'The door will always be ajar' - Cook on 'drastic action' and a possible way back for demoted players

Kayden Jackson and Teddy Bishop are both training with Ipswich Town's Under 23s

Kayden Jackson and Teddy Bishop are both training with Ipswich Town's Under 23s - Credit: Archant

Paul Cook insists the door is not completely closed on the senior players demoted to Ipswich Town’s Under 23s this summer. 

Flynn Downes, Kayden Jackson, Teddy Bishop and Myles Kenlock have all begun pre-season training away from Cook’s first-team squad, while youngster Armando Dobra has quickly made the jump back into the manager’s group after initially being slated to work with the club’s young players. 

The move comes during a summer where Cook has torn up the majority of the Ipswich side, with only James Norwood, Kane Vincent-Young, Toto Nsiala, Jon Nolan, Luke Woolfenden, Janoi Donacien and Tomas Holy remaining and beginning work alongside this summer’s recruits. Corrie Ndaba and Idris El Mizouni are also with the first-team, having been out on loan last season, along with a handful of younger players. 

But despite the split in the camp, Cook has insisted there is still a way back for those not currently working with the first-team, even though they were previously told they could find new clubs.  

Paul Cook has had his players back at Playford Road this week

Paul Cook is completely rebuilding the Ipswich Town squad following last season's ninth-place finish in League One. Photo: ITFC - Credit: ITFC

“For us the integration is huge and the team spirit and togetherness within the group can only be enhanced with time,” Cook said. “We’ll give them that bit of time. 

“Our recruitment drive hasn’t stopped yet and we’re still very, very active, which our supporters will be delighted to know. 

“What I must add is the door is never shut on a player. I must add that. We took drastic action at the end of the year and a lot of thought, sleepless nights, disappointment, personal pride and personal pain. And also the bigger picture of the football club. 

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“Any lads here, wherever they may be training, the door will always be ajar because if you have the right habits, desire and ambition then you can take a step forward.” 

Discussing the ‘drastic action’ taken at the club this summer, which has seen 20 first-teamers exit and six arrive, with plenty more to come, Cook said: “I think there’s been a lot of change over the summer in the club and naturally the supporters would have been very concerned by the drastic actions taken at the end of the year. 

“We’re in the process now of possibly putting a new team together and that’s a slow process. We want to bring quality into the football club. 

“I’m absolutely delighted (with the business so far). For a club in a difficult positions, 10th 8th or whatever it is in League One, there is going to be unhappiness all around the club. 

“The supporters want to know we are going through every detail in our recruitment. To make a good football team you need a good blend of experience, youth, energy, legs, ability, talent and goals. Goals being the operative word. 

“With the help of Mark Ashton (CEO) and the board we’ve had many meetings and we’re all aligned to the plan ahead. 

“Ipswich Town has a very good future. It has strong owners who want what’s best for the football club and who have appointed Mark, who they trust well, and he wants the best for the club. The staff has changed and it’s aligned to the requirements to take the club forward.” 


IN (6): Wes Burns (Fleetwood, undisc), Lee Evans (Wigan, free), Rekeem Harper (West Brom, undisc), Macauley Bonne (QPR, loan), Vaclav Hladky (Salford City, undisc), Matt Penney (Sheff Weds, free).

OUT (14): Andre Dozzell (QPR, £1m), Luke Chambers (Colchester, free), Gwion Edwards (Wigan, free), Cole Skuse (Colchester, free), James Wilson (Plymouth, free), David Cornell (contract terminated), Freddie Sears (Colchester, free), Alan Judge (Colchester, free), Oli Hawkins (Mansfield, undisc), Jack Lankester (Cambridge Utd, undisc), Aaron Drinan (Leyton Orient, undisc), Stephen Ward, Emyr Huws, Tristan Nydam (all released). 

LOANS EXPIRED (6): Mark McGuinness, Luke Matheson, Josh Harrop, Keanan Bennetts, Luke Thomas, Troy Parrott.