Lambert on FA Cup draw at Coventry and making Downes club’s youngest ever captain

A disappointed Paul Lambert walks off the pitch after the draw against Coventry Picture Pagepix

A disappointed Paul Lambert walks off the pitch after the draw against Coventry Picture Pagepix

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert thought his team looked comfortable up until Coventry City’s last-gasp equaliser in the FA Cup second round this afternoon.

The Blues took the lead at St Andrew's through Will Keane's close-range finish (51) and controlled possession well for much of the game. Coventry pushed hard for an equaliser in the dying moments though and, after James Wilson cleared off the line and Will Norris made a flying save, their pressure told when Callum O'Hare rifled home after a long throw was not dealt with.

It means Town will be facing Coventry three times in 10 days, with the Portman Road replay coming three days after the teams meet again in Birmingham for a top-six League One clash on Saturday.

"I thought we were comfortable in the game, I really did," said Lambert. "Coventry threw everything at us in the last 15 minutes or so and I still felt really comfortable.

"We should have done better with the equaliser, but overall I was really happy. There were a lot of good things there.

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"I'm happy with a lot of aspects of the game. I'm not happy we've got another game with the replay, but we're still in the hat and we'll try and get through.

"I thought (Will) Keane did really well, he got his goal, I thought (Alan) Judgey was starting to look like his old self again, I thought (Andre) Dozzell and (Flynn) Downes were excellent together in the middle of the pitch, Will Norris was a top, top keeper, (Jon) Nolan I thought was very good. There were a lot of good passages of play and a lot of good football."

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With the draw for the third round taking place at 7pm on Monday (BBC Two), Lambert was asked if extra games could prove a blessing in terms of keeping his large squad fit and happy.

"That's one way to look at it," he replied. "It's still not ideal that you get a replay, especially when you're that close to putting it to bed."

On whether the league game against Coventry was the one he wanted to win the most, the Blues boss said: "You want to win them all. You never go into any run thinking 'I want to win that one over that one'. It's a competitive sport and you play to win. You don't play to prioritise. We're playing well enough, that's for sure."

On goalscorer Keane, he said: "He's a terrific finisher and makes some really good runs in the box. In training, when he goes through one-v-one, you always think he is more than likely going to score. If we can keep him at it, with hopefully no injuries, he can be a big, big asset."

On playing in front of a sub 3,000 crowd inside a 30,000 capacity stadium, Lambert said: "Our fans were great. Coventry's situation I don't know too much around, other than this is mot their own ground. It's not great when there are a lot of empty seats like that."

Meanwhile, Lambert explained his decision to make 20-year-old Flynn Downes the youngest captain in the club's history.

"I think he's been plating really well," he said. "He's been great for us since the start of the season.

"You're never quite sure if people can handle the captaincy. Whether he takes it on further in his career, nobody knows. It's a lot of responsibility being a captain, but he's certainly merited having it because he's a really good player.

"It's a lot of responsibility being a captain. If you ask me 'can he do it?', I've got no doubt he can do it. Some people are uncomfortable being a captain. Some people are not too sure about it, some people thrive on it, some people take it to the extremes.

"If you ask me about his temperament and whether he can handle being captain of a football club, with the way he is and the way he's playing, then the answer is yes."

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