'It's something we have to get away from - Cook plays down impact of Norwood and Downes' absence

Paul Lambert has given an injury update on Flynn Downes and James Norwood. Picture: Steve Waller

Flynn Downes and James Norwood both missed Town's loss at Fleetwood on Tuesday night - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Paul Cook has insisted Ipswich Town can’t bemoan the absence of key duo Flynn Downes and James Norwood and that his side have more than enough talent to win games without them. 

Both players missed Tuesday night’s 2-0 loss at Fleetwood, Downes being ruled out for between four and six weeks with a hamstring injury and Norwood suffering from back spasms prior to a court appearance on the morning of the game, ruling him out of contention at Highbury Stadium. 

Downes is the Blues’ best all-round midfielder and Norwood is the most potent goal threat in a side which has struggled for goals this season, but Cook believes his side should be able to cope without the pair. 

"We didn't miss them on Saturday when we won (1-0 at home to Plymouth) did we?” Cook said.  

Flynn Downes receiving attention, ahead of going off with an injury.

Flynn Downes went off with a hamstring injury at the weekend. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Steve Waller www.stephenwa

“Flynn went off and James wasn't there, but you always miss players when you lose. 

"This is something that we've got to get away from. The minute you lose a game now the players that haven't played become better players. That's not right. The lads who started tonight had earned that right.  

“Cole Skuse came in, who is an excellent player and has been an outstanding servant to the club. And because we have a disappointing night we can't just say people who weren't here should have been here and should have been playing. 

"The team that was picked (at Fleetwood) was comfortably good enough to win the game for Ipswich Town." 

James Norwood leaving Ipswich Magistrates Court on March 16th, 2021. Picture: Archant

James Norwood leaving Ipswich Magistrates Court on March 16th, 2021. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

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Cook made four substitutions in each of his first two games in charge of the Blues before making use of his full five in games three or four, with the new Town boss looking to find out as much as possible about his players’ character. 

"At Gillingham, no different to Fleetwood, I could have made four or five substitutions at half-time," he said.  

"But within trying to get promoted I'm also trying to find out about the character of the players. That can be tough for a manager, because while you want to help them and make changes, sometimes it's only in adversity that you find out about people. 

Town manager Paul Cook with instructions to his players.

Paul Cook has played down the impact of James Norwood and Flynn Downes' absence on Ipswich Town - Credit: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

"We go through adversity one week and pleasure the next and that's not fair on the supporters. That's not fair on everyone." 

Defeat at Fleetwood saw Town drop to seventh in the League One table, heading into Saturday’s clash with Portsmouth at Fratton Park.