He took up a watching brief in midweek last week when Ipswich Town took on his former club Accrington Stanley, but Paul Cook was finally in the dugout as the Tractor Boys travelled to Gillingham at the weekend.
It was an unhappy start for the ex-Wigan boss though as he saw his side go down 3-1 to Steve Evans’ men and then had to see Stanley leapfrog them in the table in the race for the League One play offs.
All is not lost though as Ipswich sit just two points outside the top six, and their battle starts again tonight as they welcome third-place Lincoln City to Portman Road.
Cook has confirmed he will be making alterations to the line-up for the visit of Michael Appleton’s high-flyers, but who will be withdrawn? Let’s take a look at the dilemmas Cook is facing ahead of kick off…
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Time to bring Flynn back into the fold?
For the last five games, Ipswich’s midfield pairing has been the partnership of Andre Dozzell and Teddy Bishop, but that could change tonight.
Neither player covered themselves in glory on Saturday, with Dozzell criticised especially by fans for his performance.
And it could be the right opportunity to bring Flynn Downes back into the starting line-up, perhaps alongside Bishop.
Downes missed three months of the season due to a knee injury but returned in January, however he’s only made substitute appearances following his red card against Northampton last month.
Now is probably the right time to give the 22-year-old a start though – his physicality and energy will be much-needed against a young Lincoln side.
A complete shuffling of the attack?
The Tractor Boys’ four four consisted of Keanan Bennetts, Josh Harrop and Troy Parrott behind the lone striker of James Norwood against Gillingham, but it’s entirely feasible that all four could be dropped to the bench tonight.
Ipswich’s bench contained Gwion Edwards, Freddie Sears and Kayden Jackson – all of whom could fill the wing spots and the striker slot – and then Alan Judge could perhaps return in the number 10 role.
That all depends on whether or not he is mentally ready to be back – Cook confirmed he wasn’t selected at the weekend due to his mother passing away but did say that Judge was the kind of character who will be chomping at the bit to be selected against Lincoln.
The foursome that started against Gillingham were widely ineffective and it spoke volumes that Harrop, Bennetts and Parrott were all withdrawn in that match – none of their places for tonight are safe.