Hurst Does Not Want Help From More Experienced Coach

Sunday, October 21, 07.00

Paul Hurst insisted he does not need a director of football type figure to help him get Ipswich Town through this difficult period.

Bottom of the Championship Ipswich were beaten 2-0 at home by QPR with both goals coming in the first half.

With just one win all season, 3-2 at Swansea, speculation is rife owner Marcus Evans could consider bringing in an experienced head to support Hurst, with a number of names being bandied about.

George Burley, who took Town back to the Prmeier League in 2000 via a Wembley play-off final, followed by two seasons in the UEFA Cup before they were relegated, is still a regular at Portman Road and lives in the area.

Harry Redknapp, a friend and golfing partner of Evans, has been spotted at the ground, but has been confirmed as going on the next; I’m a Celebrity… Get me out of here…

Although not exactly a rookie manager, this is the first season Hurst has managed at Championship level but dismissed the idea owner Marcus Evans could bring in a more experienced manager support him.

“If it was an experienced manager sat here or upstairs, does he suddenly stop the mistakes happening?” asked Hurst in response. “I think if he did then it would be coincidence, rather than anything else.

“No, I personally don’t really see any reason to do that. I can’t see that happening. 

“I find the level thing not to be what this is about, that’s my personal view, although accept other people have opinions.” 

The former Shrewsbury, Rotherham and Grimsby boss took responsibility for Town’s plight but despite their position and poor run of results Hurst doesn’t believe he is about to be sacked.

Hurst said:: “No, I think we’re kind of past that stage and I know what I’m doing and the effort (being put in).

“We’re working with a group of players that we have to try and get the best out of. Are we managing to do that? Clearly at the minute, no.

“We’re in this together. I’ll take my responsibility but the players have to take theirs as well and a lot of those, if they’re honest, will say they can do better than what they’re doing at the minute. 

“That’s part and parcel of football. You’re reliant as a manager and when things are going well, the lads are playing well. When things are going badly, they’re not playing well.

“It’s trying to give them that confidence and that kick up the backside to do better, because we certainly need to.”

But the determined Yorkshireman admitted he and the players were fortunate to be going through such a rough patch at an understanding and patient Portman Road, despite the boos at half time and the final whistle.

He added: “I’ve heard it a couple of times but nothing that players shouldn’t be able to handle.

“That was mentioned in the dressing room downstairs there that ultimately the lads who have been around a little bit know this crowd is far from the worst they could have in terms of adding pressure and being really disgruntled.

“They show that they are but show it in a certain way, not like where they do at some places. So if they can’t play here then I think they will struggle pretty much anywhere.

“They are willing the team to do well and the players to do well.”

Town go to Leeds on Wednesday, and then face another away trip to Millwall on Saturday.

Bartosz Bialkowski is expected to be recalled after Dean Gerken failed to deal with a corner that went straight in from Luke Freeman and was beaten by a Tomer Hemed penalty conceded by Toto Nsiala.

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Tribute To The Beat

The warm outpouring of love and respect for Kevin Beattie described as the best Ipswich player ever, came in abundance at Portman Road tonight. 

Former teammates including George Burley, Mick Mills, Allan Hunter, Terry Butcher, John Wark, Bran Talbot and Russell Osman were there to show their respects - laying down a number six shirt.

Some of family man Beattie's family led out the team and the minute's applause before the match and in the sixth minute of the game was heartfelt and fulsome.

Beattie's spirit was clearly present as Kayden Jackson headed in an equaliser as Town drew 1-1 with promotion favourites Brentford.

 Derek Davis knew him well and here offers his own personal tribute to the Ipswich and England centre half..

Kevin Beattie was not one for formality.

He called me ‘Del, ‘Del Boy’ or just ‘Pal’ and he liked to be called ‘Beat’.

It was this down to earth approach that made him a warm, genuine, generous and congenial giant of a man.

It was also his no-nonsense approach on the pitch that made him one of the best centre halves this country has ever produced.

Sir Bobby Robson told me in an interview when he was Newcastle manager that The Beat was the best player he ever managed, and that included Brazilian striker Ronaldo who he had at Barcelona.

When I sked him why Sir Bobby put it succinctly: ‘He was physically imposing, he could play, but more than that he read the game as well as anyone.’ 

As a player, I remember the Beat playing for England, having goal disallowed, while Malcolm McDonald scored all five in the 5-0 win over Cyprus.

He was capped by Don Revie who knew a thing or two about defenders.

Although an FA Cup winner with Ipswich where he played more than 300 games, injuries and the constant cortisone injections curtailed his playing career, although he did spend time at Colchester United and a short spell at Middlesbrough.

I got to know him as a person when I worked for the East Anglian Daily Times.

He loved his family, looked after his wife Maggie who suffered from a long term illness, whose charity MiND, he supported along with many others.

He regaled me with many a tale, and his favourite when he found out I was an ex-HMS Ganges boy and now lived in Shotley, was how he was involved in a car accident on the B1456 on his way to training at Ganges. He told me in detail what happened and how he and his team mates had to crawl out the smashed in back window of his Opel to escape. 

This tribute will sit in among many, many others, for the Beat was a man of the people. Incredibly popular with not just Ipswich fans, but football supporters everywhere. 

 He was an infectious man with his warmth and generous spirit.

In public he was full of bonhomie, in private he was a devoted family man with the utmost dedication to his wife who he cared for diligently

That’s not to say he was perfect. Kevin Beattie had his faults and could be something of a rascal and I remember having to go to his house to talk to him about a story we needed to do that did not show him in a particularly good light.

Many would have slammed the door. The Beat invited me in, carried on picking his horses in the paper while watching the racing on TV and we dealt with the issue in his usual frank, honest and direct manner.

It was the mark of the man that he understood what needed to be done, and we stayed pals, and even though I was not as close to  him s many of my press colleagues he always had all the time in the world to chat to me and my lad when he saw him at Portman Road.

But then he always had time for everyone. 

In a world where the word legend is too flippantly used. The Beat genuinely is one. 

His loss will be felt deeply from Suffolk to Cumbria and a statute outside Portman Road is totally deserved, just as his tribute at Portman Road was, and yes, for me, I would like to see Ipswich's number six short retired just as Bobby Moore's at West Ham has been.

Honours Even In Old Farm Derby

Ipswich Town 1 Norwich City 1

Derek Davis at Portman Road

Paul Hurst is still seeking his first win as an Ipswich manager but came mighty close after Gwion Edwards put his side ahead against Old Farm rivals Norwich City.

It was the first time Ipswich had opened the scoring in an East Anglian derby at Portman Road in 20 years and hopes were high their eight-year winless run would come to an end.

However, Norwich equalised after a good spell for Norwich, which also saw Dean Gerken save from Alex Tettey, while another loose ball scrambled away for a corner and Grant Hanley lofted a ball over the bar from eight yards.

Moritz Leitner picked his spot from 23-yards to beat Gerken and find the bottom corner after Ipswich failed to clear their lines effectively.

The point moved Ipswich off the bottom of the table and even though their manager Paul Hurst has yet to experience a victory since taking charge of the Suffolk club, he has no concerns over his team’s form.

“Overall, I’m genuinely not too concerned,” said Hurst. “I desperately want to get that win and we moved closer to that. We are not a bad side.

While we have not won here, (at Portman Road) we have not lost.

“We have to stick with it and hopefully the fans will see how we are improving.”

Hurst sprang a surprise by dropping Poland World Cup squad goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski and starting with journeyman Dean Gerken.

He also handed starts to new signing Jon Walters and Matthew Pennington, on loan from Burnley and Everton respectively.

Hurst added: “It felt like a new team. The international break will help as we bed players in and one or two players can improve on their fitness.”

Norwich have now emerged unbeaten in these Old Farm derbies on 11 occasions, with this fifth draw and six wins, so City manager Daniel Farke enjoyed salvaging a point.

“We were the better side in the first half and had the better chances,” said Farke.

“We had to substitute Timm Klose at half time and he is an important player for us.

 “The first 15-20 minutes Ipswich were the better side and went ahead, with a deflected goal.

“We should have equalised earlier but we got one in the end and we felt then we could have won it.

“It showed a lot about our commitment that even though (Louis) Thompson was injured and could not run, and we had used all our substitutes he wanted to stay on to help where he could.

“In general I’m proud and pleased with our players.

“Despite all the good young players we have ahd to sell our future still looks bright.”

Walters had Ipswich best effort in the first half when Tim Krul pushed his powerful shot against a post and wide.

Ipswich Town: 4-4-3-1

Gerken 6; Spence 7, Pennington 7, Chambers 6, Knudsen 6; Skuse 6 (Chalobah, 45+6) Nolan 7, Edwards 8 Graham 6 (Ward 82); Walters 8: Jackson 7 (Harrison, 84).

Subs: Bialkowski, Kenlock, Edun, Downes, Harrison

Norwich City: 4-1-4-1

Krul 6; Aarons 7, Hanley 7, Klose 6 (Godfrey, 46) 5, Lewis 7; Tettey 7; Buendia 5, (Thompson, 64) 6, Leitner 6, Pukki 6, Hernandez 7: Rhodes 6 (Srbeny, 80).Subs: McGovern, Zimmermann, Stiepermann, Trybull, Thompson.

Referee: Robert Jones Attendance: 25,690

Point Made As Blues Find Lots To Build On

Ipswich Town 2 Blackburn Rovers 2

The size of the task laying ahead for Ipswich manager Paul Hurst was laid bare after they snatched a point against newly promoted Blackburn Rovers in their season opener. 

Gwion Edwards got the Blues off to a wonderful start in front of nearly 18,000 Town fans before Tony Mowbray’s Rovers showed their togetherness and experience to hit back with strikes from Danny Graham and Bradley Dack. 

Substitute Tayo Edun, one of five debutants fielded by Hurst, hit a somewhat fortunate late equaliser after his low, left-footed ball into the box evaded everyone before going in off the inside of a post.

An understandably delighted, and somewhat relieved Hurst admitted after the game, how much work Town still have to do as he rebuilds the side.

 “We speak about patience and a work in progress and I feel silly using it because we’re one game in, but it will take time and it’s not an excuse. Anyone with half a brain will see that’s a fact,” said the man who replaced Mick McCarthy.

“A lot of them did well. (Trevoh) Chalobah had been away but came in and showed moments of the real player he can be and, overall there are some who stand out to me as players who need a bit more work to get to the levels I expect from them and what we expect as a staff.”

The Blues crowd clearly appreciated the effort the players made, although chances were few and far between and Rovers appeared to ease up in the final moments.

Hurst said: “I still think we were looking strong overall and were pushing for that equaliser without creating numerous chances. We were certainly pushing Blackburn back and if we were going to get caught it would have been on the break which is something you have to accept.

“Then, the other side of it, I’m disappointed with the goals we conceded because they were soft ones from our point of view.

“It’s the first real test we’ve had because pre-season, as much as we pushed them and asked for their commitment, it doesn’t give you a situation where it really matters.

“I thought the response was good. We asked at half-time for them to be brave and have a go and if it doesn’t come off then so be it, don’t come in thinking ‘I wish I’d done this a bit better.

“Far from a great performance but what I would say is the players showed a lot of character and I thought they kept going.

Former Ipswich centre half, captain and caretaker manager Tony Mowbray heaped praise on Town and
picked out winger Edwards for special praise after his opening goal was followed by some strong running, clever tricks and an assist for Edun’s late leveller.

Mowbray said: “I feel as if the club’s in pretty good hands, but time will tell as the season unfolds how he (Hurst) deals with this league. I’m not sure he’s managed in it before, but I obviously have an Ipswich mind having been here for nine years and want them to do well.

“I think the club has made a good decision with this coach and hopefully we can both have good seasons.

 “I’m just telling you what I felt last year playing Shrewsbury Town, that if they do sign Jon Nolan... and the evidence is there, looking at Edwards today, scored a goal and he was like Billy Whizz on the right wing at times.

“They’ve got some good players. Harrison will score goals. It’s whether he’s effective or not today, he runs, he chases, he’s in the box, he can head a goal, he can shoot off his right foot particularly. He’s a handful for any defender.

“And if he gets the ones I see [he’s after], I’m hearing Kayden Jackson, never stops running, fast as lightning, just keeps chasing the ball, I think they’ll be fine and take no notice of what the bookies might say.”

Reasons To Be Cheerful Despite Pre-Season Loss

Never mind the score, measure the progress.

Paul Hurst's new look Blues went down 2-1 to Premier League West Ham in front of more than 15,000 spectators in their Portman Road bow but Town fans had plenty to cheer about, and the manager had plenty of positives to pluck out in his pitch side post-match press conference. 

"We were against better quality players and a better team." said Hurst. "Were West Ham absolutely flat out? I’m not going to say that was the case, but there were moments where their quality shone through and we had to be organised and on our mettle to read situations

“Most of the time I felt we were, although there were a few situations, which I’ve already highlighted to the players, were we needed to sense danger a little bit quicker.

“Overall I thought we tried to press - although that’s difficult against players who are comfortable on the ball.

“We actually carried a threat today as well. That was probably the most threatening we’ve looked in pre-season actually, which is pleasing when you go up against a better team

“It just whets the appetite even more for that opener against Blackburn.”

The atmosphere was warm, positive and the sense of optimism was tangible. Going a goal down within three minutes when Felipe Anderson burst Ipswich fans' bubble with a dreadful goal for Town to concede.

But Ipswich fans rallied behind the team, that in turn turned on the style in patches.

Ellis Harrison, a £750,000 signing from Bristol Rovers equalised with a nifty finish to a sublime through ball from Andre Dozzell, who when fully fit, promises to be creative diamond in midfield.

A slew of second half substitutions interrupted the game's pattern, but the introduction of on loan Chelsea substitute Trevoh Chalobah gave Ipswich followers another glimpse of what could be lying ahead once all the pieces fit into place, with his strength, technical expertise and eye for  pass - long or short.

Marko Arnautouvic clinched the winner but the final whistle brought only cheers and appreciative applause - a far cry from just three months ago.

Town are expected to sign centre-half Marcus Tilt from Blackpool this week, while Martyn Waghorn is close to leaving as a £6m transfer to Middlesbrough, Derby or Sheffield Wednesday edges ever closer.

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