'I don't see the point of this game' - Lambert
PUBLISHED: 06:00 03 September 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says he 'doesn't see the point' of the EFL Trophy.
The Blues boss - whose side top the League One table following an unbeaten August - is set to make sweeping changes for tonight's Southern Section Group A opener against Tottenham Hotspur's Under-21s at Portman Road (7.45pm).
Tickets for the game are priced at £10 (and £1 for kids) with a crowd of around 5,000 expected. A drawn match is followed by a penalty shootout and the chance to earn a bonus point.
The top two from each group progress - the Blues also set to face Colchester and Gillingham - with four knockout rounds then standing in the way of a final at Wembley.
"I just don't see the point in the game and the tournament - I don't get it," said Lambert.
"I'll definitely change (the team). The amount of games is ridiculous. It's too many.
"That's why you get so many bad games. Guys are tired and fatigued. Fans want to see good, high quality football. You're not going to get it with 60-odd games.
"That's just my opinion. I think it's crazy to have another tournament. We have too many games in this country."
Shrewsbury and Sunderland played in excess of 60 games when reaching both the League One Play-Off Final and EFL Trophy Final in 2017/18 and 2018/19 respectively. Both teams lost on both occasions at Wembley.
Ipswich will play two fewer league games this year due to Bury's expulsion and have already exited the Carabao Cup at the first hurdle. With the FA Cup to come, they'll play a minimum of 49 matches.
Lambert has assembled a first-team squad that numbers 32 players following the recent additions of Kane Vincent-Young, Anthony Georgiou and Will Keane.
Today's game will give him an opportunity to give some game-time to fit-again players such as Jon Nolan and Emyr Huws, non-regulars such as Will Norris, Janoi Donacien and Jordan Roberts, plus youngsters such as Idris El Mizouni and Armando Dobra.
"I've got enough players to play the game," admitted Lambert, when asked if he still felt his squad wasn't strong enough to compete on all fronts. "We'll go and try and win and get off to a start in it, but the league is the most important thing."