Cook on whether Simpson could get his chance as Norwood and Harrop return

James Norwood is back for Ipswich Town but Tyreece Simpson is unlikely to be involved

James Norwood is back for Ipswich Town but Tyreece Simpson is unlikely to be involved - Credit: Pagepix/Ross Halls

Paul Cook will welcome James Norwood and Josh Harrop back into his Ipswich Town side this weekend but is unlikely to turn to teenage striker Tyreece Simpson in his search for a goal. 

The Blues head to Swindon this weekend for what is essentially a dead rubber, given the Wiltshire side have already been relegated and, while mathematically still possible, Town’s chances of making the League One play-offs are as good as gone. 

Cook’s side haven’t scored a goal in more than 10 hours of football, with Norwood’s return from a hamstring issue a positive in that regard, while Harrop is back in contention following his three-game ban following his red card at Wimbledon. 

“James (Norwood) is back, Josh Harrop is back,” he said. “There are lads back in the squad.  

James Norwood gets a hug for scoring during the first half at Portsmouth

James Norwood is Ipswich Town's leading scorer - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

“At the minute it’s not a great place to be the training ground. As you can imagine, there’s so much negativity in the air and around the place.  

“We can’t wait for the season to end now as a football club. The reality is, under me, and I‘m not talking about Paul (Lambert) before me, or Paul (Hurst) before him, we have underachieved drastically in the last 13 games. Drastically.  

“It’s very, very painful at the minute. I’m envious when I look at other clubs in the play-offs. I wonder could I have done better?’ and ‘should I have done better?’ Could I have made any decisions that would have helped the players?  

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“The reality is we’re now in the position that we’re in and it’s something we must face.” 

Josh Harrop consults the fourth official after being sent off for a very late challenge during the g

Josh Harrop is back after suspension - Credit: Pagepix

Cook must choose between Norwood, Oli Hawkins, Kayden Jackson, Aaron Drinan and Freddie Sears for a starting spot this weekend, with Norwood scoring six goals and the other five managing just one each in the league all season. 

One Town striker who has found the net recently is Simpson, who scored an impressive goal as Town’s Under 23s beat Nottingham Forest on Tuesday. 

Asked whether Simpson could get a chance, Cook said: “To be honest, because the first team is so ineffective we look everywhere for help. The reality is our Under-18s are doing terrifically well, our Under-23s are doing terrifically well and the first team aren’t very good.  

“We’ve got to stop looking for younger players who may not be ready to come up and support the first team.  

Tyreece Simpson in a battle with Gillingham skipper Alex MacDonald in the EFL Trophy. Picture: S

Tyreece Simpson has senior experience - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

“Tyreece is doing great by the way, but we’ve got six mainline strikers at the club. The reality for us is that there's got to be an exit door and an in door.   

“You can’t keep chopping and changing and parking problems.  

“Going forwards, our problems will be dealt with before we look for solutions.” 

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