'It could give everyone a lift' - Cook targets a cup double

Town manager Paul Cook looks on.

- Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook has called upon his team to 'give everyone a lift' with two cup wins this week.

Following an eight-game winless start across all competitions, the new-look Blues got themselves hot on the heels of the promotion pack by claiming 20 points from 10 league games - that run including big wins at Portsmouth (4-0) and Wycombe (4-1).

Some of the feelgood factor has faded in recent weeks though, with Town drawing against Oldham, Colchester and Oxford, losing to Sunderland and Rotherham, and labouring to wins against Oldham (replay) and Crewe.

Cook's men now have a break from league action. Tomorrow night they host Arsenal U21s in the last 32 of the Papa John's Trophy, then on Saturday it's League Two side Barrow at Portman Road in the FA Cup second round.

It's a golden chance to win three successive matches - something that hasn't happened since Cook took charge back in March.

“It’s a big week for us this week with three competitions," admitted Cook, speaking after Sunday's 2-1 home win against rock-bottom Crewe lifted his side back to within seven points of the League One play-off places.

“We want to do well in all competitions.

"It’s something that we suggested to the players, if we could put three wins together this week it would give everyone a lift around Portman Road going into Christmas and post-Christmas.

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"We’ve done one hurdle (Crewe) and we’ve got two big ones to go.”

Next week, Town return to league action with big away games against Charlton (Tues, Dec 7) and Wigan (Sat, Dec 11).

Back in July, when speaking at a Fans' Forum, Cook was asked for his views on the Papa John's Trophy.

He said: “We got to the final when I was at Chesterfield, we lost to Peterborough 3-1 and we went on to go up that year. But we felt it really hindered our promotion push.

"The league is our number one priority, then the FA Cup is very much second on the list. For the Carabao Cup and the Papa John’s Trophy, I think you will see us make changes in those competitions."

Then, in September, his stance changed. Speaking ahead of a group opener against West Ham U21s, the Blues boss said: “Why can't we try and go to Wembley? What a great day out that would be. I know Portsmouth fans and Sunderland fans travelled in great numbers for the final.

“We've got to start winning. The biggest ingredient we're lacking at the minute is that winning mentality. Only winning brings that - and it's something we've got to start doing quickly.”

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