Paul Cook will ring the changes for the visit of perennial giant killers Newport County in the League Cup this evening, the Ipswich Town manager told the East Anglian Daily Times this morning.
The Tractor Boys got off to a stuttering start to the League One season, needing a second half additional time equaliser to rescue a point at home to relegation favourites Morecambe on matchday one.
Cook’s men who have been extremely busy in the transfer market this summer are focusing far more on gaining promotion than any cup exerts.
Cook said: “I think if you look at the league campaigns now, we’re going to go into a 46-game campaign. So, from a manager’s point of view, this year we want to be promoted. There’s nothing else on our radar other than promotion.
“That’s top of the list. The FA Cup then is very much second in the list. Historically it’s a great competition to be in.”
The former Portsmouth and Wigan Athletic gaffer is a seasoned professional in a Football League dugout nowadays and does not want any distractions away from a push for automatic promotion. Cook is transfixed on ensuring Ipswich make their long awaited return to the second tier.
He continued: “If you look at the Newport game, for example, we will have a very strong team out against Newport, but it mightn’t be the strongest team.
“The reality is the league is unbelievably the number one priority, FA Cup number two, Carabao Cup and then Papa John’s Trophy.”
With the backing he has received in the transfer market there are simply no excuses for Cook not to achieve automatic promotion with the Tractor Boys this season. The new ownership and transfer policy has brought a wave of optimism and expectation around Portman Road, Cook has to deliver or his position will come under threat.
Cook is taking no chances, it is a very strong League One field this season and he feels in order to come out on top his best course of action is to rest all crucial players in cup competitions. This is a fairly common approach and we may see some odd scorelines in the first round of the League Cup this week, with clubs of higher statures opting to prioritise their domestic efforts.
Having said that Ipswich have the depth of quality in their squad to compete on more than one front, but Michael Flynn’s plucky Newport County will refuse to lie down.