‘Nine years is far too long’ – Lambert on Town’s FA Cup record ahead of Accrington trip
Paul Lambert knows it’s been far too long since Ipswich Town won an FA Cup tie.
It’s been nine years and 12 games since the Blues were victorious in the world famous knockout competition, with first hurdle exits to lower league sides Preston, Portsmouth and Lincoln along the way.
The Blues, who are 10 points adrift of safety at the foot of the Championship table, have actually been made the slight underdogs for tomorrow afternoon’s third round tie at mid-table League One side Accrington Stanley.
Despite that, more than 1,000 Blues fans will be in the 5,450 capacity Wham Stadium.
“If the club’s not been through it since 2010, nine years, it’s a long time, too long for a club not to get through the early rounds, far too long,” said boss Lambert, speaking ahead of his team’s 500-mile round trip to Lancashire.
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“I always think if you’re in a competition, go and do what you can to get through. There’s no point in playing the game if you think you can pick and choose where you can win.
“We owe it ourselves and owe it to the club and we owe it to the supporters because they’ll go a long, long way to watch it. I won’t take it lightly, I’ll do everything I can to get through.”
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Town host Rotherham at Portman Road next weekend, a game which could keep alive their slim survival hopes, but Lambert says he won’t be making sweeping changes to his team today.
“There is that but I won’t just pick a team and make it a gift,” he said. “We’ll go there as strong as we can to go through.
“I’m really relaxed because we’re playing really well. I can’t predict results, but I know football-wise we’re in a really good place. We just have to be more ruthless at both ends of the pitch.”
Lambert, who could hand new loan signings Will Keane (Hull) and Callum Elder (Leicester) their debuts, added: “I don’t think there’s ever a game where you actually think ‘we expect to win’. That’s dangerous. You have to earn the right to win.
“I’m not going up there and thinking that they’re a team in the league below or anything like that.
“I don’t think the surroundings should faze anybody because a lot of our lads have come from League One and League Two, so I don’t think that will be a problem.”
TOWN IN THE FA CUP
2018: 3R, Sheff Utd, L 0-1 (h)
2017: 3R, Lincoln, D 2-2 (h), L 1-0 (a)
2016: 3R, Portsmouth, D 2-2 (h), L 2-1 (a)
2015: 3R, Southampton, D 1-1 (a), L 1-0 (h)
2014: 3R, Preston, D 1-1 (h), L 3-2 (a)
2013: 3R, Aston Villa, L 2-1 (a)
2012: 3R, Hull, L 3-1 (a)
2011: 3R, Chelsea, L 7-0 (a)
2010: 3R, Blackpool, W 2-1 (a)
Ipswich Town team news
– Ipswich boss Paul Lambert has vowed to go ‘as strong as I possibly can’ when it comes to his team selection for today’s game.
– Lambert could opt to give debuts to new signings Callum Elder and Will Keane.
– The Blues boss could also opt to give a trio of former Accrington Stanley players - Kayden Jackson, Toto Nsiala and Janoi Donacien - starts against their old club.
– Cole Skuse and Emyr Huws have both returned to training with the first team. This game will come too soon but they could return to face Rotherham a week today.
– Bartosz Bialkowski is likely to start in goal, with Lambert revealing Dean Gerken is struggling ‘with a sore one’.
– Youngsters Tristan Nydam and Ben Morris returned from their loans at St Johnstone and Forest Green earlier this week but will not be involved.
Accrington Stanley team news
– Six-goal striker Offrande Zanzala is suspended after being sent off against Bradford last weekend.
– Defenders Michael Ihiekwe and Nick Anderton are back with their parent clubs (Rotherham and Blackpool) while potential extensions are negotiated and are not eligible to play.
Opposition key man
Striker Billy Kee is set to lead the line in the absence of suspended forward Zanzala. The 28-year-old has done the rounds in the lower leagues, most successfully with Burton Albion, but has found a happy home at Accrington. He has seven goals this season.
Accrington win – 13/8
Draw – 5/2
Ipswich win – 2/1
Dean Whitestone (Northants)