Big interview: Skuse on Lambert impact, applause for Roberts and the pain of relegation
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town are five points adrift at the foot of the Championship table. Midfielder Cole Skuse talks about the impact of new boss Paul Lambert, an impromptu round of applause for Jordan Roberts and not wanting to experience the pain of relegation again.
ON LAMBERT IMPACT
It has been very, very good. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before but I’m going through some coaching badges and doing bits and bobs myself. I’ve got a notebook at home that I keep notes in and the pages are filling up quite quickly.
He’s been very good from day one; from the way he has conducted himself to the delivery of his presentations, both on and off the field, which have been top class.
The coaches from the U23, U18 and U16 groups have sat in and watched stuff and they have come away thinking ‘we’re quite a way off where he is’.
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Since he’s come in he has been nothing but positive and has given us a real boost.
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He’ll call various people in, one by one, and have individual meetings, but most days we have had group meetings and they have probably gone on longer than he has anticipated they would.
It’s because he is talking to people and having banter with them within the group, which has been very comical at times to be honest.
Today, for example, it was one of the staff’s birthday and he was mentioning maybe bringing in some eggs and flour to bake a cake. It didn’t materialise but it should have.”
He’s getting to know us, as well as we are getting to know him, and that doesn’t happen overnight. But it’s been all good.
ON PRESTON PERFORMANCE
I’m not speaking on behalf of everyone, but from a personal point of view I’m up for every game and I try my utmost in every game.
The lads here are very honest and I’m sure they would all say the same, but we went into that game with a bit of freshness.
I don’t know if it was just new manager syndrome or the fact that our training sessions beforehand had been tapered differently, but I think it was clear for everyone to see.
Even on the school run, when I was speaking to some of the mums and dads, they were saying it was a very good performance.
You could see a lot of things, like the patterns we had been practicing, were coming off so on the whole we thought it was a very good performance.
But as much as we could take some positives out of the game, we were disappointed not to get the three points.
ON FREDDIE SEARS
We weren’t just pleased for Freddie to get his goal but with the way he reacted as soon as the penalty was given. He was ballsy enough to go and grab the ball and say ‘I’m having this’. Being in the position we are in that’s no mean feat.
He took it upon his shoulders to go and get the goal we needed at the time. Fair play to him and as much as we were over the moon for him that he scored, it also showed a sign of his true character that he was willing to take the responsibility like that.
We’re not hiding away from the fact that we need goals and that we are where we are in the league, five points adrift of the team just above us.
It was great for Freddie to get his goal and he’s the type of player who can go on to get 15 to 20 goals in a season, which would be a massive boost for us as well as him.
ON JORDAN ROBERTS
All the lads were made up for Jordan because he’s a great kid. Managers have their own opinions and for whatever reason Jordan wasn’t involved in the squad with the previous manager.
But from one day to the next you would see him come in and he never moped around or sulked.
He would just go off and do his training, get his stuff done, and you take your hat off to people like that who stay mentally strong so that when they are called upon they are ready to deliver.
He had a great performance against Preston, led the line very well, was a focal point and gave us a presence. If he had gone on to get a goal I think the lads would have been all over him.
After the game – I don’t know if it was led by me – all the lads gave him a round of applause and said ‘well done, you were brilliant for us today, you really helped us out’.
Paul Hurst signed Jordan because he’s a good player. For whatever reason things didn’t work out for him under Paul Hurst and Doigy (Chris Doig) but as soon as the new manager came in, from day one or day two, he was asking questions about him and why he wasn’t featuring in the team.
In training his technique is up there with some of the best I’ve seen in terms of his finishing. Also, he’s the type of character you want around the team. He’s fantastic and full credit to him for his performance last weekend.
ON FLYNN DOWNES
I cannot speak highly enough of Flyn. He’s someone who has had recognition with his England call-ups and for me he is someone who should be cemented in and around the England set-up.
He’s a lovable character as well. He’s one who might be the brunt of a few jokes but he takes it on the chin and gets on with it. In terms of playing ability he’s very, very good.
Both Flynn and Andre (Dozzell) are mentally strong kids. Look at Doz, his injury was a real bad one and yet he came back sooner than expected. He doesn’t miss a training session and both he and Flynn are arguably two of the best trainers in the squad.
Their mentality is spot-on, second to none, and you can only wish players like that all the very best for the rest of their careers.
ON RELEGATION BATTLE
As much as we are keeping the morale high, we’re not hiding away from the fact that we’re bottom of the league.
Relegation isn’t something you want to go through in your career. It was a horrible, horrible feeling when it happened to me (at Bristol City in 2012/13).
I hope this isn’t speaking out of turn but I don’t see parallels between now and then. Bristol City was my team for a long, long time but there is a better squad here at the moment, in terms of the manager, staff and what we have behind us in terms of help on and off the field, than we had down there six years ago. It’s a much better place here.
We’re lucky in the sense that there are still plenty of games to play and we feel as if we have a very, very good squad.
We’ve also got a very good manager and staff, who give us the guidance that we need, and who knows, come January there might be some new additions to help us.
That’s a managerial decision, of course, but we’re more than confident we are going to get out of the situation we are in.
ON READING GAME
It’s a very big game at Reading because they’re not too far away from us in the table.
They’re at home and there is talk of their manager (Paul Clement) being under a bit of pressure, so they need to get away from where they are.
But as much as we’ve had a look at them, we’re really focusing on ourselves and getting the little patterns that we can work on to affect them. But there’s no doubt it’s a big game.
It is tough to play in these sorts of circumstances. Every game is a big game, no matter where you are in the league, but when you’re bottom of the league every point is a huge point.
You’ve got to be bold and brave, mentally tough as a character, to stand up and fight. Not just that, but to also get on the ball and play.
We all make mistakes – that’s human nature – and we are all capable of giving the ball away in games. But if you make an error like that, don’t dwell on it. It’s gone and you need to move on.