Changes, a power-packed bench, a familiar name and dealing with two curses - notes ahead of Ipswich Town v Doncaster
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town return to action against Doncaster this weekend following an international break. Andy Warren looks ahead to the game at Portman Road
Change in store?
Ipswich Town are back at it this weekend after an international break which saw them lose top spot to Wycombe and drop to third.
It's provided an opportunity for rest, recuperation and planning at Playford Road, as the Blues enter another run of three games in a week.
Even if Lambert sticks with the winning team which beat Shrewsbury 3-0 last time out, changes are likely for the game at MK Dons on Tuesday night and then again for Saturday's visit to Gillingham.
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Lambert's flexed his squad during the early weeks of the season in a bid to keep players fit and firing while he's also chopped and changed formations, too.
When the Town boss says 'systems don't win games, players do', he's right. Ipswich are also fortunate that, on paper, they arguably possess better players than their third tier rivals.
MORE: Lambert's been a shapeshifter at the start of the season... but which system suits Ipswich Town best as they return to action?That's not to say they can rely on perceived talent alone, though. That's why Lambert has made changes to his formations as he bids to give his side's ability the best chance of coming out on top.
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We've seen 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3, a diamond midfield and now, most recently, a 3-5-2 system using wing-backs.
It will be interesting to see which way he turns this weekend.
If Lambert goes with the same line-up which beat Shrewsbury last time out, the Blues could conceivably field a bench of Will Norris, James Wilson, Gwion Edwards, Jon Nolan, Andre Dozzell, Anthony Georgiou and Will Keane this weekend.
That's ridiculously strong for this level of football.
Keane and Toto Nsiala both stepped up their returns from injury this week with an hour each in the Under 23s and, while both could probably benefit from a few more minutes in their legs before being thrown into action, the progress they have made is most welcome.
MORE: 'He's done really well... but he needs a kick up the backside sometimes' - Lambert on Ipswich defender WoolfendenLuke Garbutt, who remember has two goals in two Ipswich games, is also close to a return while Teddy Bishop, Freddie Sears and Jack Lankester are all to come back into contention once they are full recovered from their injury lay-offs.
Lambert has strength in every position and, in the not too distant future, will be needing to leave players 'too good for this level' out of his matchday 18 completely.
That's before you even think about talented youngsters such as Idris El Mizouni and Armando Dobra.
Back from the sack
The last time Darren Moore took on Ipswich Town, his day ended with him receiving his P45.
Only managing a 1-1 draw against lowly Ipswich in March was the final straw for the West Brom board, who sacked a manager who just a few months previously had come so close to an unlikely Premier League survival and had led the Baggies to fourth in the second tier.
After a few months out of the game he was back before the start of this season, taking over a Doncaster side who had just missed out in the League One play-offs to Charlton Athletic.
He's made a decent start, too, winning three of his five League One games during a run which saw Rovers' game against now-expelled Bury and struggling Bolton postponed.
They sit seventh but, if they win their two games in hand on the rest of the league (just one on Ipswich) they could go top.
A familiar name
It's been a long time since the name 'Kiwomya' graced the Portman Road turf.
Striker Chris was a big part of the Ipswich side which won promotion to the top flight in 1992, making 250 appearances during a Town career which ran from 1987 to 1995 when he joined Arsenal.
His nephew Alex, son of his former footballer brother Andy, is part of the Doncaster squad and could potentially make the bench in this game.
The 23-year-old winger or striker is a former Chelsea youth who has also previously played for Barnsley, Chesterfield and Crewe.
Two curses are better than one
Ipswich will have the weight of history pushing against them when they take to the Portman Road pitch this weekend.
Their recent record when coming out of international breaks is dire to say the least, with the Blues not winning in that scenario for five years.
Since the victory over Millwall in September 2014, the Blues have played 18 games, failed to win, drawn eight and lost the other 10.
MORE: 'Now it's getting better, slowly' - work begins to give tired sections of Portman Road a much-needed faceliftThen you have to add in the manager of the month award won by boss Lambert, which itself brings a 'curse' for those picking up individual honours.
In the last three League One seasons, only eight of the 27 award winners have claimed three points in the very next game.
We'll soon see if Ipswich can buck the trend.