Cook on replacing Celina, making changes and updates on Coulson, Aluko and Walton
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Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook won’t be panicked into making wholesale changes when Shrewsbury visit Portman Road this weekend.
The Blues were brought back down to earth at the Wham Stadium last Saturday as a 2-1 defeat to Accrington banished all memory of the 6-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers just a few days earlier.
Cook named an unchanged side for the loss to Stanley but will need to make at least one change for this weekend’s clash with Shrewsbury, with one of Conor Chaplin or Kyle Edwards likely to come in for Bersant Celina. He’s on international duty with Kosovo.
The Town boss won’t be making radical changes to his side, though, insisting managers can’t afford to overreact to one bad result.
“We’ve got really good options,” he said.
“After the disappointing performance at Accrington it’s always hard to make changes because if you leave one or two out, it’s like you’re blaming one or two for a team performance.
“Bersant being on international duty means I have the clear option to change for one and we know the team. The team is already known and we’ll work as hard as we can.
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“The season is long and squad depth is so important. Every time you get an opportunity to go on the pitch you want to produce something, like the lads did at Gillingham on Tuesday night.
“The squad is growing and building so when your opportunity comes you must take it if you want to stake first-team claims. Within that, if you’re playing in the first-team you have to have a certain level of performance if you want to hold your shirt.
“Unfortunately, for a lot of us, we dropped below that at Accrington. That was maybe on the back of three performances we were delighted with.
“So, if you want to make changes, you have to temper that with correct and proper decisions.”
Sone Aluko is available to Cook once again after recovering from illness, while Christian Walton and Hayden Coulson are closing in on returns after hip and thigh problems respectively. Neither will be involved this weekend, though.
“We are where we are with the injuries and the squad will be selected from the lads at Accrington last week and at Gillingham, minus Bersant Celina,” Cook said.
“I would imagine Hayden would start coming into the reckoning from next week.
“He’s progressing really well and hopefully after this weekend we’ll be looking to get him back on the grass and back with the first-team. Fingers crossed.
“He won’t be out long-term now.
“Christian is similar. He’s been out on the grass this week and is progressing really well. He might be available for next weekend.”
On Aluko, who would have started at Gillingham on Tuesday night had he not been taken ill,” Cook said: “He’s back in the squad. He had a little virus for a day or two, which knocked him back. There’s little bit of that around.
“On the back of Covid, everyone thinks that if you have something then it is Covid, but sometimes it’s just a little flu symptom.
“He’s over that now, trained well yesterday and is back in the squad.
“Sone’s been knocking on the door to play. I was really disappointed he didn’t start at Gillingham because I was looking forward to seeing him play.
“He trains really well and is an infectious footballer. Those are the kind of players we like.”
Meanwhile, long-term absentee Jon Nolan has suffered a setback and remains unavailable. He's yet to feature under Cook due to ongoing knee and then calf problems.