‘Why do people think we’re automatically going to be in the top six?’ – Lambert on restrictive budget and League One expectations
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says his restrictive transfer budget should temper expectations as the club prepares for life in League One.
The Blues started their 2019/20 pre-season campaign with a 3-2 defeat at newly-promoted Bundesliga side Paderborn on Saturday, with 12 of the 22 players used having come through the club's academy.
Goalkeeper Tomas Holy and striker James Norwood are the only additions so far this transfer window, with the squad greatly trimmed following relegation from the Championship.
"I don't get the idea that people think there's money - where's the money coming from?" said Lambert. "We can't buy anybody, that's the fact of it, but that's no problem because we have some really good young players.
"They may need a little bit of help but we can't go and buy anybody, regardless of what anyone thinks about deals done before my time and the knock-on of money coming in (Town set to receive a £800k sell-on fee following Matt Clarke's big money move from Portsmouth to Brighton, plus potentially Adam Webster, Tyrone Mings and Kieffer Moore if they move on this summer).
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"It doesn't work like that and that's the reality of it, but that's no problem. We've got a good side."
He continued: "We haven't spent no money at all - none. If you spend money then I can understand people saying 'you have to be up there' and 'you have to win titles'. I get all that.
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"Without money it's a different project, but the objective is still the same. It's to try and be successful. But we haven't spent any money.
"Why do people think we're automatically going to be in the top six? Because we're Ipswich?"
Town have been made the second favourites for promotion behind Sunderland. Even with significant cost cuts, they will still have a wage budget that dwarfs the majority of third-tier clubs.
When it was put to Lambert that there will be a level of outside expectation, he replied: "There will be, absolutely, and there should be because the badge indicates it, the club indicates it, the history of the club indicates it, the support indicates it. That's fine, it's totally fine.
"If you spend a lot of money, a million percent there has to be total focus, focus, focus. But they're a really young side and it's a project.
"I'm not saying they're not a good side, I'm saying they're a really good side. They might make mistakes more than will happen with experienced players, but if they keep playing like that and they keep doing those things then we'll see what happens."
Asked if Bartosz Bialkowski's move to Millwall collapsing at the medical stage had a knock-on effect on his transfer budget, the Blues boss said: "No, because the club has been relegated. If what people tell me is true, that Bart could have gone last season for whatever, £3 million, if you get relegated, no one's going pay that type of money anymore. It's not going to happen.
"It never even got that far, that's the beauty of it all. I'm not disappointed. He's a really good goalkeeper, so from that point of view, a selfish point of view, I'm glad Bart's still here."