'I can guarantee our supporters that the summer of change is going to be exciting' - Cook
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Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook says he can 'guarantee supporters that a summer of change' is going to be exciting, but insists his focus is very much much on the short-term and a League One promotion push.
There were reports, back at the end of February, that the club was 'on the verge' of being taken over by a US consortium, but five weeks on and nothing has transpired on that front.
The Blues announced this morning that the club will be taking a more data and statistics led approach to recruitment going forwards and, when discussing those plans, Cook seemed to suggest that owner Marcus Evans is very much here to stay.
Speaking ahead of crunch Easter weekend matches against relegation-fighting duo Bristol Rovers (home, tomorrow) and Rochdale (away, Monday), the Blues boss repeatedly tried to steer the conversation away from medium to longer-term issues such as player contracts and club structure to the here and now of a promotion push
Town may have won just one of Cook's first six games in charge, but they remain just two points adrift of the play-off places heading into the final 10 games.
“It’s hard for a manager," said the Blues boss. "I’m not doing well at the minute with results. I get it.
“I lie awake screaming and searching for the answers. But I also know what the next tomorrow looks like for us as a club.
“I can guarantee our supporters that the summer is going to be exciting. It’s going to be vibrant. There’s going to be changes at the club that everyone will like.
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“But can we do that as a Championship club? That’s my challenge."
He continued: “The big attraction when I met Marcus was the longer-term approach that we’re looking at.
“It was ‘can we work together?’. Not just with Lee O’Neill’s help, but also with a lot of other people behind the scenes who go unnoticed.
“Good clubs have a lot of good people working at them. Ipswich Town has that.
“Going forwards my job is to help Marcus and Lee in their jobs to help me. Together we can hopefully offer a really bright future for the fans.
“But that future must be in the play-offs this year. If we don’t get in the play-offs I will feel like I have failed this season, I’ve got to say that."
Cook later added: “All I can reiterate to you guys is that when I had my Zoom call with Marcus (Evans), when I spoke to Lee (O’Neill), the plans we’ve got and have spoken about are very, very exciting.
“I think the fans are going to be absolutely delighted.
“But that must remain for the summer and ongoing. We are very much in the present now and I have to concentrate on that."
Speaking a bit more about the club's plans to revamp their approach to recruitment, Cook said: “It’s something I learnt so much about at Wigan Athletic, I really did. Jonathan Jackson, our CEO there, was very forward thinking. I was very... Not negative in thinking, but I wasn’t very pro recruitment rooms.
“Going forward now, recruitment is absolutely huge in football, it really, really is. You’ve got to embrace it.
“As I say, I’ll just sit on the fence if I can on that today.
“What Marcus and Lee are about to propose, the changes that will come in the summer at the training ground and everywhere else, I think our supporters will be delighted.
“But, as I say, I think our supporters will also be more concerned with what’s going on in the next 10 games.
“We’ve got to concentrate on trying to win something."
Asked if he would be at the heart of the recruitment changes, Cook laughed: “I’m involved in them!
“I’ve got to say, I see owners get criticised, but I don’t understand some of the criticism that Marcus has had at this club.
“I just look at the investment he’s put in continually, even through the pandemic.
“The fans are always entitled to their opinion. Without a shadow of a doubt, I get that.
“But I’ve heard so much positivity from Marcus about the club and the plans going forward. I’m actually excited.
“Let’s put it all together in the future. But let’s also get in these play-offs today."
He added: “The big clubs, the best clubs, they function so well. Everything just rolls into one. We’ve got to make sure we put Ipswich Town on that page where the whole club just flows, our supporters know what goes on, everything about is, not an open book, but we’re the best at everything we can be the best at.
"That’s for tomorrow though. A hundred per cent that's for tomorrow.
“Today we have a squad of players who, over a period of time, a lot has been said about them. The new challenge for them now is the next 10 games. Let’s see what can happen.
“When I was at Portsmouth we won League Two and that goes down in history. People will never say that we were top of League Two for 20 minutes. Just 20 minutes! It was the last 20 minutes of the season.
“So there’s a story out there for everyone guys. We’ve got to make sure it can be us."