‘People do not have the full story’ – Hurst on why World Cup players are in reserve and make-up of back four

PUBLISHED: 12:30 23 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:37 23 October 2018

Paul Hurst has hinted Bartosz Bialkowski could return to the side at Leeds United. Picture: STEVE WALLER

Paul Hurst has hinted Bartosz Bialkowski could return to the side at Leeds United. Picture: STEVE WALLER

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Ipswich Town boss Paul Hurst has responded to criticism surrounding his decision to leave two World Cup players on the bench and admitted he may put Bartosz Bialkowski back in goal at Leeds United tomorrow night.

Ipswich Town boss Paul Hurst doesn't believe the structure of his back four is to blame for some sloppy goals that have been conceded. Photo: Steve WallerIpswich Town boss Paul Hurst doesn't believe the structure of his back four is to blame for some sloppy goals that have been conceded. Photo: Steve Waller

Bialkowski was named Supporters’ Player of the Year for the third time in a row, went to the World Cup with Poland in the summer and then signed a bumper new deal at Portman Road.

He was, however, dropped for the East Anglian derby match against Norwich City at Portman Road just six games into the campaign.

Dean Gerken subsequently produced some solid displays but his howler led to the crucial opener in Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat to QPR.

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Asked if he was considering making a change in goal at Elland Road, Hurst – whose side are bottom of the table with just nine points claimed from the opening 13 games – said: “I’ve got a few decisions to make. Prior to the game on Saturday, there was always a thought with this week – with the games, the opposition and the travelling – that I would not stick with the same XI.

“Goalkeepers are no different in my eyes from that point of view, so it’s something that I am looking at.”

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Left-back Jonas Knudsen – a player went to the World Cup with Denmark in the summer – has also started on the bench for the last two games. When it was put to Hurst that some see it as madness that two international players are on the bench given the team’s current predicament, he replied: “It may well do to people on the outside. What I would say is they’re not here, they’re not on the training ground.

Dean Gerken and Bartosz Bialkowski in the pre-match warm-up on Saturday. Photo: Steve WallerDean Gerken and Bartosz Bialkowski in the pre-match warm-up on Saturday. Photo: Steve Waller

“And Jonas had a long travel last week (having been away with Denmark). He played a game, he played near enough the full game ,and then had a long travel.

“I think if you look at (Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick) Aubameyang, people might think it’s strange he’s on the sideline and coming off the bench.

“I think it’s easy when you’re on the outside to look and think you can make better decisions and maybe not have the full story or have seen everything which contributes to managers making decisions.”

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Bartosz Bialkowski, pictured on the bench at Birmingham. Photo: PagepixBartosz Bialkowski, pictured on the bench at Birmingham. Photo: Pagepix

Another criticism that followed the weekend was the make-up of the back four, with a centre-back at right-back (Matthew Pennington) and a right-back at left-back (Janoi Donacien).

“I don’t think that the goals are down to organisation or structure – it’s more individual errors than anything,” said Hurst.

“I don’t think that’s really something I’m worried about in terms of that. Can individual players play better? Yes, but I think from a point of view of being a unit, I don’t think that’s the case.”

The Blues boss added that left-back Myles Kenlock remains sidelined with a hamstring injury and will not be rushed back into action.

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