Backroom continuity is key, says assistant caretaker boss Hogg
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Chris Hogg believes that behind-the-scenes continuity is key for Ipswich Town moving forwards.
Hogg, 33, and fellow young coach Gerard Nash, 31, have been temporarily promoted from their roles overseeing the Under-23s to assist caretaker boss Bryan Klug – the club’s academy supremo – with the first team until the end of the season.
Owner Marcus Evans was full of praise for the Playford Road backroom team in his first on-camera interview this week and stressed that the next manager he appoints will ‘work with the club’s existing support teams’.
Assistant boss Terry Connor is the only staff member to follow manager Mick McCarthy out of the exit door so far, while director of football Dave Bowman – essentially the chief scout – may well follow at a later date.
“I think continuity is key in whatever business or whatever walk of life you’re in,” said Hogg.
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“You see a lot of chopping and changing at football clubs and I’d like to think we’ve got relatively good consistency with staff here.
“Obviously, people do leave, people will leave in the future, but we’ve got a lot of faces round here that have been here for five, 10, 15, 20 years at the football club behind the scenes so it just helps create that stable environment.”
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Hogg says he and his colleagues will be there to provide guidance to the new manager once he comes in, although hasn’t been sounded out for his thoughts by owner Marcus Evans during the search.
“When they arrive we’re all be open and pretty honest with our opinions,” said Nash. “I’m sure they’ll get a fair assessment of what is good at the football club and areas of improvement.”
Town have lost their first two games under Klug, Nash and Hogg – 2-1 at Nottingham Forest and 4-0 at home to Aston Villa. Today they face a Reading side who still need a point to guarantee safety.
“We haven’t done anything drastically different,” said Hogg. “You can’t reinvent the wheel, it’s only been two weeks. There’s been little tweaks here and there so hopefully you should be able to see one or two things coming out in the games.
“First and foremost you need to stay in games, scrap it out, fight it out, and that’s something the group has done pretty well all season. But then it’s whether we can we just add that extra little bit of quality, patience and care in the final third.”
Manager: Paul Clements (March ‘18: P6 W2 D1 L3)
Last five finishes: 3rd, 17th, 19th, 7th (all Championship), 19th (Premier League)
Average league attendance: 16,610
Last game: L 3-0 Sheff Weds (a)
Form: LDLWL WLLDD
Most league starts: Gunter, Moore (44)
Top league scorers: Barrow (10), Bodvarsson (7), Kelly (5)
Most assists: Edwards, Barrow, Aluko (4)
Margins of victory: 1 (x4), 2 (x6), 3+ (x2)
Margins of defeat: 1 (x10), 2 (x10), 3+ (x3)
• Town have lost their last six games at Reading and haven’t won there since 2009
4 – Red cards in the last six games for Reading
4 – Points from the last eight games for Town – the worst form in the Championship
Ipswich Town team news
– Luke Hyam (knock) and Cole Skuse (illness) have both missed some training this week, but are expected to be passed fit.
– Grant Ward starts a three-game ban for his straight red card in last weekend’s 4-0 home defeat to Aston Villa.
– As a result, teenage right-back Luke Woolfenden has been recalled from a loan spell at play-off chasing National League club Bromley – and has thus been denied the chance to play at Wembley in the FA Trophy Final next month.
The 19-year-old impressed for Town in Carabao Cup games at Luton and Crystal Palace last August.
– Dean Gerken, Luke Chambers, Adam Webster, Dominic Iorfa, Emyr Huws, Tom Adeyemi, Teddy Bishop, Andre Dozzell, David McGoldrick and Joe Garner all remain injured.
Reading team news
– The Royals are short of left-back options. Jordan Obita has been sidelined with a knee injury since October, while Tyler Blackett and Leandro Bacuna are both suspended. Fit-again centre-back Tommy Elphick could fill in there, or youth product Omar Richards may get the nod.
– Paul McShane (groin) has been out since January, while Jospeh Mendes has recently returned to training.
Ipswich Town 2 Reading 0
Date: Saturday, December 16, 2017
First-half goals from Callum Connolly and (3) Joe Garner (28) saw the Blues move up to eighth in the table.
Reading had 73% of possession, but Town were incisive and clinical in attack to chalk up what was a seventh home win in 11.
Key opposition man
The ex-Swansea man is the sole bright spark in a pretty toothless Reading side at present. The left-winger is skilful, direct and has 10 goals to his name this season.
Ipswich Town 7/2
Keith Stroud (Hampshire)
Games: 31, Yellows: 132, Reds: 7
Reading 1 Ipswich Town 0
Royals scrapping for lives and won’t want it to come down to next weekend’s finale at Cardiff. Town are injury-hit and in limbo.