Familiar words as Paul Cook refuses to get carried away by Ipswich knocking Portsmouth out of play-off places

Paul Cook refused to get too excited as his Ipswich side replaced Pompey in the League One play-off positions.

By Mark McMahon
Sunday, 14th March 2021, 12:30 pm
New Ipswich boss Paul Cook.  Picture: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images
New Ipswich boss Paul Cook. Picture: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Indeed, a mantra which the Fratton faithful are all too familiar with was rolled out after the Tractor Boys’ 1-0 win against Plymouth: ‘Just keep going’.

The victory was Cook’s maiden triumph in the Portman Road hot seat and came at the third time of trying after a defeat and a draw against Gillingham and Lincoln respectively.

Nevertheless, it was a win that saw Ipswich move above the Blues into sixth spot and two points above Kenny Jackett’s side in the standings.

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The two go head-to-head at PO4 on Saturday in what many believe will be a key game in the hunt for a top-six finish.

Prior to that, Cook takes his side to Fleetwood on Tuesday night.

And as he builds up to an important week, the former Pompey boss stressed there was still room for improvement.

He told the East Anglian Daily Times when asked about Ipswich’s sixth-placed position: ‘I just keep going. Football is great now because if you drop out it's "you're not going up” and if you get in it's “you're going up”.

‘The reality is none of us have got a clue. So I'll just stick to the “none of us have got a clue!”. If we keep winning we'll be alright.

‘It's tough. The schedule is so demanding. Like most teams, we're probably getting by on the quality of our players.

‘We started really well (against Plymouth) and I was very pleased.

‘Our shape looked good and we had more penetration going forwards.

‘Probably for about 25/30 minutes I thought we were really good.

‘The game was petering out towards half-time, though, and I felt Plymouth took control of the game second half if I'm truthful.

‘Great credit to Plymouth. We know Ryan (Lowe) is a very good coach and manager. Their shape caused us problems second half and we had to dig in and see it out.’

On-loan Spurs youngster Troy Parrott scored the only goal of the game after four minutes, with the hosts unable to add to their advantage.

Cook said his side’s failure to score a second concerned him.

And just like Jackett, he admitted it’s a confidence thing that needs to be addressed.

He added: ‘It (the second goal) was never coming was it?!

‘I was saying that on the bench. We could be here all night and not scored.

‘Everyone knows what goals do in games. At certain levels, confidence for players is huge.

‘If we'd have got the second goal you'd have seen us grow into the game. Unfortunately, if Plymouth had got it you've have probably seen us wilt away. That's a character building exercise for us all.’

While Ipswich made the most of Pompey’s Papa John’s Trophy final appearance against Salford on Saturday, the same couldn’t be said for Charlton, Oxford or Accrington.

All three had the chance to leapfrog the Blues in the table – but Charlton could only 1-1 draw with Shrewsbury, Oxford lost 2-0 at Hull, while Accrington went down 3-2 at MK Dons.

Third-placed Lincoln also endued a tough day as they lost 2-1 at home to Rochdale.

Meanwhile, fifth-placed Doncaster could only draw 0-0 with Northampton at the Keepmoat.

Pompey (52 points) are now seventh in the table – two points adrift of Ipswich and 10 points behind second-placed Peterborough, who they face on Tuesday.

Hull are top of the table on 68 points.