Town boss Cook on Norwood, Skuse and four players yet to feature since his appointment

James Norwood at Accrington Stanley

James Norwood is available again after missing Town's last two games - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Paul Cook is looking forward to James Norwood's return to action after missing Ipswich Town's last two games.

The striker is available once again after missing the Plymouth win with back spasms before then being absent for the loss at Fleetwood due to a morning court appearance on a drink-drive charge. 

“He’s available,” Cook said, ahead of this weekend's game with Portsmouth. 

“When you don’t win games, everyone who wasn’t playing becomes a better player. They haven’t become a better player, we just played poorly and got beat. 

“For me, having James Norwood fit and available is a massive boost not matter what because he’s a player who can lead the line well for us, that’s for sure.” 

Fellow striker Oli Hawkins is also close to a return. 

“He’s just joined in with us yesterday so, with a full week of training next week, I imagine Oli might be back for selection after that.” 

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On midfielder Cole Skuse, who played 80 minutes at Fleetwood on Tuesday night following his return from a knee injury, which had sidelined him all season, Cook said: “Cole’s not played a lot of football for a long time so to play 80 minutes the other night (was tough). 

Cole Skuse under pressure at Fleetwood Town

Cole Skuse started his first game of the season at Fleetwood on Tuesday - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

“We all know how good and experienced a pro Cole is, so it’s just a situation we’re monitoring. The lads got back from Fleetwood at 5am on Wednesday so the lads who played the minutes haven’t been together until this morning. 

“So it’s just about regrouping and getting ready to go again.” 

When asked about Luke Matheson, Emyr Huws, Luke Thomas and Mark McGuinness, who haven’t featured under Cook, the Town boss hinted decisions regarding some of the players' futures might be close: “I think the club might have one or two announcements on one or two. 

“With the Mark McGuinnesses and them, they’re certainly in the squad to travel with us. If you take out the Fleetwood result and performance, we just looked like we were getting going before that. 

Ipswich Town midfielder Emyr Huws. Photo: Steve Waller

Emyr Huws has yet to feature under Paul Cook - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

“I’m not a great believer in chopping and changing and I think lads deserve that extra chance. My style is to give everyone the opportunity to do what they think is right. I’m sure my team won’t be chopped and changed tomorrow. 

“If we can’t keep doing well then we’ll see other changes I’m sure.” 

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