'It's a blow' - Lambert reveals Skuse suffers knee injury in training
PUBLISHED: 15:15 06 December 2018 | UPDATED: 17:51 06 December 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town midfielder Cole Skuse potentially faces months on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury in training.
The 32-year-old has played some of his best football for a long time since Paul Lambert’s arrival as manager and has been one of the few experienced members of a struggling team largely made up of youngsters and players recruited from the lower leagues.
Lambert says he doesn’t yet know how long Skuse will be sidelined yet, but rumour has it he may be out for months rather than weeks.
“Cole has obviously picked up the injury, he’s hurt his knee, and we’ll have to wait and see what comes back from that. He’s struggling for tomorrow,” said Lambert, whose team, seven points adrift at the foot of the Championship table, travel to Stoke on Saturday.
“It’s a blow because he’s playing ever so well for us. He’s been brilliant. As I said before, his range of passing has been at the really, really high standard that I look for.
“Hopefully it’s not too long. I’ll find out later today probably.”
England U19 duo Trevoh Chalobah and Flynn Downes played as the central duo in front of holding midfielder Skuse for Lambert’s first four games in charge. They were replaced by 22-year-old Teddy Bishop (just fit again after almost a year out) and 18-year-old Jack Lankester (making his full debut) in last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest.
Other midfield options are Andre Dozzell, who recently had a year out with a knee injury, as well as summer signing Jon Nolan, who has been very much on the fringes since Lambert took charge.
Long-term absentees Emyr Huws and Tom Adeyemi are on the recovery trail but won’t be ready to make their comebacks any time soon, while Tayo Edun is back at Fulham after suffering an eye injury.
“We’re really young in there,” said Lambert. “We have to get a little bit more experience to give them a helping hand. If Cole’s out then it gives somebody else and opportunity, but it is a blow.
“We left out certain lads last weekend, none of whom have played much Championship football, and the lads who came in for them it was equally so. That’s the strength of it.
“Young players do give you something that experienced players don’t. We have to get the best out of them.
“One thing’s for sure, they’ll certainly give it a go. I love working them; they are young, enthusiastic guys.”
Asked if the young players can step up, the Blues boss replied: “They have to. There’s no ifs or buts, they have to.
“They are learning their trade in a really difficult league. If you bring in an 18 or a 19 year old they should be getting a little bit more help than they’re getting because we’re inexperienced all over the pitch.
“When you lose your more experienced ones, that’s why it’s a blow.”
He added: “There are not too many players here who play like Skuse – they are all offensive players. We have to look to see who can fill that role.
“As I said before, whoever comes in, I have absolutely now worry about whatsoever.”
Winger Gwion Edwards sat out last weekend’s game with a sore ankle, but is available for the game at Stoke.