Cook on Dartford win, Covid in the camp, injury update and 'great' atmosphere as fans return

Town fans at Dartford

Town fans contributed to a great atmosphere at Dartford - Credit: Pagepix

Paul Cook was pleased with the way his side kicked off pre-season as the Ipswich Town boss took charge of his first game in front of the club’s supporters. 

Tawanda Chirewa’s goal was the difference as the Blues won 1-0 at Dartford, on an afternoon where Cook’s senior players were given the opening 45 minutes before a team of youngster played the second and ultimately secured the win. 

A noisy crowd of 1,600 fans, more than half of whom from Ipswich, ensured the game was played out in front of an excellent atmosphere, with Cook delighted to finally lead a side in front of supporters following a season of behind-closed-doors football.  

Mixed message: Manager Paul Cook wearing the captainÕs armband before the pre-season friendly at Dar

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook pictured before the 1-0 friendly win at Dartford. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix

"It's just great,” Cook said. “The atmosphere was great. 

"Football is about fans travelling, having a few beers and watching your team plays, the excitement of winning and travelling home when you've lost. 

"It was great for the young lads to acknowledge the Ipswich fans at the end and that was a great moment for them.” 

On the game itself, Cook said: "I really enjoyed it from start to finish. 

Macauley Bonne hits the crossbar with this first half effort during the pre-season friendly at Dartf

Macauley Bonne hits the crossbar with this first half effort during the pre-season friendly at Dartford - Credit: Pagepix

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"The first-team lads played 45 minutes and then we were very, very young in the second half. I was pleased for the young lads to come on, win the game and then see it out to win 1-0. 

"For the first-team players I'd expect them to play well, expect them to grow and be better, so I was quite pleased with them to a point. It's always difficult with your first 45 minutes. 

"But we will get stronger and better as the pre-season goes on.” 

Town’s young second half side was a result of Covid cases in the Ipswich Under 23 squad, which meant a large number of players were unable to be involved this afternoon. 

James Norwood collides with the keeper with this first half effort during the pre-season friendly at

James Norwood collides with the keeper with this first half effort during the pre-season friendly at Dartford - Credit: Pagepix


"We have to adhere to things properly but it has cost us a lot of players,” Cook said “All of a sudden we were asking youth team players to go out and play against a good Dartford team.” 

Also missing were Kane Vincent-Young and Jon Nolan who weren’t risked due to injury concerns, with the latter dealing with a calf injury and Vincent-Young having had shoulder surgery prior to the end of last season.  

"Kane and Jon were absent with injuries,” Cook said. 

"Kane is very much precautionary and Jon is coming back from a calf, so they should be back soon. 

"I'm not a manager who wants to play injured players. I like strength in the team and to do that we need to train very hard and turn up knowing our jobs. 

"Injured lads only get injured again. It's been a trait of the club with players coming back (and then going out injured again)." 

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