'It's a big ship to turn around... but I'm not a quitter' - Lambert on Oxford United visit
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Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert admits it's 'a big ship to turn around', but says he hasn't given up hope of a top-two finish.
The Blues are 11th place in League One following the return of 23 points from their last 20 games, the most recent of which was drab 0-0 home draw with Northampton Town on Tuesday night.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow's visit of in-form Oxford United, Lambert was asked if automatic promotion chances were over given the gap to second-place Hull (who visit Portman Road on Tuesday) is 12 points, albeit with games in hand on many above them.
“You keep on, you never give up," he said. "Your attitude might be different from mine. You might be a quitter. I’m not. I’ll fight for it."
On the mood in the camp, he said: “They are a good group in terms of getting on with it. We don’t try and make the place really downbeat. I think what happens in here should always stay in here.
“Regarding attitude-wise, everybody is frustrated. Everybody is. It’s my job to keep them upbeat.
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“We’ll go into this game upbeat and we’ll be ready for it that’s for sure."
He continued: “We’ve spoken as a group and with individuals throughout the season. I don’t have a problem with the guys’ attitudes or the way they are going about things to try and turn it around.
“They believe they can get in the top six. That’s the biggest factor."
Flynn Downes starts a two-game suspension for his red card in midweek, while Gwion Edwards and Luke Thomas are injury doubts, but the likes of Toto Nsiala, James Wilson and Keanan Bennetts are available again following injuries.
It means Lambert has at least 24 first team players to choose from when selecting his 18-man squad.
Kayden Jackson and Jon Nolan won't be considered, having been banished to the U23s, while a maximum of five (out of the six loanees) can be included.
“Every game I try and pick a team that wins a game," said Lambert. "That’s what I try and do and tomorrow will be no different. We’ll be ready and prepared.
“It’s a big ship to turn around, but we’ll try and get a result.
"You need to win games. That's the nature of the game. If you win ugly, great, if you win playing magic football like Man City then even better. Just win games. That’s what they have to focus on. Just win the game.
“We’ll try everything we can to win. We’ve got footballers in the team. That’s what we’ll try and use. We’ll try and do everything we can. We’ll try and mix it up if we can.
“The lads will be ready for the game that’s for sure."