'Bring it on' - Lambert's message to MK Dons ahead of tonight's clash
PUBLISHED: 06:00 17 September 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
'Bring it on'.
That's Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert's message for MK Dons ahead of tonight's League One clash at Stadium MK.
The Blues extended their unbeaten start to the campaign to seven matches with a goalless home draw against Doncaster Rovers on Saturday, a result that has them second in the table with a game in hand.
MK Dons have lofty ambitions themselves though, chairman Pete Winkleman having made it clear he wants the club to climb back in the Championship following last season's instant promotion from League Two.
Paul Tisdale's men endured a sticky start to the season, but come into this game off the back of three straight wins - the last of which was an impressive 3-0 victory at Blackpool.
Asked who he saw as being Town's biggest promotion rivals, Lambert replied: "It's really difficult to call that because we've not even played 10 games yet. There's miles to go yet, absolute country miles. The pitches will get bad, the weather will get bad, there are so many factors.
"What I'm pleased about is we're still unbeaten. We're a big target because of the size of the club. That's great. Bring it on. We look forward to every team that tries to take us."
Lambert has rotated his squad so far this season and could do so again tonight, with a trip to Gillingham coming up on Saturday. The likes of Jon Nolan, Anthony Georgiou and Will Keane are all options for change.
"Nolo is just about there having come off the bench a few times (following a calf injury sustained in March)," said Lambert. "The lad can play, he's got a goal in him, so it's good to have him back. Will (back after a hamstring injury sustained in April) might need a bit longer to get up to speed.
"I'll pick a team that I think can go and win. Every team is hard, but we go there with confidence and will try to win.
"I don't worry about anything else other than what we do. We're the main focus. If we do what we can do then hopefully we'll come away with a win."
Town have conceded just four goals in their opening league seven games - you have to go back more than 30 years to find the last time that happened.
And they've kept three successive clean sheets in the league - something that hasn't happened since March/April 2013.
"Defending is the cornerstone of everything that you try to achieve," said Lambert. "If you are strong defensively then you've always got a chance up the other end."