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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

'Your home form has to be your bread and butter' - Lambert knows where the battle must be won

PUBLISHED: 06:00 15 December 2018

Ipswich Town take on Wigan Athletic this afternoon.    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

Ipswich Town take on Wigan Athletic this afternoon. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Andy Warren looks ahead to Ipswich Town's clash with Wigan Athletic this afternoon.

Town manager Paul Lambert applauds the Portman Road crowd.   PICTURE: STEVE WALLER   WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMTown manager Paul Lambert applauds the Portman Road crowd. PICTURE: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

If Ipswich Town are to give themselves a fighting chance of staying in the Championship, the battle needs to be won at Portman Road.

That’s the view of Blues boss Paul Lambert, as he prepares his side for a vital home clash with Wigan Athletic this afternoon.

Ipswich have yet to win on home turf this season and have managed three points just twice in 2018, with only this afternoon’s game and next Saturday’s visit of Sheffield United remaining to add to that tally.

MORE: ‘I’d like to think I’ll be worthy of a new contract’ - Chambers knows he may need to be patient over future

Ipswich Town's home form has been extremely poor throughout 2018.   PICTURE: STEVE WALLER   WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMIpswich Town's home form has been extremely poor throughout 2018. PICTURE: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

“If you are going to do anything in the league then your home form has to be your bread and butter,” Lambert said.

“If you pick up points away, great, but you have to get your home form sorted and that gives you a chance.

“I can’t speak for what happened before, because I don’t really know, but the level the supporters are giving us is not normal.

“They recognise the football we’re playing and we’re desperate to give them something.

MORE: ‘He can make a contribution’ - Lambert on prospect of Harrison starting

“If we all stick together this will turn, and when it does turn this will be a brilliant place.”

Lambert’s arrival has sparked an upturn in form but has only yielded two points from six games. So would a first victory make it easier for Lambert to keep heads up?

“Not really,” Lambert replied. “The training ground has been a fantastic atmosphere and that’s something we try and keep, even if we’ve lost games.

“We come in and try and get them going again – there’s not been one downbeat day despite us losing games because we’re playing well.

“That dilutes a lot of stuff because I like the way we’re playing and the players are enjoying it. We have fun on the training ground and work really hard.

MORE: ‘They tend to play with freedom... there’s only one way they can go’ - Connolly on Ipswich return

“The football we’ve played has been great and if we concentrate on results and forget everything else then the whole thing, the whole structure, doesn’t work.

“We are playing a really good brand of football at the minute, which is important to me and the belief’s there. We don’t have the big guy for us to go back to front, we don’t have it in our locker, so we have to find a way of playing with the ball.

“I love watching us play the game and it’s turning. Everybody feels it and we’re not too far away.”

LAMBERT ON ‘MUST WIN’ GAMES

Joe Garner is likely to be on the bench for Wigan. Picture: PAJoe Garner is likely to be on the bench for Wigan. Picture: PA

“If I was here at the start of the season and you asked me that I would have given you the same answer – every game’s a must-win.

“I’ve never played any where it’s not been, whether it’s in August or April. You have to try and win games and this is no different to the first.

LAMBERT ON WIGAN

“Wigan have done well and it’s a difficult game, but we’re at home and we’re playing well.

“That’s the thing we have, we’re playing well, and if we keep the form going it’s turning. We have to keep doing what we’re doing and let’s see what happens.”

LAMBERT ON BOSS PAUL COOK

“I don’t really know Paul, I’ve only met him a couple of times, but he seems to have done a good job.

“But I’m more focussed on us and what we’re going to do.”

LAMBERT ON JOE ROYLE

“He’s brilliant, a brilliant stature in the game.

“He’s been an ex-manager here but Joe stature on both sides of the game is huge.

“I’m sure he will get a nice hello from everybody.”

Town team news

- Illness has caused a few issues in the Ipswich camp this week but it is not expected to keep any Blues sidelined

- Cole Skuse is making quicker-than-expected progress with his knee injury but will be out until the new year

- Paul Lambert will continue to be careful with Teddy Bishop as he bids for full fitness after hamstring trouble

- Ellis Harrison played the final 10 minutes at Stoke last weekend and could potentially start this game

- Emyr Huws is hoping to beging fitness work next week as he continues his recovery from knee surgery while Tom Adeyemi remains out with an Achilles problem

- Jack Lankester is expected to make his first senior start at home

Wigan team news

- A quartet of former Ipswich players - Joe Garner, Callum Connolly, Alex Bruce and Gary Roberts - return to Portman Road

- Left back Kal Naismith is suspended following his red card against Derby last weekend. Connolly could replace him

- Star man Nick Powell is out with a hamstring injury

- Winger Michael Jacobs, central defender Chey Dunkley and full-back Antonee Robinson are all out

Opposition star man

He may not quite be ‘on fire’ right now but Will Grigg is still a threat. Along with the injured Powell, the man whose chant captured the imagination at Euro 2016 has four goals for the Latics this season in jusy nine starts. He’s a threat in behind as well as in the air.

Betting

Ipswich win - 9/4

Wigan win - 9/4

Draw - 29/10

Referee

Scott Duncan (Northumberland)

Andy’s prediction

This has to be a home win, doesn’t it? Wigan have been poor on the road of late and Ipswich simply must take advantage and pick up their first three points under Lambert. Call it blind optimism but I think they will edge it. 1-0

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