Skuse: Family is everything

Town midfielder Cole Skuse has more reason to be cautious than most when returning to training.

News is expected this week to whether League One will resume the season, and if that is to be the case, the experienced midfielder insists ‘it has to be safe’ before he will look at returning to play football.

“They say a decision will be made this week but they have been saying that for weeks now,” Skuse told the club website.

“A decision does need to be made but I echo what a lot of players are saying ‘it’s got to be safe to play, it has to be safe’.

“From my point of view, I have got personal things to consider. My wife is Type 1 diabetic and that puts her at greater risk. [One in four patients who have died of Coronavirus in hospitals in England had diabetes].

“My little daughter has been in hospital recently with bronchitis as well so I’ve got issues like that to consider. Family is everything. 

“It’s got to be concrete that it’s a safe environment to play again; that everything is in place for me to consider strongly going back.” 

Earlier this week, Skuse signed a new one-year deal with the club, something which he is pleased to have finally sorted out.

“Of course I’m delighted to be staying at what is a fantastic football club for at least another year,” he explained. 

“It’s a mixed bag of emotions really. There is the relief of agreeing a new deal because with so much uncertainty around at the moment, it’s probably the worst time to be at the end of your contract. Every time you look on Sky they are talking about how many players will be out of work, especially in the lower leagues.

“I’ve got good friends who have not been given a contract and you feel for them.

“I’m fortunate in that I’ve got a fair few years behind me. I’ve had a good run at it but for players in their mid-20s, it will be worrying but then people up and down the country will be worrying about their jobs whatever career they are in. It’s difficult times for a lot of people.” 

Much has been made about Skuse’s role away from football, with discussions already underway about a role for him beyond the first-team.

“I have spoken to Marcus [Evans, Club owner] and Lee [O’Neill, general manager football operations] about how I can help in other areas,” added the 34-year-old.

“My 100 per cent priority is playing football for as long as I can, whether that’s another year; two years; whatever. 

“Alongside that though I’ve said I’d like to add my services in whatever way I can, whether that be coaching some of the younger players – which I do to a degree now – or whether it be attending off-field events for the Club, helping to promote the Club around the town and beyond. The more I do, the more I think I will find the pathway I want to pursue after my playing days are over.”

Once his playing days are over, Skuse believes he now has another home besides Bristol, with his family settled and enjoying Suffolk life.

“When I joined from Bristol at 27, it was the first time as a family we had moved away from there,” the former Bristol City man said.

“You never know how long you are going to be at a club so after two years here we bought a farm back in Bristol that we thought would be our ‘forever home’ when I finished playing. 

“My family, Louisa’s family are all back there and it was always our intention to return but the longer we have stayed here, the more settled we have become.

“It’s a great place to bring up a family; the kids love it here. We’ve got some good friends here. Ipswich is great football club to be involved with; the supporters have always been fantastic to me. We are renovating our house and we’ve got a ‘forever home’ here now. It feels home.”

Picture: ITFC Website