Fleetwood Town boss: Judge Ipswich Town counterpart at the end of the season

Simon Grayson isn’t taking notice of the pressure his opposite number has come under as Fleetwood Town meet Ipswich Town this afternoon.

Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 8:00 am

After a squad overhaul at Portman Road over the summer, Paul Cook’s players were billed as promotion favourites in League One.

The season didn’t begin well with no victories in their first eight games across all competitions.

The next eight, however, have brought five wins and two draws, the most recent being the 4-0 victory at Portsmouth in midweek, lifting them into 13th place.

Simon Grayson has had his say on the pressure levelled at Paul Cook earlier this season Picture: Sam Fielding/PRiME Media Images Limited

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Grayson said: “There’s still a long way to go. Just because they’ve had a difficult start – and they’re progressing up the league now – doesn’t mean their season is one that they can’t achieve what they set out to in pre-season.

“Cooky will know that. That’s why they’ve reiterated to the supporters, the players and the owner that they’ve still got an opportunity to achieve things – rightly so.

“You know that when you go to Portman Road, you have to be at it from the start if you are to get a good result.

“He (Cook) has probably been under more pressure a couple of weeks ago than he is now, given that they’ve had a few decent results recently.

“It comes with being a manager at a club that are promotion favourites and not where they want to be at this stage of the season.

“Ultimately people should judge Paul Cook at the end of the season on where Ipswich Town finish.”

Town’s start to 2021/22 saw them lose Brad Halliday and Darnell Johnson for the season.

They are down on numbers in general as, due to a loan from the EFL, the club had its squad size limited to 22.

The head coach doesn’t feel that is an issue and, instead, sees the streamlined squad as a benefit.

He said: “We have been down to the bare bones but that is only in terms of experienced players.

“We have some really talented U23 players playing for their national teams.

“Sometimes, bringing in experienced players and filling that 25-man squad can be more of a hindrance than a help.

“When everyone is fit you might have five or six players sat in the stands. If they are a 29-year-old with 300 or 400 games under their belt, they’re not easy to deal with.

“The U23s are happier to be around it, and if they’re good enough, they will get their chance regardless of what age they are.”

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