Hurst on injuries, keeper coach and Shrewsbury speculation
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town’s players started pre-season training under Paul Hurst yesterday. Stuart Watson spoke to the new Blues boss ahead of his first session.
“It’s great to finally be working with the players and get my messages across,” said Hurst. “There are important things to say to get off on the right footing. There are clear guidelines about how I want to work and what I expect from the players. I think we are all looking forward to it.
“Building relationships is key. If I want players to run through brick walls for me and this football club then I’ve got to show them I’m worth doing that for.”
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Long-term absentees Andre Dozzell, Tom Adeyemi and Joe Garner all took part in training yesterday, but Emyr Huws, Teddy Bishop, Dean Gerken and Danny Rowe missed out as they continued rehab from surgeries.
“There are still one or two lads working inside with (physio) Matt (Byard),” said Hurst.
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“It’s a little frustrating, for them and for me, but that’s part and parcel of football.
“We’ll be working to get them up to speed as soon as possible. Hopefully we can get them back out during pre-season and give themselves a chance of being involved in that first game.
“The ones who are starting out on the grass today have got an advantage on the ones who unfortunately can’t start training yet though.”
He continued: “With regards the likes of Andre and Tom, without mollycoddling them we just need to be a bit careful and monitor them closely.
“The pre-season we want to put in place will be difficult. Everyone will say that as a manager, but we know ours is. So we have to be conscious of not losing too many players.
“We’ve got to just ease our way into it slightly. I’m sure the lads won’t feel like it’s that way though!”
Hurst has brought assistant Chris Doig with him from Shrewsbury and appointed fitness coach Nathan Winder from Leeds United.
Asked if he was looking to replace retired goalkeeping coach Malcolm Webster, he said: “I said before that Darren (Smith) will get a crack at the whip. He’d been working with the first team alongside Malcolm (Webster) so I am happy to have a look and see how he is with them.
“I’ve been told he’s very good. I’ve got to see that with my own eyes, not that I am a goalkeeping coach, but I know how I like to see people working. “That’s something that we’ll monitor. At this moment in time there is no thought to be replacing him or getting him to step back from his position.”
Hurst has already revealed he is looking to sign two wingers. Asked if he might bring Mustapha Carayol back to the club, following his end-of-season release, he said: “No, there’s been no conversations regarding him. In all honesty I have got my own targets in mind. He fits the bill in a lot of ways, and never say never, but we’re just looking to freshen things up.”
The new Blues boss has inevitably been linked to players from his former club Shrewsbury Town – notably attacking midfielder Jon Nolan and centre-back Toto Nsiala.
Asked if there was anything in that speculation, he said: “Not really, no. I think those players will be closely guarded, shall we say. Whether anything happens for those lads, we’ll see.
“Clearly there are some good players that I have left behind there. They had an excellent season and will be looking to repeat that.”
SETTLING INTO SUFFOLK
“I came down for a couple of days last week,” said Hurst.
“After the England game we went for some food and I was trying to hurry my wife along. Unfortunately I got stopped by one fan who had some pleasure in singing my name!
“I’ll take it as a compliment because it was nice things and we all know that could change!
“I’m not one to search out the attention, but if I’m greeted by some nice words I’ll stop and have a conversation.”
BART AND JONAS
With Bartosz Bialkowski and Jonas Knudsen both away at the World Cup with Poland and Denmark respectively, Hurst said: “I’ve had some texts with them. I did speak to Bart the other day. Unfortunately for him he’ll be returning sooner than he would have hoped, but that’s good news for me from a selfish point of view.
“Denmark look like they have good chance of progressing though. We’ll see when we can get them back in and part of the group.”