Lambert on ‘hell of a strike’ from Dobra in EFL Trophy win, plus Downes and Ward injury updates
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert hailed Armando Dobra’s wonder strike in tonight’s 2-0 EFL Trophy win against Gillingham and then revealed that Flynn Downes will be out of action for ‘a few months’.
A young Blues side that contained teenage trio Elkan Baggott, Liam Gibbs and Tyreece Simpson produced an impressive display to comfortably see off the more experienced visitors and keep alive hopes of progressing beyond the competition’s group stages.
Dobra broke the deadlock with a stunning strike that cannoned in off the underside of the bar (57), before midfielder Gibbs provided an excellent assist for Ben Folami to seal the win (75).
“I thought the football was incredible, both from the young guys and the three experienced guys - Woolfy (Luke Woolfenden), (David) Cornell and Janoi (Donacien). As a team I thought the football we played was incredible, against a really good side.
“We’ve started the season well. We were really, really good.”
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Asked what he made of 17-year-old centre-back Baggott’s composed senior debut, Lambert said: “You may as well talk about the team because I’m not going to single out any player. That would do them a disservice. All of them were incredible, every single one. It was really, really good, I’m really pleased.
“I’ve got my own thoughts in my own head about individuals, but it’s unfair I think to say one guy is... Because you never know how it’s going to affect young players.”
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On Dobra’s super finish and Gibbs’ fine assist, he said: “It was a great goal from Dobra, a hell of a strike, It was different class actually. He did really, really well the whole game. Gibbs I think is a really good footballer, has a good football brain, but it’s small steps.”
Asked if he still planned to loan out Dobra in the coming days, Lambert replied: “Aye. I don’t think everyone should get bowled over by how well we played. It’s only one game. We played really well against a good side, we played some really terrific football. Physically we knew we couldn’t beat Gillingham, so we spoke about avoiding that. I thought the speed of the ball, the two-touch, was first class.
“But they need time. That isn’t going to happen overnight. They need time to develop. The way they played tonight though I’m pretty sure they impressed a few people – and that was the aim.”
He continued: “We have to earn the right to win the game. We played incredible. We used the ball really well, we made the pitch really big, we had some really good movement. We’ve done really, really well. It’s a small step.
“I watched the young guys in the last few weeks against Millwall and Norwich. I’ve seen some really good things from certain guys. Whoever impresses me when I come and watch, we’ll give them chances.”
With Lambert only fielding two players that are ‘first teamers’ in the eyes of the EFL Trophy rules, Woolfenden and Donacien, the Blues are set to be handed a £5,000 fine.
“I told you at the weekend what I was going to do,” he said. “I think it’s an absolute disgrace that we have to play these games. Every team has injuries all over the place and we’re in the middle of a pandemic. If there’s a fine we have to take it, but it’s not right to play this tournament in my opinion.
“Even though people might say ‘well it gave those kids a chance’, I still think it’s wrong we’re playing this tournament in this modern world of football. I didn’t want to play this game. I think it’s a nonsense. We have 50-odd games to cram into 35 weeks. There’s not even a sponsor for the competition, they haven’t even played the final from last year yet! It’s a nonsense.
Asked for the latest on Flynn Downes (knee) and Stephen Ward (Achilles), who both went off injured in last weekend’s 1-1 draw at MK Dons, Lambert said: “Flynn will be out for a few months. We have to get on with it. It’s a bad one. I don’t think it needs surgery, but it’s a bad one and we’re going to lose him for a couple of months.
“Wardy won’t be a few months, he’ll hopefully be back pretty quick. Unless he makes an incredibly recovery it looks like he won’t be involved on Saturday (at Blackpool). If he’s out then somebody else has to step up.”