'It'll be out with the old and in with the new' - Cook on summer of change ahead for Ipswich Town

Ipswich Manager Paul Cook during the second half at Charlton Athletic

Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook is set to oversee wholesale changes to the squad this summer. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Paul Cook says big changes are coming at Ipswich Town this summer. Here's what the Blues boss had to say ahead of Saturday's dead rubber at Swindon.

Q: How excited are you about getting Portman Road rocking again next season?

Today we are in a period of pain and you’ve got to go through that period. 

I’m not going to criticise the group of players we have in the building, I won’t be drawn into that, but sport’s about winning and being competitive and giving everything you’ve got to be successful. 

They’re traits that we lack dramatically in our club today. We won’t lack them tomorrow. 

I’ve never seen a team not win second balls and show character to win a game like we did at Portman Road last Saturday. 

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So while it’s great to speak about the future and what will happen tomorrow, I think we’ve got to stay in the painful today. And at the minute it is very painful. 

Flynn Downes with his head in his hands after Town had conceded a first half penalty.

Kane Vincent-Young, Flynn Downes and Luke Woolfenden react following last weekend's 0-0 home draw with AFC Wimbledon. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.c

Q: When are we going to hear about players being released or any contract options being taken up?

A: If I could have done it last Saturday at quarter to five I would have done it. And I’d have done it with no regrets. 

There are processes that you have to go through now and those processes will be done with everything in mind; players' wellbeing, conducting ourselves properly as a club and not on an emotional level. 

My pride is hurt and I want to show everyone how much I’m hurt. 

But that’s gone now. We’re in the realms of 10 days left of the season. The released list will come out, we’ll start signing players and it will a case of ‘out with the old and in with the new’. That’s 100% going to happen at this club. 

Q: Can any players change your opinion over these last three games? 

A: No. All my decisions have been made. I’m tired of listening to feeble excuses about why we don't play well. 

It’s always somebodies' fault. It’s like pass the parcel for blame. Eventually the parcel has to stop with someone and they have to stand up and be counted. 

That first half performance last weekend was one that gets every manager in the country sacked. 

I won’t be a part of that. There’s not a chance I’ll be part of that.  

I’ve watched Plymouth, Bristol Rovers, Lincoln, for a period of the game, MK Dons and latterly Wimbledon all come to Portman Road and dominate the game. 

Coming to Portman Road and dominating football games! Are you messing?! Come on! It’s not going to carry on. 

A smiling Luke Chambers during the warm-up at Northampton Town

Captain Luke Chambers is one of 20 first team players coming to the end of their contracts or loan deals. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix

Q: What do you think the atmosphere inside Portman Road would be right now if fans were allowed in? 

A: I can only say so many miserable things. At the minute, I don’t like us and we’re not very good. 

I don’t know where we finished in the league last season. Was it 10th? Sorry, 11th. So we’ve been relegated, we’ve been 11th in League One and we’re probably now in and around 10th, 11th in League One. 

My record as a manager here is not great. It’s nowhere near good enough. 

But the hope that I carry is that I know what I want, I knew what I wanted in the past, I get people in that I want to get in and I get a calibre and character of player. 

We lack character. A hundred per cent we lack it. But I can only speak so much about negative stuff. 

Q: I’m sure when you came in you had opinions on many of these players from all the footage you’d watched. Have those opinions changed over time? Has it been a case of, week-by-week, the list of ‘keeps’ having dwindled? 

A: That’s a very, very good question. One of the answers I would give you is that I’m actually trying to throw everybody under the bus at the minute in terms of how I feel. 

Within that, I've managed long enough to know that we do have some good players in the building. Of course we do. 

But at the minute, I think we’re all struggling to find them aren’t we? So let’s hope that the winds of change will blow through the building and next year we’ll have a team on the pitch that we can all be very, very proud of. 

James Norwood voices his frustrations after missing a chance against AFC Wimbledon

James Norwood is one of just 12 current first team players who are contracted beyond this season. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix

Q: Even if you released every single player out of contract, some players in this squad will still be here next season. Are you confident, with the way you’re talking at the minute, that those guys will feel refreshed when the reset button is hit and you’ll have their hearts and minds? 

A: Watch this space... Watch this space. 

At the end of the day I’ve never feared anything I’ve done as a football manager. I don’t fear getting beat. I fear not having a team on the pitch that reflects me. At all my previous clubs I’ve always had a team on the pitch that reflects me.  

Going forward, hopefully as soon as I can, I’ll put a team on the pitch that reflects me and it’s one that our new owners, all our fans and everybody in Ipswich will be proud of. 

Today, I’m an Ipswich Town manager that’s hurting. I’m not doing well enough in my own job. And I always look at myself first and what I could do better. 

Then, when I look out at the training ground and when we travel on the team bus, it’s ‘how much do I trust the people behind me?’ At the minute I don’t trust many people behind me.

Q: Let’s end on a positive. A word on the Under-18s please Paul. It would be a tremendous achievement if they were to reach the semi-finals of the Youth Cup (host Sheffield United in the quarter-finals at 5pm tomorrow). 

A: Can we please end on a negative? I’m trying to be as miserable as possible!  

No, look, it’s an absolutely fantastic achievement by them. As I’ve said to the lads, I am so proud of them. I’m so proud of the Under-23s teams who are also winning football games. 

The problem at Ipswich Town Football Club is the first team. The other teams represent us fantastically well.  

I wish the Under-18s well. What an achievement it could be for them. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. We have got so many good young players in the building, so let’s hope they can all have a really bright future.

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