'I will be like Demolition Man... there will be a lot of pain' - Cook on his Town squad overhaul

Town manager Paul Cook reacting on the touchline.

Paul Cook has made his disappointment plain to see - Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.c

‘Demolition Man’ Paul Cook is preparing to oversee ‘six weeks of pain’ at Ipswich Town as he begins an extensive overhaul of the Blues’ squad. 

Alan Judge is the first senior player to depart, with the Irishman stood down from first-team duty for the rest of the season in order to avoid playing the one game required to trigger a new contract, before he will be released in the summer. 

But Cook won’t stop there, with another dozen senior players out-of-contract in just a few weeks and the majority likely to move on, along with some of those who are under contract. 

Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Charlton, Cook’s fury at his side’s displays during his 10 matches in charge (two wins, four draws, four losses) could not be more clear. Nor could his feelings that a major clear-out is needed over the coming weeks.

Ipswich Manager Paul Cook talks to the new owners at Plough Lane after the defeat by AFC Wimbledon

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook (left) talks to chairman Michael O'Leary (centre), general manager of football operations Lee O'Neill (second right) and club secretary Stuart Hayton (far right) after Tuesday night's 3-0 loss at AFC Wimbledon. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: PagePix Ltd

But once the ‘pain’ is over, Cook is convinced the ‘sunshine will start to come through’. 

“My job with the new owners, the new chairman and the new CEO coming in is to make those people proud, but that won’t happen overnight,” he said. 

“There’s going to be a lot of pain at the club over the next few weeks and I’m fully prepared for that pain.  

“As you can imagine, our team won’t be the same as it was on Tuesday night (for tomorrow’s game at Charlton). I’m not putting up with it anymore. 

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“I won’t throw any players under the bus and I won’t say anything on here (to the media) that I won’t say to people in dressing rooms.  

“It’s not acceptable what we are at the moment but, come the summer, there will be a lot of change. 

“We’ve had a tough couple of days at the club. We’re all clamouring for something that works and sometimes the solution isn’t in the building, sometimes it has to come from outside the building. 

“This time has has not been successful for too long. Whether it lasts another six games is not really to the fore of my mind. The downward spiral has to stop soon and an upward one has to begin.” 

Alan Judge celebrates after scoring Towns second goal to take them 2-0 up against Bristol Rovers.

Alan Judge won't play for Town again - Credit: www.stephenwaller.com

Cook was then asked when he will have meetings regarding transfer budgets for next season, he said: “The summer isn’t really to the fore of my mind. 

“The players, when they’re on the pitch, represent me, they represent the staff and they represent the town of Ipswich.  

“I offer very little criticism to the team but, at the minute, I don’t like the team and I haven’t got a clue what I’m getting out of them. That will end at the end of this season. 100%. 

“The least I say, the better it will probably be.” 

When asked how his players have been since Tuesday’s 3-0 loss at Wimbledon, Cook simply replied: “I don’t really care.” 

James Norwood voices his frustrations after missing a chance against AFC Wimbledon

Ipswich were dreadful in a 3-0 defeat at AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday - Credit: Pagepix

But now he wants to see a reaction? “Since they were relegated two years ago Ipswich fans have had false dawns, players playing well for a couple of games and inconsistencies. People flattering to deceive, runs of four games without scoring and then keeping clean sheets for three.  

“I’m bored of it. Successful clubs sustain what they do and have high tempo, flair players, creative players and create chances.” 

Cook was then asked how excited he is at the chance to rebuild the squad and club: “It’s the reason I came to the club,” he said. 

“When I came I was very confident I’d lead the team into the play-offs so to say I’m disappointed in myself is an understatement. I think I should be getting more out of these players and I’m disappointed I’m not. 

“But after lying awake for two nights I’m a fighter and someone who doesn’t settle for second best or mediocrity. 

“I don’t want to leave Wimbledon congratulating them on a 3-0 win or the same at Fleetwood and Gillingham. I don’t enjoy it. I like leaving feeling proud of my team and that’s something I’m not at the minute. 

“Rest assured, that will change.” 

Troy Parrott is unhappy not to get a second half penalty at Rochdale

Troy Parrott has been linked with a return to Spurs - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

When it was put to Cook there had been rumours of Troy Parrott returning to parent club Tottenham, the Town boss replied: “There’s no truth in that rumour. 

“What you guys will now get is a million rumours because I will be like Demolition Man over the next six weeks.  

“You will hear rumours one every player, every bust-up and everything that goes wrong. This is going to be a very unhappy club over the next two or three weeks because the changes are coming. 

“When there are announcements on players, be it Troy Parrott, Luke Chambers, James Norwood or Kayden Jackson, the club will make those. One of the things we can’t stop  is social media, Twitter and all the outlets that will spread rumours that, until we substantiate them, won’t be true. 

“But that’s what happens at big football clubs and, at the minute, we want to be respectful to every player at the club because these lads have all got families and have worked hard to get to Ipswich Town. 

“We must do things with a little class now, irrespective of whether it’s Player A, Player B and all the way to Z. 

“There’s a proper way to deal with things at football clubs. For me, as a manager, it’s in house and it’s done properly so our fans know what we’re doing is exactly what they want from their football club. 

“Our players are very, very aware of my feelings. If the whole squad didn’t want to come back from Wimbledon then it wouldn’t have bothered me. I couldn’t care less anymore.” 

Asked if we could now see some of the club’s younger players, Cook said:  “If the 18 players from Wimbledon don’t turn up then we’ll have to, won’t we. 

“But if there’s a new 18 I think we could get more from our supporters. To the fans, I ask you to stay with us for the rest of the season but there will be more pain, guys. There has to be more pain. 

“But once the pain goes the sunshine will start to come through.” 

Ipswich Assistant Manager Gary Roberts at Portsmouth

First team coach Gary Roberts is 'not very happy' with the squad, according to Paul Cook - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Cook came into the club last month with long-time player Gary Roberts as his first-team coach. 

“He’s not very happy and he’s not very pleased,” Cook said of the former Town midfielder. 

“He’s very disappointed with the quality of player we have in the building. We’re saying to the lads ‘someone please step up to the plate, anyone’. Step up to the plate and stay here. 

“I don’t know how long I’ll be Ipswich manager. I don’t know how long the new owners will trust me for, but for me to renew players’ contracts and keep people at the club I have to trust them. 

“All of my teams historically have had 10, 12, 15 players who I trust. I don’t have that at Ipswich Town and I think Gary’s found that really frustrating. 

“We don’t put crosses into the box, we don’t create chances, we don’t defend well and we don’t defend set-pieces well. We don’t retain possession of the ball, we’re not very fit and we’re not very athletic.  

“You can write a list of what we’re not good at so to say Gary’s not very happy would be doing a disservice to those words. I imagine he’s in a similar mood to the one I’m in today.  

“It’s a lovely day in Suffolk and by the time I finish with this I will smile, I will be a happy manager and I will travel to Charlton with all the enthusiasm in the world. 

“But we’re not going to start putting on faces to show people everything’s rosy in the camp, because it isn’t.” 

Ipswich Town contracts 

Season-long loans 

McGuinness, Bennetts, Harrop, Parrott, Matheson 

2021 

Chambers, Skuse*, Ward*, Wilson*, Sears*, Jackson*, Bishop*, Nsiala*, Edwards, Donacien*, Drinan,  Nydam*, El Mizouni*, Morris*, Clements*, Gibbs*, Andoh*, Hughes* 

2022 

Downes*, Norwood*, Lankester*, Kenlock*, Ndaba*, Holy, Nolan, Cornell*, Hawkins*, McGavin*, Crowe*, Smith*, Simpson*, Crane*, Chirewa* 

2023 

Vincent-Young*, Dobra* 

2024 

Woolfenden*, Dozzell* 

*known to have a 12-month contract option 

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