Cook on 'winner' Walton's arrival, Hladky's 'tough introduction' and 'absolutely outstanding' Holy
- Credit: ITFC/PA/ARCHANT
Paul Cook believes Christian Walton brings ‘a winning mentality’ to the Ipswich Town squad, but insisted the new signing is not a nailed-on starter between the sticks.
Walton was part of Cook’s Wigan side which won League One in 2017/18 before retaining a place in the Championship the following season, with the Blues pouncing late in the transfer window to sign him on loan from Brighton.
He’s likely to make his debut when Bolton Wanderers visit this weekend, coming into the side in place of fellow summer signing Vaclav Hladky.
“With Christian, we took an opportunity to bring in a goalkeeper I’ve worked with previously at Wigan,” Cook said. “I know him inside out.
“We were promoted at Wigan and he went on to play for Blackburn in the Championship.
“He’s had promotions, has been successful and brings that winning mentality to the group, which is something we’ve probably lacked in the early games. You need a winning mentality and leadership qualities on a football field.”
Discussing the goalkeeping unit, which sees Walton, Hladky and Tomas Holy working with new coach John Keeley, Cook insisted he sees a real competition for a starting spot in an important area of the pitch.
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“I love the competition for places and, without saying I never will, I don’t really change winning teams,” he said. “If we’re winning, you keep it.
“If you have a strict No.1, No.2 and No.3 then you’re categorising people and I don’t believe in that.
“We have competition for places all over the pitch.”
Hladky’s start to life at Ipswich has not been entirely smooth, while Walton’s arrival means either the signing from Salford or fellow Czech Tomas Holy won’t make the bench on matchdays.
“The goalkeeping situation has seen Vac (Hladky) come in and Tomas be in a situation where he could possibly have left,” Cook said.
“But he hasn’t and he’s been terrific, absolutely outstanding, and has trained every day like it was the last. His appetite for the game is there.
“Vac has probably had a little bit of a tough introduction but again he’s an outstanding goalkeeper who proved how good he is last year at Salford.”