Lambert on Norwood future and the need to trim large squad

Ipswich Town Assistant Manager Stuart Taylor faces the media after the game at Cambridge United. Pre

Ipswich Town Assistant Manager Stuart Taylor faces the media after the game at Cambridge United. Pre-season isn't everything. Picture Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert believes striker James Norwood will still be at the club by the time the domestic transfer window closes on October 11.

Town beat a host of other League One clubs to the prolific Tranmere front man’s signature last summer, handing him a three-year deal. His debut campaign at Portman Road contained 11 goals, but was blighted by groin injuries.

It’s understood that Fleetwood, Swindon and Dundee United have all shown interest in him this summer.

Asked if he saw the 29-year-old remaining at the club, Lambert said this morning: “I do, I do. James has been injured and he’s just come back to fitness. He had a little strain on his hip the other day and I think tomorrow’s game (against Bristol Rovers in the EFL Cup) will be too early for him.

“James, in my opinion, will be here.”

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It’s the second time that Lambert hasn’t exactly offered a ‘not going anywhere’ response to questions about Norwood’s future.

Speaking last month about reported interest in the striker, Lambert said: “I don’t know about Dundee United – could they afford him? I don’t think so.

“James needs to show me what he can do to get back into the team and get back to doing what he did at Tranmere. If he does that then he’s got another chance here to go and perform the way he can do.”

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Meanwhile, the Blues boss was asked whether he feels he has to trim his large squad over the coming weeks.

MORE: ‘Do I look as if I feel under pressure?’ – Lambert on season ahead

“I think we have to,” he said. “Obviously the 22 players aged 21 or over (salary cap) rule comes into it. Some guys will maybe need to move on because the squad is too big.

“We have got a lot of young kids who I think need to go out on loan and play competitive football now. I think they’ve moved away from 23 level. They have to go out and play competitive football.”

Today, left-back Bailey Clements and forward Kai Brown have both joined National League side Dagenham & Redbridge on loan.

So far this summer, Town have seen Will Norris, Luke Garbutt, Will Keane, Danny Rowe and Jordan Roberts depart. In has come David Cornell, Stephen Ward and Oli Hawkins.

Asked if that was the end of incoming business, Lambert said: “We can’t buy anybody. We’ve not got that money to go out and buy players.

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“We’ve got a big enough squad. The three lads who have come in have done great. Stephen Ward is a great pro, you can tell he’s been at the top level for a long, long time. Cornell has not trained as much as everybody else, but he’ll get up to speed soon. And big Oli (Hawkins) has been a breath of fresh air. He’ll be a handful.”

Crystal Palace have had two bids rejected for Flynn Downes, the latest short of £2m, with the two clubs a long way apart on valuation.

If the Premier League club do come up with an acceptable offer for the wantaway midfielder, would Lambert expect to get the money to reinvest in his squad?

“You’d like to think so,” he said. “If you sell any player you’d like to think it will come back into the club. But I understand the whole pandemic thing has crashed into everything here.

“That’s a dialogue one. This is certainly not a normal situation.”

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