'How many more Accringtons can we afford?' - Cook 'respectful' of ground Town must make up in promotion race

Paul Cook's Ipswich side face Shrewsbury this weekend

Paul Cook's Ipswich side face Shrewsbury this weekend - Credit: Pagepix

Paul Cook knows his side are leaving themselves with increasingly little wriggle room as they look to force their way firmly into the League One promotion race. 

Town currently sit 19th in the third-tier table, with 10 points from their first 10 games of a season which begun with serious automatic promotion aspirations. 

On average over the last 10 season, teams automatically promoted have needed 90 points, while the side in the final play-off place has required an average of 73. 

With 36 games remaining that’s all still possible, of course, but Cook’s men already have serious ground to make up as they prepare for this weekend’s home clash with Shrewsbury. 

Disappointed Ipswich players trudge of the pitch at Accrington Stanley.

Ipswich were beaten at Accrington last weekend - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

“We’re 10 league games in and this is a stage of the season where I feel the table takes some shape,” Cook said. 

“Unfortunately for us we’ve probably left a couple of points out there we should have got. I’m sure a lot of other teams say that. 

“But we’re also respectful of the ground we’ve got to make up. For us it’s about learning every day, working harder and the big learning curve from Accrington (2-1 loss) is that if one team wants to work harder than the other, the reality is you will be in trouble.  

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“There are 46 games in a season and the league table tells no lies after 46 league games. As a club, if you want to be promoted there are points tallies you’ve got to get to. 

“For us it’s about the next game, working hard, learning and being better. They are the factors which contribute to a team and club becoming better. 

“It’s not about being reactive to results in terms of throwing everything you believe in out the window because of one result.” 

That loss at Accrington took the wind out of Ipswich sails, following a three-game unbeaten run which culminated in a 6-0 thumping of Doncaster at Portman Road. 

Conor Chaplin celebrates scoring Ipswich's second during the second half at Gillingham

Town got back to winning ways at Gillingham in the Papa John's Trophy - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Cook knows they can’t afford to have too many comedowns like the one they suffered at the Wham Stadium. 

“After the three-game run the lads had showed us the talent to win football matches was there, then we’ve learnt a harsh lesson on the road at Accrington,” the Town boss said. 

“For us now, how many Accrington’s are you allowed a season? That’s always a big question for a manager. How many disappointing performances can you put in?  

“The biggest thing is turning up and we didn’t do that at Accrington but we have to wait until Cambridge to look at that one again. Before then we’ve got a tough game against Shrewsbury at Portman Road.” 

Town are expected to win when Shrewsbury visit Portman Road, but Cook has seen enough from League One in the past to know sides with promotion aspirations certainly won’t have things all their own way. 

“Everyone wants to get to where they want to be very quickly,” he said. 

“If you look around the league, Doncaster beat MK Dons on Saturday when nobody gave them a chance. Sunderland went to a Portsmouth team who hadn’t won for a long time and lost 4-0.  

“The league is littered with this and it’s the ones who stay mentally strong and keep working at what they’re doing, turning up more often than not, who will get to where they want to be.” 

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