Alan Lee: 'If I had any friendly advice for Town, I'd say mix it up a bit.'
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
Former Ipswich Town striker Alan Lee says he would like to see the Blues 'mix it up a bit' as they attempt to get out of League One
Lee, who played more than 100 times for Town in a career that spanned almost 550 League appearances, was a popular figure at Portman Road. He also had a spell coaching at the Town academy. He has 10 Republic of Ireland caps.
And he thinks the Blues could benefit from a more flexible approach to their game.
"I still watch a lot of Town games and they are capable of doing better," Lee said.
"It's hard for me. I go back to this style thing and I hear a lot of people say the 'Ipswich way' is to play good football, out from the back. But for me, there is no such thing as the Ipswich style.
"Ipswich Town have always had good players. The 'Ipswich way' is just that... having good players, playing good football. It comes with the players.
"When I look back at videos and the history of Ipswich Town, I don't see them playing in their own half a lot, playing from the back. I see them mixing it up.
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"I know how hard it is when you in the middle of it. But I'm not sure the starting point is right to be honest.
"I won't be critical of Paul Lambert. I remember the criticism Mick McCarthy used to get, I was at the club at the time. But I could see how hard he was working to put it right, so I don't like criticising managers.
"If I had any friendly advice for Town, I'd say mix it up a bit. You have to play to your strengths. If you advertise what you are doing, it's going to be tough, the opposition know."
Lee played for Huddersfield in League One, and he knows what it takes to get out of the division having won promotion with the Terriers back to the Championship in 2012. And he says League One is a tough gig.
"I found it a lot harder in League One than I did the Championship," he said.
"You don't get many weak players in the Championship, but in League One you do.
There is a big gulf. Then again, in League One you do get very good teams. Lads who are not likely going to make it in the Championship, but are very hard working. That's why teams like Wycombe do well.
"It's hard. There are a lot of games, pitches are not so good, teams try to get stuck into you. That's why I say Ipswich need to mix things up more.
"When I played under Jim Magilton's team, we were good footballers, yes, but we kicked it long every time from goal kicks. Me and Jonathan Walters were the first contact, get the ball into the opposition half."
Lee, who is head of football at Culford School and is also currently training to be an independent financial adviser, says Town's younger players must make the most of their opportunities at Portman Road should they come along.
"I see some of the youth players I worked with getting a chance and that's good," he said. "I worked with quite a few of them.
"They must understand the only way they learn is by experience. So, what they are going through now, some of them, as a professional footballer is what most of their careers will be like.
"It's rare as a player you have a fantastic season, have no pressure, no criticism. The reality is very different. Then again, if you win your next two or three games, life's wonderful again. But it's up to them to make it happen.
"With the squad they have, there is no reason Ipswich can't get promoted. But it takes pragmatism to get out of that league."