Lambert: Coronavirus break could act as ‘reset button’ for Ipswich Town if season resumes

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert. Photo: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert is hoping a lengthy break from football due to the coronavirus crisis can act as a ‘reset button’ for his team.

The Blues went into football’s lengthy shut-down period placed 10th in the League One table, seven defeats in nine matches leaving their League One play-off hopes hanging by the slimmest of threads ahead of a kind on paper eight game run-in.

No-one knows when or if the season will now be concluded, but Lambert is hoping a break could benefit his team.

Speaking to former Blues forward Alan Brazil on talkSPORT this morning, he said: “We started great, we were top of the league at the end of January, were doing really well, but we got three or four injuries, long-term ones that really hurt us.

“Hopefully this break does bring them (the likes of Kane Vincent-Young and James Norwood) back whenever the season does resume, if it does resume. It’s like a restart button, this break.”

The Blues boss added: “My only concern with the whole thing, if we’re told to play, is you would have to do a mini-pre-season. When you have a pre-season you have to play maybe four or five warm-up games to get ready and you make substitutions.

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“So you have to play maybe two teams in two halves and the league’s going to have to say ‘okay, you can have 11 substitutions because you’re putting everybody at risk again’.”

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Asked whether players will be capable of playing two or three times a week, something which may be required if the season resumes, Lambert said: “I think most footballers now, the way the modern day game is, how fit they are, they can manage the turnover the games.

“And if you have to use the younger players, the academy kids, I think fans will accept it a lot more now just because of the situation that’s happened.

“I think it will change everybody’s perception on the world of sport, this virus, especially on the football side. If teams have to do that, have to play so many games within a week or over a couple of months, then I don’t think anybody will have any issues with younger players playing and having a turnover in your squad, I really don’t.”

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Footballers, especially the big earners in the Premier League, have come under increasing scrutiny for not taking a pay cut at a time when plenty of clubs are starting to put off-field staff on the government’s job retention scheme.

“I think that’s what will happen in time,” said Lambert, when asked if players needed to help out more financially. “I think lads will do that, they’ll probably get together and say ‘listen, we need to try and help’ in time.

“The criticism they take is pretty severe at certain times but most of the guys are good at heart really and I think they will definitely get together and say ‘okay, how can we help’, even if it’s just a little bit.

“Especially a club like ourselves, we’re based in the Suffolk area and you just hope that everybody clubs together and tries to help their local community really.”

Lambert said last week, in a column written for The Telegraph, that he and his coaching staff are willing to take a wage deferral during the current crisis.