Lambert’s been firm but fair with his players but now he’s expecting a reaction as Town head to Lincoln
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town take on Lincoln City this afternoon as they look to get back on track following Tuesday’s loss at Doncaster. ANDY WARREN previews the game.
The ‘R’ word
There’s one that’s been doing the rounds at Playford Road and online in the days following Town’s loss as Doncaster- reaction.
“I have no doubt we will see a reaction,” manager Paul Lambert said.
“We don’t know what the result will be or anything like that but we’ll certainly see a reaction I’m sure.”
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The Town boss seems convinced he will get what he wants this weekend, as his side look to get back on track after taking their first knock of the season.
Ipswich’s 2019/20 campaign was never the same after they were knocked off course at Accrington a year ago.
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They certainly can’t afford a repeat performance this time around.
As the Ipswich players trudged off the pitch at the Keepmoat Stadium on Tuesday night, thoughts began to wander towards the game at Lincoln and the moves Lambert would make to try and get things back on track.
How many changes will he make? Is it time for first league starts of the season for David Cornell, Luke Woolfenden or Mark McGuinness? How much of a drop in form would it take for a change to what has been an incredibly consistent selection process so far this season?
But it looks as if those changes are going to be limited, with Lambert insisting yesterday he won’t be panicked into making wholesale alterations to a side that, until Tuesday night, had performed to very high levels.
That means Tomas Holy will get another chance between the sticks following his kicking woes on Tuesday, Toto Nsiala will retain a starting spot following a display ridden with errors which brought back memories of last season, and James Wilson will hold off the two young defenders on the bench despite letting previously high standards slip.
And who can argue with that? Surely Lambert, who has insisted the blame for the Doncaster loss should fall on his shoulders, is right to stick by players that haven’t let him down so far this season and not react at the first sign of trouble?
What damage could kneejerk reactions do to Holy or Nsiala, particularly given the latter has worked so hard to build fragile confidence levels following a nightmare run last year? Lambert has stuck by his man before, starting Nsiala in the game immediately following a torrid afternoon at Portsmouth, which saw him subbed before the break to avoid a near-certain red card. He’s going to do so again.
The message has been clear, though. ‘Let me down once and I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. Let me down again and your place is under threat’.
Those words, firm but fair, should sharpen the minds of those in possession of the shirts and give those on the outside looking a feeling that their opportunity may come.
There is likely to be at least (and quite possibly at most) one change, though, with that coming in the attacking three. Oli Hawkins could return or one of Keanan Bennetts or Jack Lankester could start as Lambert freshens things up.
Son of an icon
Last season Lincoln’s star Nottingham Forest loanee was Tyler Walker – who had a real habit of scoring against the Blues.
He may be at Coventry now but the Imps have borrowed from the City Ground once again, this time bringing in a young man with a surname needing no introduction to Town fans.
Brennan Johnson is the son of former Ipswich striker David, a mainstay of George Burley’s side in the late 1990s, but is a very different player to his father.
He’s played wide on the left and right of a front three this season and is good on the ball as well as being a confident dribbler.
Ipswich will need to beware.
To me, Tayo
It won’t just be Johnson who is a familiar face to Town fans this afternoon.
Part of Michael Appleton’s new-look Imps side is former Town loanee Tayo Edun, who spent very little time on the pitch for the Blues during his temporary move from Fulham in 2018 but certainly made an impact when he was on the grass.
He started with a bang, scoring a last-gasp leveller on his debut against Blackburn before being sent off in the 1-1 draw with Aston Villa. He played just three more games after that, with his final appearance coming in Paul Hurst’s last game at Leeds before an eye injury ended his loan after Lambert’s arrival.
We managed to see that Edun is technically gifted young player who’s extremely comfortable on the ball.
He’s likely starter this afternoon, having joined Lincoln full-time in January.
Ah, Sincil Bank. Not the happiest of hunting grounds.
Aside from the last gasp FA Cup win last season, courtesy of Alan Judge, there’s been nothing but misery in view of Lincoln Cathedral for Ipswich Town.
After a near 60-year wait for a visit, 2017’s trip was a nightmare for Mick McCarthy’s men as they were dumped out of the FA Cup in front of the nation, leaving pundit and Town legend Terry Butcher pulling his hair out on live television.
Then, in the final game of a miserable 2019 (who knew that 2020 would be even more miserable) Lambert’s men were smacked 5-3 – a scoreline which actually flatters Ipswich.
That result prompted an hour-long dressing room investigation as staff and players alike had their say after Town had slipped to fourth in the table. Little did we know then that it would get a whole lot worse.
The class of 2020/21 can go some way to putting things right this afternoon.