Why Cook's quickly changed his approach to the Papa John's Trophy
- Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller
Ipswich Town's poor start to the season has seen manager Paul Cook change his approach to the Papa John's Trophy.
Following a seven-game winless start - including Saturday's 5-2 home humbling at the hands of Bolton - the Blues boss says he will name a 'strong' team for tomorrow night's Group A opener against West Ham's Under-21s at Portman Road (7.45pm ko).
Speaking at a fans' forum back in late July, Cook insisted: "There’s nothing else on our radar other than promotion. The league is our number one priority, FA Cup number two, Carabao Cup and then Papa John’s Trophy. I think you will see us make changes in those latter competitions.
"We got to the final when I was at Chesterfield. It was a great day at Wembley for me, but we lost (3-1 to Peterborough) and, although we went up, I actually felt the postponements probably hindered our promotion push."
Cook made 10 changes to his team for the 1-0 home loss to League Two side Newport County in the Carabao Cup, playing Under-23s players like Bailey Clements and Cameron Humphreys. However, his increasing desire to get that morale-boosting first victory has now seen tonight's game in a traditionally lesser valued competition take on greater importance.
Speaking last week, Cook said: "We'll have a strong team out on Tuesday night - 100%. It won't be a kids team.
“Why can't we try and go to Wembley? What a great day out that would be. I know Portsmouth fans and Sunderland fans travelled in great numbers for the final.
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“We've got to start winning. The biggest ingredient we're lacking at the minute is that winning mentality. Only winning brings that - and it's something we've got to start doing quickly.”
Deadline day signing Sam Morsy will make his debut tomorrow night (the remainder of his two-game suspension has to be served in the league).
Whether weekend debutants Christian Walton and George Edmundson are given another run-out remains to be seen. Conor Chaplin and Sone Aluko could be candidates to receive more minutes too, while the likes of Luke Woolfenden, Matt Penney, Tom Carroll, Idris El Mizouni, Louie Barry, Joe Pigott and Kayden Jackson are all options to freshen things up.
Speaking after Saturday's heavy defeat, Cook reiterated: "We need to get that win to get everyone up and running.
"We have a plan (for tonight's game). Whether that's a good plan or a bad plan remains to be seen. The team's already been picked and it's a very strong team.
"Winning is a really important habit to get into, so this is a really important game."
IPSWICH TOWN'S PAPA JOHN'S TROPHY FIXTURES
Tomorrow: West Ham U21s (H) 7.45pm
Tues, Oct 5: Gillingham (A) 7pm
Tues, Nov 9: Colchester (H) 7.45pm
ITFC'S RECORD IN THE EFL TROPHY
2019/20: Lost 2-1 at Exeter in round three. Had finished second in the group after home wins against Tottenham U21s (2-1) and Gillingham (4-0), plus a 1-0 loss at Colchester. Then won on penalties at Peterborough in round two after a 1-1 draw. .
2020/21: Finished bottom of the group after a home defeat to Arsenal U21s (2-1), home win against Gillingham (2-0) and defeat at Crawley (2-0).