Lambert gives injury update on key players and discusses changes for FA Cup clash
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Manager Paul Lambert will make significant changes to his side for the weekend clash with Portsmouth but insists he’ll still be doing all he can to help Ipswich progress in the FA Cup.
Town take on Portsmouth at Portman Road in round one tomorrow afternoon as the Blues’ hectic schedule continues with their seventh game in just 22 days.
Lambert’s admitted changes will be coming, as has opposite number Kenny Jackett, in part due to the hectic schedule as well as the fact his side picked up some new knocks in Tuesday’s defeat at Sunderland.
Jon Nolan returns from suspension as Andre Dozzell begins his own ban following his red card at the Stadium of Light, while the Blues are still without Kane Vincent-Young (Achilles), Flynn Downes, Cole Skuse (both knee), James Norwood (hamstring) and Aaron Drinan (thigh) as they recover from long-term injuries.
Luke Woolfenden continues to isolate following a close contact’s positive coronavirus test, while the likes of Kayden Jackson, Stephen Ward and Alan Judge have all dealt with injuries of late.
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“No, we can’t,” Lambert said, when asked if he could continue to use the same players who have been started league games of late.
MORE: ‘Bournemouth interest was flattering’ – Jackson on contract talks and his Ipswich Town future“There will be a few changes because we have to. We have to look after the players and not keep flogging the guys all the time through our tough schedule.
“We got back at 4am after Tuesday and there are a few carrying knocks so this will be too early for them. Thankfully we’re not playing next Saturday either so we’ve got a good break.
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“We’ll got as strong as we possibly can to try and get through and then it’s up to the lads to either make my job difficult or easier.”
David Cornell, Myles Kenlock, Emyr Huws and Janoi Donacien are among the likely starters, while Keanen Bennett’s could come into the side for a much-anticipated first start following some promising minutes from the bench.
“He’s got really quick feet and I’ve been happy with how he’s done, but he’s still finding his way in,” Lambert said of the Gladbach loanee.
“He’s had fits and starts with it and he needs to be consistent. He’ll definitely come into my thinking for Saturday and then Tuesday.
Lambert is hopeful some of his long-term injured will return sooner rather than later, though the return to League One action against Shrewsbury on November 21 appears likely to be too soon for the majority.
“Hopefully we’ll start to get guys like Flynn (Downes), Aaron (Drinan) and Cole (Skuse) back and James Norwood as well,” Lambert said. “He’s started training but hasn’t kicked a ball in a few months.
“Kayden (Jackson) has just come back and it’s a tough schedule.
“Cole and Flynn definitely won’t be back but Kane Vincent-Young is doing a lot better and is starting to run, which is good.
“We’ll have to wait and see how Aaron is over the next couple of weeks and James hasn’t played in a good couple of months.
“We’re getting them back, slowly but surely, which is a big help.”
On his desire to progress in the FA Cup, Lambert said: “The FA Cup is a prestigious competition and we want to get through it. We’re playing well, that’s for sure.
“(Town’s cup win in) 1978 is a long time ago and there’s great history with the FA Cup that you can’t take away, but we’ll try and get through.
“The situation doesn’t change the importance of the competition because you still want to do well, but if you get through the rounds and get a Premier League team then obviously all the big trips for the fans aren’t going to be there.
“This isn’t normal football and it’s tough without supporters but we’ll do everything we can to try and get through.
“Same way we do in any game – try our best to get through.
“Both teams will make changes because the schedule’s been really tough, so we prepare as best we can.
“Any team you play in the cup is tough. It’s a tough competition whether you’re playing a team from the Premier League, your own level or a team from non-league.
“We have games with Shrewsbury and Hull coming up and we have to think of those games, too. “