Fuller Flavour: We must keep Judge, and critics of Lambert are wrong

Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert watches on during the draw with Stoke - Karl Fuller says critics of t

Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert watches on during the draw with Stoke - Karl Fuller says critics of the Town manager are wrong. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

As so often has happened in the last two or three years, I wish that I could have written this latest column after a midweek game instead of after the Stoke game. True, the net result of both matches was the same, but I enjoyed Wednesday night far more, writes Karl Fuller.

Alan Judge pictured after the Ipswich Town v Stoke City match. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

Alan Judge pictured after the Ipswich Town v Stoke City match. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

I’ll give you an idea of how much that occasion was a pleasure to be a part of. I catch a train to midweek home games and often, it’s more beneficial for me to catch the 9.43pm train home rather than hang around waiting for the 10.23pm departure.

The downside of this is depending on the injury-time added to each half, I find that I might need to leave a couple of minutes from the end. There was no way that I could leave before the end on Wednesday. I was so absorbed by the performance both on and of the pitch, it was a pleasure to be in attendance.

My feelings at 9.45pm exceeded any expectations of how I thought the evening would pan out earlier in the day.

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Derby have an impressive record at Portman Road in recent years including winning on their previous four visits. I had little hope of a result being anything other than a defeat and when Derby scored inside two minutes, I really was worried as to how bad it would get.

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But thereafter, we put in an excellent display against a squad far superior to ours and fully-deserved a point. The atmosphere was something else to behold and as Paul Lambert so often states, it’s not normal in our situation.

I held a deep-thinking assessment of the game in my mind later that evening. In myself, I am of course not perfect. I try my best in everything I do, and I just hope to make a few people happy along the way whatever my shortcomings are and that’s all I can ask of myself. I went to bed in the knowledge that the football team I love had the same philosophy that evening.

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Saturday’s game had a different feel about it all. Maybe because it wasn’t a night game under the lights. Maybe we had put in so much effort on Wednesday that we didn’t quite have the same energy levels and as a result were less effective.

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Personally, whilst not troubling us too much, I felt that Stoke were a more organised unit than Derby and had a different game plan which meant we found it harder to get on the ball as much.

The feel-good factor certainly evaporated at the events around the goal that gave Stoke the lead. Whether we blame Bart or Jonas, it was an awful goal to concede. Probably the most horrendous error seen at Portman Road since Bryan Gunn air-kicked Robert Ullathorne’s back pass.

But hey-ho, we kept going and Will Keane’s late equaliser gave the game the result it deserved.

Draws are no good in our situation, but we are showing the right attitude and fight and we are getting an idea on which players that are on-loan or short-term contracts we should be trying to keep for next term. It goes without saying that Alan Judge is top of that list.

As for Lambert, he continues to do all that he can to lift the place including supporters, yet there are those that believe that with just two wins in his time with us so far, he is not good enough.

I do respect that opinion but look what he’s had to work with. He was shopping in a limited market in the January transfer window and as the last two results have proved, those recruits are now only just getting up to the match fitness required.

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Imagine if you bought a run-down house on the cheap that needed completely renovating. It could be mended in the time required. Lambert sadly did not have that luxury.

Whilst getting foundations in place on the pitch will take time, off the field, he is doing everything possible and indeed, has done more than anyone to connect the fan base with the club.

Of course, if we’re League Two bound this time next year, then that’s a completely different matter!

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