Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook has told his squad that they must prove they are good enough to play for the club, or they will eventually be replaced.
Cook saw his side beaten 2-1 by Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Saturday afternoon, meaning Ipswich have now lost three and won just one of their five games since Cook’s appointment.
That run has left them ninth in the League One table, two points adrift of the play-off places, and it seems Cook believes that things with have to improve soon, if there is not to be a considerable overhaul of personnel at Portman Road.
Speaking after that defeat to Pompey, Cook was quoted by TWTD as saying: “It’s my job at the minute to find out about the players and the character of the players.
“Like I just said to them in there, we’re a club of great structure and we’ve all got to make sure, myself included, that we’re good enough to be here because if we’re not good enough to be here, the reality is someone will take our place one day.”
One bone of contention for Cook appears to be the way that Portsmouth were able to equalise from a corner, when Tom Naylor headed home Ronan Curtis’ set-piece, after James Norwood had put the Tractor Boys ahead.
It seems that Cook is now determined to avoid a repeat of that scenario, as he went on to add: “With the greatest respect to coaching and managing, it’s not really that hard to defend, is it?
“You’ve got to be aggressive, you’ve got to want to defend, but unfortunately at the minute we’re just in that little position as a group of people that we’re always waiting for someone else to be the one to do it.
“That won’t be us going forward. We’ll make sure we have men and character in the team, something that’s just a little bit lacking at the minute.”
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Next up for Ipswich is a trip to The DW Stadium on Saturday afternoon, when Cook returns to another of his former clubs as his side take on Wigan Athletic.
You can certainly understand the point that Cook is making here.
For all the hope and expectation that surrounded them earlier in the season, Ipswich have not been good enough on a number of occasions so far this season.
Indeed, even the appointment of Cook hasn’t brought about the upturn in form you felt it might, so it does make sense for him to suggest that the pressure is on for all concerned at Portman Road.
However, Cook has proven before that he is capable of lifting teams from difficult positions, and the play-off are not out of reach for Ipswich just yet, so it wouldn’t be right to suggest that this season is a write off for them them already.