'We're excited... I'm sure he is too' - Aluko on incoming Town boss McKenna

Sone Aluko is excited to start work under new Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna

Sone Aluko is excited to start work under new Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna - Credit: Stephen Waller

Sone Aluko is excited to get to work under new Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna. 

The Northern Irishman, who was prised away from his role coaching Manchester United’s first-team to take over from Paul Cook, was watching from the stands as the Blues drew 1-1 with Sunderland yesterday. 

McKenna takes charge of Town from tomorrow but quickly introduced himself to the Ipswich players prior to kick-off against the Black Cats, with Aluko and the rest of the Town squad looking forward to getting started. 

“He came in for a couple of minutes and introduced himself, so we’re all looking forward to working for him going forward,” Aluko said of his new boss. 

New Town manager Kieran McKenna looks on from the directors box.

Kieran McKenna takes control of Ipswich Town on Monday - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

“It’s always helpful to have a manager and a plan going forward. John (McGreal, interim manager) has been fantastic and really helped the team, giving us a bit of confidence. Credit to John. He came in at a tough time when we weren’t in great form and he’s tried to galvanise us. He’s been fantastic for us and I can’t say anything but good things about him. 

“But a club always needs that long-term plan. 

“He (McKenna) is a young coach but has real experience. He finished his (playing) career early (at 22 due to a hip injury) so has been coaching for a while and has worked with the best of the best. I’m sure tactically and information-wise he can give us a lot to learn from. 

Most Read

“He needs to see what we can do. That starts from Monday. He will come in and everyone will get a fresh slate. He’ll look on it with new eyes. 

“We’ll learn a lot from him and he’ll learn a lot about us. Hopefully it gels quickly. We’re excited. 

“I’m sure he is too because he’s taking over a good squad, a big squad and a big club.” 

The Blues put in a good display in front of their new boss, playing with energy, drive and invention. But Aluko insisted the players needed to show themselves what they are capable of following a tough few weeks, as well as the incoming manager. 

Sunderland's Ross Stewart is tackled by Ipswich Town's Sone Aluko during the Sky Bet League One matc

Sone Aluko, pictured in action against Sunderland - Credit: PA

“We had to show ourselves that as well for personal pride,” he said. “In the last few games we’ve not been anywhere near good enough for the quality we have in the dressing room.  

“First of all it was for us, between ourselves saying ‘come on, let’s get ourselves together’. We’ve been saying that for a few weeks so it’s high time we give better performances and results. 

“I said in the huddle before the game that if we can’t do it today, then we maybe shouldn’t be playing football. 

“Everything was there for us. 30,000 fans, big opponents, our owners and a new manager in the stands. They’re the games you want to play in and if you can’t do it then you might as well pack it in. 

“We needed a reaction after our last few performances and we started really well, dominating most of the first half and getting our goal. 

“We had a bad five minutes when they scored their goal so that was disappointing and makes it feel a bit like two points dropped again." 

McKenna takes charge with Ipswich 11th in the League One table, 10 points off the play-offs having played at least one game more than all-but-one of the 10 sides above them. 

Sone Aluko on the ball against Sunderland.

Sone Aluko on the ball against Sunderland. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Aluko is confident there is still life in Town’s season, though. 

“Of course there is,” he said. 

“It’s going to be alive to the very end and we will keep pushing. We had nearly 30,000 supporters in the stadium and we need to give them something to shout about. 

“They have been fantastic since I joined the club. I can’t think of a game where they haven’t been a real help. 

“I’m sure it will carry on like that and it’s up to us to give them something to shout about, cheer and celebrate. 

“We have to work hard every day – that's what playing for a club like Ipswich is about. We’ll do that to the very end.” 

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter