'No excuse for Ipswich Town not to take the cup competitions seriously' – Mathie
PUBLISHED: 15:15 15 June 2018
Former Ipswich Town striker Alex Mathie hopes to see new boss Paul Hurst take knockout football seriously this coming season.
The Blues were handed a long trip to League Two side Exeter City in this morning’s Carabao Cup first round draw.
It’s a competition they have exited early to lower league opposition in five of the last seven campaigns.
And when it comes to the FA Cup, Town are winless in 13 matches stretching back to 2010.
Former Blues boss Mick McCarthy regularly made wholesale changes for cup ties and Mathie hopes to see that trend change.
The Scottish striker, who helped Town reach the League Cup quarter-finals on two occasions in the 90s, said: “It was the Coca-Cola Cup back then. I remember we beat Man United in the third round having beaten Man City in the league in the previous game – I scored in both.
“I think those runs (Town lost to eventual winners Leicester in 96/97 and Chelsea in 97/98) really helped inject some feelgood factor and provide some momentum. Cup football can do that.
“It’s a shame clubs don’t take cup football as seriously these days. You should give your fans the hope of days against the big boys. It’s not unheard of for Championship clubs to get all the way to Wembley.
“You need the luck of the draw, but if you field your best side then you give yourself a much better chance.
“I look back on how much the Ipswich fans enjoyed that semi-final first leg win against Arsenal back in 2011 and how much they enjoyed the night out at Old Trafford a few years ago.
“If you are going to finish mid-table – and I think Ipswich are probably looking at that, realistically, if the budget is going to stay the same – then why not give the cups a real good go? There’s no excuse not to. It can change the way fans feel about things.”
On the appointment of Hurst from League One side Shrewsbury Town, Mathie said: “It’s refreshing that the club has given someone up-and-coming like him an opportunity.
“What he’s said about a high press and positive style of play is encouraging. Hopefully he can get a few of them less frightened to express themselves.”