‘We’re at it... You just hope time doesn’t go against us’ – Lambert on Town’s relegation fight

January signing Alan Judge has been in fine form for Ipswich Town at the tip of the midfield diamond

January signing Alan Judge has been in fine form for Ipswich Town at the tip of the midfield diamond. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert believes his new-look team is getting up to speed – he just hopes they can now beat the race against time.

Captain Luke Chambers could return to action at Wigan after missing the last two games with a foot i

Captain Luke Chambers could return to action at Wigan after missing the last two games with a foot injury. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

January additions Alan Judge, Will Keane, Collin Quaner and James Bee played little football in the first half of the campaign, while Lambert has also been integrating long-term injury victim Teddy Bishop back into the side.

After a flat start to the year, Town have had an encouraging February so far as the aforementioned quintet have found their feet in a diamond midfield system.

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The Blues gave as good as they got in the 3-0 defeat at table-topping Norwich and proved full value for comeback 1-1 home draws with Derby and Stoke last week.

It’s wins that are required if the greatest of Championship escapes is to be pulled off though and Town – nine points adrift of safety with 13 games to go – now appear to be heading into the last chance saloon with games against fellow relegation fighters Wigan (a) and Reading (h).

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“When you bring players in that January window you’re getting them for a reason – it’s because they haven’t played much football,” said Lambert, speaking ahead of this tomorrow’s game at the DW Stadium.

“Every one of them is getting fitter and getting better and I think you can see the quality in them.

Cole Skuse could also return to the starting line-up after missing the games against Derby and Stoke

Cole Skuse could also return to the starting line-up after missing the games against Derby and Stoke through illness. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

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“We’re not a team that looks disorganised or who look like they’re clutching at things.

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“We’re more than capable of winning games the way we’re playing. Winning is a great habit. If you get momentum it’s a great thing.

“If we get a bit of a break at certain times and we keep performing, then hopefully we can wins.

“I think the fans believe in it. I think the lads know they’re playing well enough. We’re at it. You just hope time doesn’t go against us.”

MORE: ‘They could play for a hell of a lot more years... but time will always catch you’ – Lambert discusses futures of Chambers and Skuse

Bolton stayed up with a Championship record low points tally of 43 last season. It looks like even less may be required this time around.

“Yes, I think so,” agreed Lambert. “While there’s hope you keep going. If we keep showing the same fight and the same hunger and the passion for everything, let’s see what happens.”

Nick Powell (centre) was a key man for Wigan Athletic in the first part of the season. He returned t

Nick Powell (centre) was a key man for Wigan Athletic in the first part of the season. He returned to action as a substitute last weekend having previously been sidelined with a hamstring injury since November. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

TOWN’S LAST 13 GAMES

Wigan (a)

Reading (h)

West Brom (a)

Bristol City (a)

Nottm Forest (h)

Hull (h)

Bolton (a)

Brentford (a)

Birmingham (h)

Preston (a)

Swansea (h)

Sheff Utd (a)

Leeds (h)

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