‘Go with what you feel is right and have no regrets’ – Hurst explains the risk versus reward thinking behind his lower league recruitment

Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst has made nine signings so far this summer. Photo: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst has made nine signings so far this summer. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Three senior players have been sold and nine players – none of whom have any Championship experience of note – have arrived during Paul Hurst’s first transfer window as Ipswich Town manager. The Blues boss, who has played and managed in the lower league himself, explains the recruitment policy.

Q: This is a new approach by owner Marcus Evans...

A: It started with myself and Chris (Doig) coming in. And while it was only from a league below, we clearly hadn’t managed in the Championship before.

Maybe it’s followed suit (with the recruitment). I bring in my thoughts and views of how best to move forward with what we’ve got to work with and I know that there might be some concerns out there. I can’t say that (those concerns) might not come to fruition, but I want to give it a go doing it a certain way.

And that’s what we’re doing rather than going for maybe the same old names, the tried and tested.

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I want to try and add some value to this squad and I think we’ve got – again there’s never, ever a guarantee – but we’ve got a lot of players in the squad now where you could really see, in time, clubs being interested in them and us perhaps getting some good fees for them again.

It’s a relatively young squad, quite fresh, and a lot of them are unproven. They’ve got to prove their worth.

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But, from my point of view, it’s going to be exciting working with them and trying to help them develop, trying to give them the confidence to compete in the league against some good clubs and not be overawed by the name of the club or maybe a name that they’re directly against.

Let’s have a go is all we’re going to ask of them.

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Q: Is it fair to describe your recruitment policy as signing the cream of the lower leagues?

A: Yes, I think that’s fair comment. I did something similar at my previous club (Shrewsbury), giving players an opportunity to play at the highest level that they have.

Kayden (Jackson) is slightly different (having previously had a spell at Barnsley), but I don’t think in truth he would be a player that says ‘I’ve been a Championship player before’ (given he didn’t make a senior appearance there). He was put into the development team really.

Overall I speak about hunger, a little bit of potential. A lot of players I truly believe can make the step up. I wouldn’t have brought them here if not.

And again, I don’t think I’m being rude to ourselves, we know we have to shop in a certain market. Some of the players that are getting moves I would love to have brought here, but it was never, ever going to happen.

The more money you’ve got, the easier it is to get exactly what you want. But at the same time I am pleased with the players that we’ve brought in and hopefully the fans will like them as well given a bit of time and seeing them pull the Ipswich Town shirt on.

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Q: As a player, you progressed from League Two to the Championship with Rotherham. How did you find the step up to the second tier?

A: A lot of that team which got promoted started the Championship season and played quite a few games.

I know at the time the manager (Ronnie Moore) was thinking ‘we need players’ and again maybe, particularly there due to finance, he couldn’t make too many changes and had to go with what he’d got and we managed to do okay.

We were never going to win the league or anything like that but a lot of those players, myself included, in League Two if you’d have told fans and probably managers or even team-mates that they were good enough to play in the Championship, you’d have been laughed out of there.

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But it just shows what, with a determination and a desire, can sometimes be achieved.

These (new Ipswich) players, like I said, don’t write them off just yet. Let’s give them an opportunity.

Chances are one or two might struggle a little bit and, while I want them to perform right now, sometimes it takes players a year, almost two years sometimes.

That’s okay with one or two, providing everyone else is up to speed. Where we clearly would struggle is if all of those are taking a year or two years to get up to speed and then chances are I then won’t be here speaking to you. Like I said, I can’t afford for them all to take that time.

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Q: So this new-look squad will take time to gel?

A: I think so, just in terms of getting the message across. Sometimes you feel they’ve got it already, whether it’s in training, whether it’s like the game last Saturday. Some bits I’m thinking ‘yes, that’s it’ and then they kind of go away from that slightly.

To get a team to play exactly as you want, you’re very, very fortunate if it suddenly clicks. It can happen. It probably happened last season (at Shrewsbury) where we went on an unbelievable run at the start.

But here, a level up, against I think probably more clinical opposition, better quality opposition, it might take a bit of time.

But while ever I feel that the players are giving everything, and that includes out on the training pitch, I’m certainly willing to give them a little bit of time – but not too much – to put on performances and take us where I want us to be.

Q: Many are excited by the fact this is new and fresh and exciting. Some have voiced concerned that too much has changed too soon...

A: Maybe it is, but at the same time, if it all goes wrong, and maybe I hadn’t instigated those changes and tried to make them happen, I’d have been kicking myself thinking ‘I’d rather have made those changes’.

I’m a big believer in that, don’t have any regrets at the end of anything. Go with what you feel is right. If it doesn’t quite work out I’ll probably sit at home drown my sorrows and think and evaluate what I could have done differently. I’m hoping that that’s not for a long time.

We’ll see. Time will tell and there’s no guarantees either way, that’s what I would say. Hindsight is always a wonderful thing. But fingers crossed, the players that we’ve brought in, added to what was already here, can be competitive and get some good results for us.

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