Mike Bacon: 'No excuses now - we have a good manager, and a good squad'

Town players celebrate with James Wilson, after he had headed them level.

Town players celebrate James Wilson's equaliser against Lincoln - Credit: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Well, he's been in the chair a week, so what are you making of Paul Cook?

Well, I like him!

I know he's not Ipswich Town manager to be 'liked'. He's here to do a job. But as an experienced boss who has guided teams to promotion, it's refreshing to sense not only has he got the know-how of management, he's got the humbleness, as well as the charisma, to see things as they are.

Paul Cook after his first game in charge of Ipswich at Gillingham

Paul Cook sure to have a decent rapport with his players - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Yes, we all know, one point from his first two games is hardly earth-shattering. Would I have been surprised if he'd won both?

Yes, I think I would actually.

I'm not sure why the team suddenly went on that three-game winning streak, beating sides above them having struggled to do so for many seasons! Maybe the dynamics in the changing room suddenly changed. Maybe we had a bit of luck - I don't know.

STU WATSON'S 5 observations on Town's draw with Lincoln

The squad Cook has at his disposal - on paper - is a strong one. But if the last few campaigns have proved anything to fans at Portman Road, it's that games are not won on paper. And there-in lies the big task for Cook.

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While he has silverware and promotions to his name, few current Town players know that feeling. Sadly, most have more relegations on their CV.

So, while we don't need to ask Cook to 'step up to the plate', we do need the players to. Because, apart from contracts to be won, there is the professional pride I know they all have, to be fought for. Football is a short career.

Jack Lankester, Andre Dozzell and Teddy Bishop. Town's future? Picture: ARCHANT

Jack Lankester, Andre Dozzell and Teddy Bishop. Recent seasons have been difficult, but Cook will allow them to shine. - Credit: Archant

However, I can assure you I'm not taking a pop at the current Town squad, far from it. In some ways, I have sympathy with them.

Just think for a minute. If at your place of work the person you reported to chopped and changed at a rate of knots. One minute your 'cock of the north', next minute you feel unappreciated. Change all around, customers fed up with your business model and making their views known. Critics everywhere - would you look forward to going into work every day?

COOK on Lincoln draw

That could adequately describe recent history at Portman Road, in my opinion.

The end of the McCarthy era was a horrible spell, Hurst's tenure a disaster and Lambert - well the less said.

It's three years ago next month McCarthy left. As I said the months leading up to that were awful and what has followed hasn't been much better. Quite a few of Town's current squad have been in situ throughout, including many of our younger players.

James Norwood scores Towns second to take them 2-0 up.

James Norwood, one of the few Town players who knows what it takes to win promotion - Credit: Steve Waller www.stephenwa

With all the 'noise' going on around the club, it's hardly been an inspiring football education 

But that's gone now.

Cook is a sparky, chipper character, who has the success on his record to back up his infectious nature.

The players have someone to really work with, to talk to, to bounce off. No excuses from either parties - a good manager - a good squad.

This season is still far from over for Ipswich Town, and the players have it in their own hands to turn the last few seasons of misery, into something special come May. It's up to them.

Substitutes Keanan Bennetts, Alan Judge and Troy Parrott prepare ahead of being introduced.

Players will get their chance under Cook. - Credit: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

As I said, it's been difficult for everyone connected in any way with Ipswich Town Football Club in recent times.

But I think Cook gives us hope. Gives the players hope. Gives the fans hope.

Plymouth on Saturday, a win and we could be in the play-off positions in this awful league, where teams are dropping points all over the place.

It's there, in front of us. Let's hope the team grab it with both hands.

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