Cook on Town's 'men in black' and who does the defensive coaching

Paul Cook speaks to Ipswich Town supporters at Monday night's Fans' Forum. 

Paul Cook speaks to Ipswich Town supporters at Monday night's Fans' Forum. - Credit: NA

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook has revealed the specific roles his first team coaches have in training.

Around 120 Blues fans were given the chance to quiz Cook, co-owner Ed Schwartz, chief executive Mark Ashton and chairman Michael O'Leary at a Fans' Forum at Portman Road on Monday night.

One supporter asked Cook if he could explain who the 'stream of men in black who emerge from the dugout area at half-time' were, referring to recently beefed up backroom staff numbers.

"I'm hopefully in the dressing room talking to the players so I haven't got a clue!" quipped Cook.

He continued: "We have a performance department which is very, very important and who have a massive role to play. We have a sports science department headed by Andy Costin. Jon Ashton is in charge of the lads warming up and making sure they are doing the right things. There is so much that goes into a match day now.

"We get live data during a game to see which lads are fatiguing and what substitutions you might have to make. It's important to keep the lads who are not on the pitch at that time topped up and ready to come on.

Town manager Paul Cook looks on.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook alongside coaches Francis Jeffers and Gary Roberts. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

"It's huge now, in football, the amount of data, the amount of analysis. We've got Will (Stephenson), our analyst, who's up in the stands. We get pictures back right away of what we can do better in the second half. 

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"Football is a big operation nowadays and everyone plays their part on a Saturday."

Asked if he had specific coaches for defending, Cook - whose team have leaked 25 goals in 16 league games so far - joked 'obviously not!' before continuing: "In all seriousness, Francis Jeffers does all the defensive set-pieces, Gary Roberts does all the attacking set-pieces and I do all the team play. Everything's on me with the team play.

"One of the things I've found is that we can defend, we just have lapses in concentration. We've defended in games really, really well. We don't come under great pressure in a lot of games. We have quite a lot of control in most games. What we've got to make sure we do is make sure we pay full attention for 94/95 minutes or whatever it is.

"Nowadays in football every team knows literally everything that the opposition will do. Once we take the pitch against Oxford on Saturday we'll know exactly their formation, we'll have studied how they play, their key players. All our players get all the clips of their opposing player.

"Last Saturday, for example, Christian Walton will have seen clips of Oldham's penalty taker. That's how much detail goes into football now."

Peter Reid with Paul Cook and Francis Jeffers on the Fratton Park pitch before kick-off at Portsmout

Paul Cook (right) with coach Francis Jeffers (left) and advisor Peter Reid (centre). - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ashton added: "We've invested in the team, but, as I said right from day one, we've also invested in infrastructure. 

"Physically, tactically and technically we have to develop the players. That's not just the first team, that's also the emerging talent group and the academy.

"The army, if you like, of people in black you mentioned all have specific roles, whether that's sports science, medical, strength and conditioning, analysis... We've invested in those areas because we believe over the medium to long-term that will benefit the club, benefit the players and play a major part in the success.

"That's probably an element of the investment that people probably don't realise we've made."

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