‘Would you get the best out of him if we said suck it up and play? – Taylor on Downes transfer saga

Flynn Downes in the stands for Ipswich Town's League One opener against Wigan. Photo: Steve Waller

Flynn Downes was dropped after handing in a transfer request earlier this season. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town assistant boss Stuart Taylor says the coaching staff are ‘really trying’ to reintegrate wantaway star Flynn Downes back into the team, but doesn’t yet know whether the midfielder wants to play in tomorrow night’s Carabao Cup clash with Fulham.

Downes handed in a transfer request a fortnight ago after Ipswich turned down a second bid for him from Premier League club Crystal Palace.

The 21-year-old was subsequently dropped from the Carabao Cup season opener against Bristol Rovers after reportedly telling manager Paul Lambert that ‘he wasn’t in the right frame of mind’ to play and since then hasn’t featured in the matchday 18 for games against Arsenal U21s (EFL Trophy) and Wigan (League One).

Asked if Downes was ready to play, if selected, for tomorrow night’s match against Fulham at Portman Road, Taylor replied: “As I said to you last Tuesday (after the game against Arsenal U21s), that’s an answer for Flynn to give. He’ll be back in training with the lads today and I’m quite sure there will be a conversation with him to see how he is.”

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Taylor was then pressed further on the issue. Fans are wondering if they are going to see Downes play before the transfer window shuts on October 16. Does he expect the player to make himself available before then, or will the midfielder be kept in the shadows up to that point?

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“We won’t keep anybody in the shadows,” he replied. “He’s a professional and I’m sure he’ll deal with it in a professional way. There was a lot going on in his head and I think there’s been a lot of pressure put on him from other avenues, not from us.

“I’m quite sure Flynn at some point will inform everybody as to what’s going on. Listen, it was good to see him back in training again with a lot fresher mindset off the back of the gaffer giving him three days off. We’ll just see what today brings.”

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It was then put to Taylor that Downes is the club’s asset and could be told simply to suck it up and play until Palace come up with an acceptable offer.

“Would you get the best out of someone if you said ‘suck it up and get on with it’?” he replied.

But the end game here, surely, is that the club keeps hold of Downes and can reintegrate him into the team? Asked if he felt we could get to that point, Taylor said: “That’s what we’re trying to do. That’s what we’re really trying to do. We’ve got the best interests of the football club, which we have to take care of, and we’ve got the best interests of the player, which we have to take care of. It’s about marrying both of those together.

“That’s something we’ve always tried to do since we’ve been here. Do what’s right for the football club and do what’s right for the players. In this situation it’s no different.

“This is something we need to be very careful with. As a management team we need to know where we are with it.”

MORE: Kieron Dyer: Tricky times for Flynn and the Blues – but for all parties, he needs to play

Taylor was then asked if Downes was actually refusing to play.

“I think that’s a discussion between the manager and Flynn which I don’t think I should be saying anything about at this moment in time,” he said. “That’s something for Flynn, the manager and the club to speak about.”

Asked if Palace had come back with any further bids, Taylor said: “I’m not aware of anything, but that’s a negotiations thing. You know yourself if you go to buy a car you don’t act that interested in it, put in a low offer and see what happens. Above the water you are all calm, but below the water you’re paddling like anything!

“They might come back with triple, quadruple the money, whatever it is, or they might not. Nobody knows. That’s football.

“We can’t get involved in anything because it then just becomes talk. We’re just dealing with facts at this moment in time and trying to deal with the situation as best as possible.”

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