‘I trust every single one of them’ – Lambert says squad rotation policy will have long-term benefits
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert believes he will see the benefit of his squad rotation policy in the latter stages of the campaign.
The Blues boss, whose side top the League One table with a game in hand on most, has regularly chopped and changed personnel and systems during the opening three months of the campaign.
Cole Skuse is the only player to have started all 14 league games so far, with 28 of the current squad having been handed game time across all competitions.
Town's tinkerman has made five alterations to his starting XI for the last two games in a row, even swapping keepers - Will Norris replacing Tomas Holy between the sticks - for Saturday's 3-1 victory at Southend.
The idea is that it will keep a big squad happier, hungrier and sharper, but the potential downside is that the Blues could struggle to build team chemistry and familiarity.
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"I'm not worried about that because I trust them all," insisted Lambert. "The great thing for any footballer is knowing that the manager trusts you.
"If the manager doesn't trust you then you think your days are numbered. I trust every single one of them to perform. I trust every single one of them to play. That's the biggest compliment I can give them.
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"Imagine if I have one guy play 15 games, another guy plays one and then I suddenly ask the guy who's only played one game to come in and perform to the same level as the guy who had played 15 - that would be so unfair. I won't put that pressure on a player.
"That's why we try and keep everybody's game time high so that they all remain up to speed. We'll be better for it in the long-term."
In the previous two seasons, Sunderland and Shrewsbury have played 60+ games across all competitions and ultimately lost in both the League One Play-Off Final and EFL Trophy Final.
Lambert, whose team have progressed past the group stages of the EFL Trophy and have an FA Cup first round tie on the horizon, has constantly referenced the large volume of matches.
"We made a conscious decision to get all the lads up to speed," he said. "I trust them all. It's not as if I ever sit and think 'we're weakened now'.
"I think about what team I'm going to play for each game and then I trust them to perform."