‘He’s got attributes’ – Lambert set to hand Jackson rare start at Bristol City
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Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert wants Kayden Jackson to play with belief at Bristol City tomorrow night.
The speedy front man will make his first Championship start of 2019 at Ashton Gate with every other striker at the club currently sidelined.
With 10 games left of the season remaining there’s a chance for the 25-year-old to show why Paul Hurst paid £1.6m – the club’s highest transfer fee in almost a decade – to sign him from League Two champions Accrington Stanley last summer.
“That’s the best he’s been – I thought he was excellent,” said Lambert, reflecting on Jackson’s performance as a half-time replacement for the injured Collin Quaner in Saturday’s encouraging 1-1 draw at West Brom.
“His running, his belief was more there. I think he’s got attributes.
“He’s quick and he can finish. I think that performance will do him the world of good.
“My idea was always to play Kayden in this one.”
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Tomorrow’s game may have come too soon for Ellis Harrison (hamstring) to return to action, with Quaner having joined mid to long-term striker absentees Freddie Sears (knee), Will Keane (hamstring), Jack Lankester (back), Ben Folami (Achilles) and Ben Morris (knee) in the treatment room.
Meanwhile, Jordan Roberts and Aaron Drinan are on loan at Lincoln and Waterford respectively, leaving 17-year-old duo Armando Dobra and Kair Brown to lead the line for the U23s.
Saturday was Jackson’s first appearance since the FA Cup defeat at his former club back on January 5, with midfielder Teddy Bishop preferred as a makeshift striker in the recent 2-1 home loss to Reading.
Jackson – who has scored four goals in 12 starts and 16 sub displays – can take inspiration from the way fellow Hurst lower league recruits Jon Nolan and Gwion Edwards have enjoyed a renaissance under Lambert in recent weeks.
The door may also open for other fringe players over the coming weeks too as the rock-bottom Blues, in reality, prepare for life in League One.
“I think we need to look at some players,” admitted Lambert, who brought on Simon Dawkins at The Hawthorns and had young trio Andre Dozzell, Josh Emmanuel and Tristan Nydam on the bench.
“But you have to get the balance right and we have to plan it right.”