Why Cook isn't planning to 'play the kids' over final four games
- Credit: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook says it's unlikely that he'll be using the last four games of the season to look at youth team players.
The Blues' campaign looks to be over following Tuesday night's 3-0 defeat at Northampton Town. A side that is approaching nine hours without scoring a goal finds themselves five points adrift of the play-off places with just four games to go.
Cook has said he will perform 'major surgery' on a squad that has 20 first team players coming to the end of their contracts or loan spells.
Asked if he might 'play the kids' between now and then - starting with this afternoon's visit of AFC Wimbledon to Portman Road (3pm) - the Blues boss replied: “I don’t think so. One thing I don’t mind saying is that some of the young lads have been elevated a bit too quickly here.
“The reason they have been elevated a bit too quick is because the first team is not very good. That’s the truth. You can read into that what you want.
“To play for Ipswich Town first team is an honour, it’s a privilege.
“Young lads here have been stepped up, in my opinion, too quickly.
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“Ipswich Town should have young kids breaking into the first team. Our academy now is in the quarter-final of the FA Youth Cup. Ipswich Town has produced academy players for years and years.
“But blending them in at the correct time is the right thing to do. Blending them in at the wrong time is a twofold problem – one, it’s like you’re trying to show to the fans that it’s right; and two, you might be telling the players they are ahead of their pathway.
“So will the younger kids get a chance? I wouldn’t say they will. But I wouldn’t rule out one or two of them getting a chance either, by the way."
Midfielder Tristan Nydam returned from a long-term injury to produce a bright cameo in the 0-0 home draw against MK Dons earlier this month, but he hasn't featured in three subsequent squads since then.
“Tristan’s cameo was based on the fact that he has the heart, desire and hunger that a lot of people at this football club don’t have," said Cook.
"I’ve watched him in two Under-23s games. When pain comes, he bites it to his bottom lip and drives on.
“That’s a characteristic that I love in players.
“For Tristan it’s been a long road back. That was a reward for how hard he’s working.
“Going forward, it’s a long road for a lot of people because talent is not enough."