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Town's four defeats have come without Norwood, but Lambert says team can cope without striker

PUBLISHED: 17:09 06 December 2019 | UPDATED: 17:09 06 December 2019

James Norwood picked up his fifth booking of the season when remonstarting with the referee following Ipswich Town's controversially disallowed goal against Wycombe. Photo: Ross Hall

James Norwood picked up his fifth booking of the season when remonstarting with the referee following Ipswich Town's controversially disallowed goal against Wycombe. Photo: Ross Hall

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Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says his team can cope without suspended striker James Norwood tomorrow.

The Blues' seven-goal joint top-scorer picked up his fifth booking of the season in the recent goalless home draw with Wycombe and is therefore ruled out of tomorrow afternoon's game against League One promotion rivals Coventry.

Town's record when Norwood starts reads: P14 W9 D5 L0 compared to P11 W4 D3 L4 without him. One of those games in which he didn't play was last Sunday's 1-1 draw against Coventry, at St Andrew's, in the FA Cup.

Whenever Norwood has been unavailable (groin problem) or rested in recent weeks, Lambert has generally played with a lone striker - Kayden Jackson, Will Keane and Ben Folami all fulfilling that role.

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"Losing James is a blow because he's been doing well, but I'm happy with how everyone's fitting in. It's okay, it's fine," insisted Lambert.

"The great thing about the team is they can adapt to it and that's a great compliment I can give to them.

"Whether I play three at the back, four at the back or whether Norwood plays up front I can adapt and they can adapt.

"James is different to what we've got in that way but we have some really good footballers in the side."

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Ipswich are set to play Coventry three times in 10 days (an FA Cup replay coming at Portman Road this coming Tuesday). They'll play again, at Portman Road, in March too.

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"The league's the most important," said Lambert. "The cup games are ones we'll always try and do well in and try to get through, so it's great we're still in them. But the league's the most important though."

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Coventry boss Mark Robins named a virtually full-strength side for last weekend's meeting and admitted afterwards that he was surprised by how much football Ipswich tried to play on the floor.

Lambert said: "This is now a different game and we may have a totally different way of doing things. I'll decide what we'll do.

"It's not great to play somebody three times in 10 days, but we try and know as much as we can before we play them."

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Asked if he might partner Jackson and Keane in attack, Lambert replied: "When somebody else goes out it's up to another player to go in and do as well as they can.

"Scoring last week was great for Will and he needed that goal because his general game was good. We'll see what team I pick between now and kick-off.

"Will's doing well but his injury has been horrendous. Hopefully he's getting back to what he can do.

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"I saw him with Preston years ago and he was excellent before he got an injury. Injuries can give you a mental scar and if you have too many it can be severe. But the way he's battled back from those deserves a lot of credit.

"He's not getting any younger but he's not old either so he's in that middle ground. He's doing really well so hopefully he can continue that."

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