'Toto's got better... He was maybe a little bit erratic before' – Lambert on Nsiala's role going forwards
PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:36 09 April 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert will restore Toto Nsiala to the starting line-up at Brentford tomorrow night, insisting he has no doubt that the much-improved defender could play an important role going forwards.
Nsiala and Jon Nolan arrived as part of a £2m double deal from side Shrewsbury Town last summer, the pair reunited with boss Paul Hurst having played key roles in an unlikely League One promotion push and Checkatrade Trophy run that ultimately both ended in Wembley heartache.
Having made 58 starts that campaign, Nsiala has been restricted to just 14 at Town so far – and only four under Lambert.
The 27-year-old produced one of his most assured displays in the 2-0 home defeat to Hull City recently, but was then replaced in the team by fit-again veteran James Collins for Saturday’s 2-1 win at Bolton.
“I thought Toto did well against Hull and he’ll come back in on Wednesday,” said Lambert, who revealed he will rotate his squad on a night in which only defeat, plus victories for Millwall (home to QPR) and Reading (at Norwich), would seal relegation to the third-tier.
“I think Toto’s got better since we’ve come in. I think he was maybe a little bit erratic when we first came in, I thought he had a mistake in him.
“But since we’ve played him the big lad has done ever so well. The great thing about Toto is that he missed football for a while (he was a free agent for six months in 2013 and went travelling to Vietnam) and then he came back and started to make a career for himself. The big lad’s had ups and downs but it’s great he’s come back.
“He’s a lovely kid as well, a really nice lad, and he gives you absolutely everything he’s got in his body. I thought against Hull he was very, very good.
“If you ask me if I think he can do it in League One, absolutely, I wouldn’t have a problem with him.”
Collins, 35, has been restricted to just five outings since signing as a free agent in January due to injuries. The experienced Welshman has shown his top level class when fit though.
“He’s been brilliant around the place and I’m pretty sure we’ll speak in the next few weeks to see what we’re thinking and how he’s feeling himself as well,” said Lambert, when asked if the former West Ham might be offered a new deal.
“I’ve been delighted with his contribution.”