'We need to be bold, brave and rise above the taunts' - Skuse fires up Blues ahead of Norwich clash
PUBLISHED: 11:48 04 February 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Cole Skuse has urged his Ipswich Town players to be bold, brave and rise above the expected taunts when they head to Norwich next weekend.
The rock-bottom Blues head to Carrow Road on Sunday to face a Norwich side currently sitting top of the Championship, following Saturday’s impressive 3-1 victory at rivals Leeds.
Skuse, who took the captain’s armband for Saturday’s defeat by Sheffield Wednesday in the absence of Luke Chambers, is expecting added provocation from the Carrow Road stands due to the position of the two teams.
But he knows his side must rise above the goading.
“This is a big game for a lot of reasons,” he said.
“It’s the big derby and their fans will be giving us the taunt but we have to be bold, brave and rise above their taunts.
“That’s how you have to play in any game. We’re bottom of the league and can’t shy away from it but we have to show some balls and show some heart and rise above the taunts you get from anyone.
“We need to play our game and, more importantly, come away with three points.”
The Blues are eight points from safety with 16 games remaining and, while Skuse knows time is running out, he still holds confidence in his side.
“There are a lot of points still to play for even though the games are dwindling away now,” he said.
“I’ve been in the game long enough to know that it’s not over until it’s over and that anything can happen.
“We’re hugely confident in ourselves but we just need that rub of the green. We’re confident things can turn for us.
“We have to keep picking ourselves up but you won’t get a more honest dressing room or group of lads than what we have here.
“The lads are honest as the day is long and are a great group. We’re in for the fight and we can only keep going and keep going.
“We do have to start picking up points, obviously.”
Boss Paul Lambert hopes both Chambers and James Collins will be fit to return to action on Sunday, but Skuse was impressed with how Matthew Pennington and Toto Nsiala filled the void in the middle of the Blues’ defence.
“They are two huge losses but I thought our two centre-halves played really well,” he said.
“Matthew and Totes (Nsiala) were great. Toto in particular was great given he came in after a long spell out but the two of them were colossal as they dealt with everything that came into the box.
“But when you’re missing big players like Chambo and James that’s going to be a big loss to any team in the Championship.”