictured during Town's 0-0 draw at AFC Wimbledon Photo: ROSS HALLS

“From my point of view, I have got personal things to consider. My wife is Type 1 diabetic and that puts her at greater risk. (One in four patients who have died of Coronavirus in hospitals in England had diabetes).

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“My little daughter has been in hospital recently with bronchitis as well so I’ve got issues like that to consider. Family is everything.

“It’s got to be concrete that it’s a safe environment to play again; that everything is in place for me to consider strongly going back.”

Cole Skuse at Blackpool. Picture Pagepix LtdCole Skuse at Blackpool. Picture Pagepix Ltd

Skuse this week put pen-to-paper on a fresh one-year deal with the Blues, which will take him into an eighth season with the club.

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“Of course I’m delighted to be staying at what is a fantastic football club for at least another year,” he explained.

“It’s a mixed bag of emotions really. There is the relief of agreeing a new deal because with so much uncertainty around at the moment, it’s probably the worst time to be at the end of your contract. Every time you look on Sky they are talking about how many players will be out of work, especially in the lower leagues.

Cole Skuse has signed a new one-year deal at Ipswich Town.    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMCole Skuse has signed a new one-year deal at Ipswich Town. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

“I’ve got good friends who have not been given a contract and you feel for them.

“I’m fortunate in that I’ve got a fair few years behind me. I’ve had a good run at it but for players in their mid-20s, it will be worrying but then people up and down the country will be worrying about their jobs whatever career they are in. It’s difficult times for a lot of people.”

In discussing his new deal, Skuse has spoken with owner Marcus Evans and general manager of football operations, Lee O’Neill about his role with the club once his playing days come to an end.

“My 100 per cent priority is playing football for as long as I can, whether that’s another year; two years; whatever,” he said.

Cole Skuse will only return if it's safe to do so. Picture: ROSS HALLSCole Skuse will only return if it's safe to do so. Picture: ROSS HALLS

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“Alongside that though I’ve said I’d like to add my services in whatever way I can, whether that be coaching some of the younger players - which I do to a degree now - or whether it be attending off-field events for the club, helping to promote the club around the town and beyond. The more I do, the more I think I will find the pathway I want to pursue after my playing days are over.”

He continued: “When I joined from Bristol at 27, it was the first time as a family we had moved away from there.

“You never know how long you are going to be at a club so after two years here we bought a farm back in Bristol that we thought would be our ‘forever home’ when I finished playing.

Cole Skuse's previous Ipswich Town contract was due to expire at the end of June. Photo: ROSS HALLSCole Skuse's previous Ipswich Town contract was due to expire at the end of June. Photo: ROSS HALLS

“My family, Louisa’s family are all back there and it was always our intention to return but the longer we have stayed here, the more settled we have become.

“It’s a great place to bring up a family; the kids love it here. We’ve got some good friends here. Ipswich is great football club to be involved with; the supporters have always been fantastic to me. We are renovating our house and we’ve got a ‘forever home’ here now. It feels home.”


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