Lambert ‘really happy’ with opening day win against Wigan

Town manager Paul Lambert and his assistant Stuart Taylor watch from the touchline.

Town manager Paul Lambert and his assistant Stuart Taylor watch from the touchline. Picture: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says some of his players know they’ve got a fight on their hands to get in the side following this afternoon’s televised 2-0 home win over Wigan Athletic.

The Blues kick-started their 2020/21 League One campaign with a win courtesy of goals in either half from Teddy Bishop (11) and substitute Gwion Edwards (80).

It was far from all plain sailing against the Latics, who have undergone a major fire sale this summer under administration, but ultimately victory and a clean sheet was secured.

Town were without several first-teamers through injury, including Kane Vincent-Young, Luke Woolfenden, Kayden Jackson, Cole Skuse and Jack Lankester, while the wantaway Flynn Downes was again left out and James Norwood had to make do with a place on the bench due to the impressive pre-season form of Aaron Drinan.

“Any win you get on the opening day is good, but the way we’re playing is the most pleasing aspect,” said Lambert. “I think we played some really good football. I’m really happy.

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“We might have been three up at half-time. If we had scored that goal through Freddie (Sears) then that would have been one of the best team goals we’ve scored. The move was great.

“I’m really happy with Bish’s goal. He’s a really good footballer and was unlucky not to get a second with the one that hit the post. Then Gwion came on and gave us something as well. The same with Emyr (Huws).”

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With Wigan having also had their chances in this game, particularly from set-pieces, Lambert said: “I really don’t know why people thought this might be easy, because you look at their team and there are some really good players there still.

“(Joe) Garner was a real handful here, Lee Evans, who I had at Wolves is a top player. They are a decent, decent side, so I knew this was always going to be a dangerous game. That proved to be the case.

“It’s a good start, but we’ve got 45 league games to go. The football we are playing at this minute is really, really good. The understanding, the link-up play, the rotation, the movements... It’s really, really good. I’m happy.”

Revealing that Woolfenden picked up a groin injury in training, the Blues boss said: “James Wilson got told ‘take your chance’ and I thought he was excellent. Him and Toto (Nsiala) were first class because they were up against, in my opinion, a real, real dangerous centre forward.

“I thought Jon Nolan was exceptional and credit to Bish for getting his goal. If he can add goals to his game then we’ve got a player.

“(Andre) Dozzell was getting better and then he gets man-marked. That’s a new thing for him and he has to learn how to lose people, which will happen. But it’s a compliment to him. My job is to try and help him to shake those markers. off.

“Jack (Lankester), believe it or not, had a bit of concussion on Friday after an accident in training. He’ll be okay. It’s not his back or anything like that.

“Woolfy just tweaked his groin a little bit again so we couldn’t take the chance.”

Drinan again led the line strongly in the first half before being replaced by Norwood at the break.

Asked if that was tactical or down to injury, Lambert replied: “Oh, definitely not tactical that’s for sure because he was brilliant. He got a little knock or strain on his thigh. He wanted to continue but we took the decision to take the lad off because we’ve got too many games.”

On Norwood, Lambert said: “He knows there’s a fight on his hands. As I’ve said before, as soon as you become complacent as a footballer you lose the edge. Drinan stepping up, (Oli) Hawkins coming in, (Kayden) Jackson to come back from injury... there’s a fight there and you have to want to be involved in that fight. There are some guys that can’t handle it, but I’m pretty sure he’ll want to have a fight.

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