Cook responds to Robinson's 'they'll be cautious' claim

Oxford boss Karl Robinson takes on Paul Cook and Ipswich tomorrow

Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook (insert) goes head-to-head with Oxford United counterpart Karl Robinson at Portman Road tomorrow. Photos: PA/Archant - Credit: PA/Archant

A grin broke out across Paul Cook's face as he was read Karl Robinson's thoughts ahead of the two managers going head-to-head tomorrow.

A crowd of more than 20,000 is expected at Portman Road as Ipswich Town take on Oxford United in a crunch League One fixture.

The Blues have climbed to ninth in the table after claiming 20 points from their last 10 games. Oxford, looking for a third successive top-six finish, are three places higher having won five of their last six in the league..

“It won’t be as open as maybe we foresee, they’ll be a little bit cautious as they’ll know on the turnover we’ll be very good," said Robinson, speaking to the Oxford Mail.

“No comment!" was an amused Cook's response to that. 

“I’ve got the utmost respect for Karl Robinson," he added, of his fellow Liverpudlian.  "I’ve known him a very long time and he brings his side here tomorrow in a very good place. They’re a good side, have got really good players and a good style.  

“We’re in for a very, very difficult afternoon... but so are Oxford.”  

The Blues boss continued: “We’re looking forward to a really good game. It’s one of the fixtures I look forward to because you know you are going to get two teams on a football pitch trying to win a game. That normally means you’ll get a great game. 

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“I’ve got the utmost respect for Karl and I’ve got the utmost respect for Oxford. You only have to watch them to realise how well coached they are and how they believe in what they’re doing. They’re a really good side. 

“In my opinion, they are definitely one of the better sides in the division. I think anyone who comes across Oxford will be tested at times, without a shadow of a doubt. They are very, very good in possession of the ball. 

“It’s going to be a good game. We have to respect the opposition, but we also have to impose ourselves on the game. 

“I think this will be a really good benchmark to see where we are at this time.

"We’re 16 league games into a campaign with a new team. We're playing catch-up, but we're getting better.

“We walk into an Oxford team tomorrow that has been together for a number of years and have a manager that’s very, very good. They’ve got a style of play and identity. That’s something we’re searching to get towards. There’s only games and time that can bring that."

Robinson was equally complimentary of Cook and Ipswich. He said: “Everyone knows the quality of staff that they’ve got and the players they have, you can see the flow of what they’re trying to do.

“This is the best team we’ll probably have faced at their place.

“It won’t be as open as maybe we foresee, they’ll be a little bit cautious as they’ll know on the turnover we’ll be very good.

“They’ll also know our ball retention will be very good, and we know they’re exceptional, they truly are.

“I’m so looking forward to this game, more than most in some ways."

He added: “People talk about (Ipswich) changing managers and really heavily investing in recruitment – we’ve done it.

“We’re going to Ipswich, who have been at the top of our industry, and we’re seen as we should be going there and getting a positive result.

"Ipswich see us as a big challenge. I can guarantee this week Paul Cook will have been saying this is one of the hardest games of the season.

“This is a remarkable place we find ourselves in.”

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