'It's 100% an opportunity for players' - Cook on Trophy game at Gillingham
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Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook says tonight's Papa John's Trophy game at Gillingham provides an opportunity for players to force their way into his league team.
The Blues boss, unsurprisingly, stuck with the same side following a 6-0 midweek home thrashing of Doncaster, but they followed that up with what he described as 'an absolutely shocking' display in Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Accrington Stanley.
It means that the likes of Kane Vincent-Young, Luke Woolfenden, Toto Nsiala, Rekeem Harper, Idris El Mizouni, Sone Aluko, Conor Chaplin, Kyle Edwards, Louie Barry, Kayden Jackson and James Norwood should all be champing at the bit to impress at Priestfield Stadium this evening (7pm ko) ahead of Saturday's League One visit of Shrewsbury.
"We'll make changes," said Cook.
"We've got an opportunity to give a lot of lads games that they really need. It will be a strong Ipswich team looking to win the game.
"If we'd had a good result everyone would have been bouncing into the Gillingham game. Unfortunately, we go into it off the back of a disappointing result, where we haven't played well and where we haven't competed and done the bread and butter side of football.
"On the flip side of that, this is now 100% an opportunity for other players to get themselves in my plans for next weekend.
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"When you look at the side we put out you'll expect us to be very competitive in the game. We've seen with the West Ham (U21s) result how difficult the games can be, it's going to be a team that's never played together, but you'd still expect them to have enough quality. We'll see what happens."
Cook says that Christian Walton (hip), Tom Carroll (hip), Hayden Coulson (groin), Jon Nolan (calf) and Joe Pigott (virus) are unlikely to be available tonight, while Bersant Celina is away on international duty with Kosovo. The absence of homegrown duo Albie Armin and Cameron Humphreys from the U23s yesterday suggests they will be involved.
A win for Town would leave all four teams level on three points in Group A heading into the final round of fixtures, with the Blues hosting Colchester United on Tuesday, November 9.
TOWN'S TEAM AT ACCRINGTON: Hladky; Donacien, Edmundson, Burgess, Penney; Morsy, Evans; Burns, Celina, Fraser; Bonne.
UNAVAILABLE TONIGHT: Walton (hip), Coulson (groin), Carroll (hip), Nolan (calf), Celina (international), Pigott (virus).
U23s TEAM AT SWANSEA YESTERDAY: White, Agbaje, Baggott, Clements, Crane, Alexander, Healy, Curtis, Chirewa, Yengi, Morris.
OTHER OPTIONS: Holy, Vincent-Young, Nsiala, Woolfenden, Kenlock, Armin, Harper, El Mizouni, Humphreys, Siziba, Chaplin, Edwards, Barry, Norwood, Jackson.