It has undoubtedly been a very tough start to the season for Paul Cook and a major test of his credentials in first full campaign as manager of Ipswich Town.
The backing that Cook got in the summer transfer window from Ipswich’s ambitious new owners was enviable to say the least for a club at League One level.
Throughout the summer window, Cook was able to add a lot of quality players to his squad as he slowly started to reshape the dynamic of the dressing room at Portman Road.
There were a lot of players brought into the club who were convinced to move down to League One, despite potentially having been able to be playing at a higher level.
With that backing though comes a real weight of expectation and at the start of the campaign, many people were tipping Ipswich to be right up there challenging for automatic promotion.
However, things have not so far seemed to be heading that way for Ipswich with them managing to win just two of their opening nine league matches.
Although they did take a major step in the right direction with their 6-0 win against Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday.
With all of that in mind, we take a look at THREE trends we are noticing about Cook at Ipswich so far this season…
Cook is keeping consistent with his messaging amid the highs and lows
Throughout the first two months of the season, Cook has been a manager who has remained consistent with his message to the media that the Tractor Boys are a work in progress.
While he has also been keen to insist that it is going to take time for them to develop relationships on the field.
However, Cook has also been honest in admitting when Ipswich have not been good enough in certain matches and fallen short of the levels that they should be reaching.
Following Ipswich’s 6-0 thrashing of Doncaster on Tuesday night, Cook could have been forgiven for getting a little bit carried away amid the relief of that performance.
That is because for the first time this term he watched his side deliver the sort of display that was expected of them this season.
Cook though was keen to stress that the win against Doncaster was just one victory.
While he also stressed that Ipswich are going to have to keep producing that level of display in coming games or that win will be meaningless.
Quiz: Have Ipswich Town ever been involved in these 18 scenarios?
Cook is not afraid to ring the changes in search of right Ipswich formula
The major trend that has been obvious about Ipswich at the start of the season under Cook has been the consistent changes that he has been making to his starting line-up in search of his best starting line-up.
Considering the number of changes that Ipswich made to their squad during the summer, it is no surprise that Cook is taking some time to assess all of his available and figure out which players complement each other in the best way.
There have been a handful of players that have already established themselves as crucial members of the starting line-up.
Those include the likes of Macauley Bonne, Wes Burns, Ryan Fraser, Cameron Burgess and Lee Evans, with them being a core of players that have started in most games.
However, even after Ipswich’s draw with Sheffield Wednesday last weekend, Cook made two changes to the starting line-up for the visit of Doncaster.
That saw both Evans and Sam Morsy return to the starting XI and those changes proved to be the right decisions.
Cook seems to be closer to finding his best starting line-up at the moment and the team that started against Doncaster might be the one to stick with for a run now.
Having said that, if things do not work out well for Ipswich over the next few games on the field then Cook has already shown he is willing to make changes to fix it.
Cook has settled on Bonne to be Ipswich’s talisman
Another trend that we have noticed at Cook’s Ipswich in the first two months of the campaign is that he has now decided that out of the attacking options he has brought into the club, Bonne is the one that is going to be Ipswich’s talisman upfront this term.
Bonne had to be patient at the start of the campaign and Cook did give chances to Joe Pigott to start for the Tractor Boys and make an impact for them with his qualities.
However, Ipswich have performed better with Bonne leading the line and his connection with the Ipswich supporters has made him a popular player already this term.
The forward has managed to fire home seven goals in his opening eight league appearances for Ipswich. If he can continue on that sort of form for the rest of the campaign then he will be able to reach between 15 and 20 goals comfortably.