'We have to protect him from himself' - Lambert to tread carefully with Huws
PUBLISHED: 12:11 16 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:48 16 August 2019
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says he will keep Emyr Huws wrapped in cotton wool following the midfielder's long-awaited return to action.
The 25-year-old made his first competitive appearances in 20 months in midweek, playing 66 minutes of the 3-1 defeat at Luton Town in the Carabao Cup.
It was another major milestone for the Welshman who, having had so many set-backs with his knee problems last season, was involved in all five of Town's pre-season match days - including a full match at Notts County.
Huws is, understandably, now desperate to make up for lost time. But Lambert says the midfielder's enthusiasm to play may have to have to be reined in at times.
"It was his first game in 21 months, or whatever it was, and that's a huge hurdle for him to get over," said the Blues boss, speaking ahead of tomorrow's game at Peterborough United.
"He's a very talented footballer but we have to nurture him in because he's been out for an incredible length of time.
"I'm really happy with the way he's training. He's progressing and he's not really missing training now.
"We have to look after him for his own good because the last thing we want is for him to break down with that knee again and then be back to square one.
"What he's done is great but we have to protect him from himself."
Lambert made 10 changes to his team for Tuesday night's loss at Kenilworth Road.
Alan Judge got some more minutes under his belt, having missed most of pre-season with a broken wrist, while Gwion Edwards was handed his first outing since April having missed all of pre-season with a groin issue.
Jon Nolan, who has been sidelined with a calf issue since March, returned to the squad for the first time and was an unused substitute.
"Gwion's slightly ahead of where Nolan is," said Lambert. "It's good to have them back and the good thing is they're training with us now.
"It's maybe a big ask for Gwion to play again, just being back, but if he comes through everything ok he gives us another option there.
"The frustrating thing is some have had problems from last season and are taking a little longer to get back, but that's just part and parcel of the game."
Young midfielder Idris El Mizouni is the latest to join Town's lengthy injury list, with Toto Nsiala, Teddy Bishop, Jack Lankester, Luke Garbutt and Tristan Nydam all sidelined for weeks/months.
"I'll see how Idris is this morning," said Lambert. "He would have played against Luton but he hurt his ankle.
"He's a huge talent who had been doing really well so we'll see how he is."
He added: "We have one or two little knocks at the minute but we'll assess them this morning and decide who plays."