'A lad who wasn't in the 18 will be involved' - Cook to make changes for Lincoln clash

Alan Judge pictured against Doncaster Rovers.

Alan Judge has indicated he would like to quickly get back on the football pitch following the loss of his his mother. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook says there will be changes to the team for tomorrow night's visit of Lincoln City.

For his first game in charge, the new Blues boss made just one enforced change to a side that had won three straight matches.

However, following a disappointing 3-1 loss at Gillingham, the Liverpudlian is prepared to shuffle the pack. 

The bench at Priestfield contained David Cornell, Stephen Ward, Luke Woolfenden, Gwion Edwards, Flynn Downes, Freddie Sears and Kayden Jackson, while the likes of Alan Judge, Jack Lankester, Mark McGuinness, Aaron Drinan, Luke Thomas, Luke Matheson, Emyr Huws and Armando Dobra were out of the 18.   

Judge, who has been one of the team's best performers in 2021, was absent due to the fact his mother had sadly lost her battle with cancer. 

On the Irishman, Cook said: “Obviously it’s a really difficult time for any person to go through. Alan’s making signs that he wants to come back immediately and wants to be involved. We’re just telling him we’re supporting him whatever he wishes to do.

“Alan, I imagine, would want to start tomorrow night. Obviously today will be a very difficult day for him, so we’ll see how he is after everything settles down."

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He continued: “We’ve come through Saturday with no adverse reactions. Physically, we’re okay. Mentally, we’re okay as we are physical. 

"As you’ll see tomorrow night, the team will change. A lad will be involved that probably wasn’t even in the 18 on Saturday 

“That’s why, as a manager, you want the players to work hard on the training ground and be fit and ready to take their chance when the opportunity comes. 

Luke Matheson in action against Blackpool.

Luke Matheson hasn't been in the Ipswich Town squad for the last three games. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller www.ste

“For us as a club now it’s a big opportunity going forwards. We’ve got 15 games to go and so much to play for. 

“The optimism and the energy at the training ground must try and be transmitted onto the pitch. We didn’t see that Saturday and that was the disappointing thing for us."

Cook spoke on Saturday about the squad, which contains 29 'first team' players, being too big.

“As you guys know, post game for managers is not a good time," he said. "I speak so much nonsense after a game! I listen back and think ‘why did you say that?’ Because you have to make excuses as to why you’ve been beat. 

“The brutal truth is, going back to pre-seasons, clubs need a clear pathway. Having squads of our size, for whatever reason it’s been put together, the numbers are too many. It’s something we’ll address as we go forwards."

Kane Vincent-Young and Jon Nolan are sidelined, but now Oli Hawkins, Cole Skuse and Tristan Nydam are nearing returns.

On Hawkins, who underwent knee surgery at the end of January, Cook said: “He’s just about ready and just about getting there. 

“Again, that’s one of the problems with our squad. Does that help or does it add to the confusion? 

“It’s the truth isn’t it? It’s not a criticism. Sometimes, when you sit down on a Monday after a defeat, you can have too options. 

“You can end up adding to the problem rather than helping the problem. 

“Tomorrow night we’re going to be based on certain criteria in the team and we’re all be off the same page. 

“Going forward, we’re delighted that Oli will be back fit because he’s an experienced player who’s got a pedigree and who can help us on the pitch."

On Nydam and Skuse, who have both been long-term absentees, he said: “Tristan had a little bit of set back on Thursday that will put him back a week with training. 

“Cole’s doing very well at the minute. He’s had some very vigorous training sessions and gets closer and closer."