Sunday Snap: A surreal experience, Dyer's role and another kit crime
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Ipswich Town drew 0-0 with Wigan Athletic this weekend. Andy Warren looks at the events surrounding the game.
It was clearly a surreal day for both Paul Cook and Leam Richardson as their sides played out a 0-0 draw.
For so long the pair have gone to war together, standing side by side, dating back nearly a decade and including spells together at Accrington, Chesterfield, Portsmouth and then Wigan. Both men clearly have an emotional connection to their old clubs and also to each other.
Cook was going up against his trusted assistant and facing the team he helped build before seeing it cruelly crumble under the weight of administration, while Richardson has been charged with keeping the side both men care so much for from suffering a second relegation. Plus, there’s a very real chance he eventually joins up with Cook once again at Portman Road this summer.
So, all in all, it was always likely to be a strange old day for the pair, even if it was played out in an empty stadium.
They shared a big smile and a joke as they met on the touchline for the first time, with Cook a little more subdued than we’ve become used to during the game as he spent much of the contest at the back of the dugout.
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Richardson, giving off some ‘Paul Hurst vibes’ with his gilet and folded-arms stance, was on the edge of his technical area throughout the game, with the pair not interacting on too many occasions during the 90 minutes.
Both men were complimentary to the other after the game, with Richardson’s post-match quotes interesting indeed.
"In a way it wasn't a nice situation to be in opposition to him today, because we both knew how important the points are to Wigan Athletic at the moment," he said.
"We both know how important it is we stay up, and how hard the group's worked to give themselves a chance of doing so.
"At the same time you always like to see your mate doing well, so maybe a 0-0 draw was the right result on the day."
Whether the two are reunited in just a few weeks remains to be seen. I know where my pound would go.
There was a familiar face on the Ipswich Town bench this weekend in the form of Kieron Dyer.
The former midfielder is currently the Blues’ Under 23s manager but has taken on an enhanced role since Cook’s arrival, clearly earning the new manager’s trust to the extent he’s now being taken on away trips and is regularly on the scene in training.
Dyer, a highly-rated coach who has worked hard to expand his knowledge in recent years, spent much of his day working alongside new first-team coach Gary Roberts, assisting during the warm-up and offering his opinion during the game.
“We’re here to help each other,” Cook said of Dyer. “Kieron’s an exceptionally good coach, he’s a really gifted coach, his career is there for everyone to see.
“If his experience can help any of our young lads as a role model, why shouldn’t he be in and around our squad and team at the minute?
“Everyone at the club can learn, I’m still learning every day. The reality of football is that we want to help each other to learn so we can get better so we can deliver success for Ipswich Town.”
Dyer’s next game sees him take an Under 23s side to Charlton on Monday, with plenty of senior involvement expected.
Nice to see you
Will Keane was clearly a popular member of the Ipswich Town squad during his 18 months in Suffolk.
The striker, twice signed by Paul Lambert, was embraced by every member of the Town side and by staff who worked with him following the game while there were a few smiles during it, too.
On the pitch he was the same Will Keane we saw plenty of during his stay with the Blues, showing some decent touches and link-up play without necessarily offering a sustained goal threat.
His hold up play was good, he had one shot superbly blocked by Toto Nsiala and spent the entire game causing trouble for Tomas Holy, as the goalkeeper was given no time or space to kick from the floor as he would have liked to.
He’s scored five goals in 25 games for the Latics.
Sitting in the stands was Ipswich midfielder Jon Nolan, who has been out with a knee injury of late.
Sadly, though, he won’t be back any time soon, with his ligament problem keeping him out for the rest of the season.
“No, I’d love to say yes,” Cook said, when, rather hopefully, asked if Nolan was making a quicker-than-expected recovery. “Jon won’t play again this season, it was a really tough knock that he got.
“He lives up in Liverpool, it was a chance for him to go and see his family and travel with the players and put a little smile on his face.”
The Town boss has spoken highly of Nolan during his time at the club so far and, with the former Shrew under contract next season, he’s likely to be part of Cook’s thinking following his summer rebuild.
Watching on from the DW Stadium stands was a man who masterminded a victory over Town just 10 days ago, in Fleetwood boss Simon Grayson.
He was joined by assistant David Dunn on a weekend when his Cod Army weren’t in action, due to opponents Burton having three international call-ups.
Fleetwood, who beat Ipswich 2-0 last week, are the visitors to Portman Road on the final day of the season but have already played Wigan twice.
Also watching on was former Shrewsbury manager Sam Ricketts, sacked at the start of this year, who is currently looking for a new club. He took detailed notes throughout.
Sort it out
Whoever decided Wigan should have black numbers on the back of their blue and white-striped shirts needs a stern talking to. Impossible to read from any kind of distance, especially numbers using two digits.
Striped shirts should be forced to include a solid colour panel on the back so crimes like this can’t happen again.