'Behind Bree? Yes. Behind Emmanuel? Absolutely. Behind Spence? Yeah' - Lambert on Cotter's place in pecking order
PUBLISHED: 14:58 21 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:58 21 March 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert has admitted Barry Cotter still has plenty of work to do if the Irishman is to force his way into his senior side.
Cotter, signed from League of Ireland club Limerick last January for a fee understood to be in the region of £50,000, has played just twice for the Blues and not since the 4-0 victory at Reading in the penultimate game of last season.
His most memorable moment in an Ipswich shirt came on his debut, during an impressive 60-minute display against Barnsley which proved to be Mick McCarthy’s final game in charge of the Blues, with the decision to substitute Cotter booed by sections of the Portman Road crowd.
He’s had to make do with Under 23 football this season, with Lambert admitting the 20-year-old is currently behind James Bree, Josh Emmanuel and Jordan Spence in the right-back pecking order.
“Barry’s doing alright,” Lambert said of Cotter, who is currently on international duty with the Republic of Ireland Under 21 side.
“But to get in the side you have to get motoring and be really on the button.
“Is he behind Bree? Yes. Is he behind Emmanuel? Yes, absolutely. Behind Spence? Yeah.
“He’s down there but nothing’s given. You have to keep working hard and when your chance comes you have to impress me and take it.
“It’s not a gift, you have to earn the right to get a game.”
Cotter, along with Aaron Drinan and Corrie Ndaba, are in Ireland Under 21 action on Sunday evening when they take on Luxembourg in Dublin.
On Jordan Spence, who has not played for Ipswich since the FA Cup loss at Accrington in January and appears certain to be released when his contract expires in the summer, Lambert said: “Jordan trains well, he doesn’t not train well, and I don’t have a problem with that.
“You just have to battle back to try and get back in the side.
“That’s the nature of the game. Jordan was in the side, he had a run at it, we decided to change it and getting back in is hard because Bree’s doing well, Josh Emmanuel has been doing well and had a decent game. Pennington’s been moved over and has been excellent for us wherever he’s played.
“It’s been tough on Jordan but you have to keep knocking on the door to see if that chance comes along for you.”