‘It will take a huge effort... but anything is possible’ – Lambert not giving up on great escape ahead of Hull visit
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town host Hull City in a Championship clash at Portman Road this afternoon. STUART WATSON previews the action.
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has reiterated that ‘anything is possible’ ahead of today’s match with Hull City at Portman Road.
The Blues are 13 points adrift of safety at the foot of the Championship table with just 24 points left to play for.
It would require a near flawless eight-game finish for Town to stand any chance of pulling off the greatest of escapes.
That’s something which looks highly unlikely given the Blues have won just three games all season and finish the campaign with games against high-flying Sheffield United and Leeds.
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“We have to really go for it now,” said Lambert, whose team have drawn six of their last seven matches 1-1.
“We’ve played really, really well, but have just lacked that bit of cutting edge.
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“I can’t fault the effort, commitment or the atmosphere. All I can ask is for a little break at the top end of the pitch that I think our players deserve.
“If we’d had that we’d be in a different place. Over the last six weeks I think we’ve been outstanding and should have had more than what we’ve got.
“It’s going to take a huge effort to get the wins we need, but anything is possible.
“Until somebody tells you it’s mathematically over then you don’t believe it’s over and you keep going.
“We’re certainly playing well enough to make a right good fist of it.”
Town produced some encouraging displays against West Brom, Bristol City and Nottingham Forest prior to last weekend’s international break, proving a match for three sides in the promotion mix.
“I never get caught up in whether it’s come at a good or bad time,” said Lambert.
“The lads had a few days off and they’ve come back seamlessly. The level of training has always been high. We never let them slack off.”
On Nigel Adkins’ mid-table Hull, who saw their faint play-off hopes fade prior to the break, Lambert said: “You’ve got to remember that they have still got lads who played in the Premier League. They’ve not long been down.
“It’s a tough game for us. Every game is hard. We’re not favourites or anything like that but if anyone has watched us over the last couple of months then they’ll know we’re a good side.”
Last five finishes: 18th (Champ), 18th (Prem), 4th (Champ), 18th, 16th (Prem)
Managers: Nigel Adkins (Dec’ 17): P70 W23 D19 L28
Last game: D 2-2 QPR (h)
Last away game: L 3-2 Norwich
Last 10 games: DLLWW LDLWL
Margins of victory: 1 (x7), 2 (x5), 3+ (x2)
Margins of defeat: 1 (x8), 2 (x4), 3+ (x5)
Away form: W5 D4 L10 F23 A38
Most league starts: 38: Marshall; 37: Bowen; 33: Henriksen; 30: Kane; 28: Irvine
Top-scorers: 21: Bowen; 11: Campbell
2008 – Last time Town beat Hull (D3 L9)
3 – Clean sheets in 40 for Town
Ipswich have never gone an entire season without scoring three or more in a home game. 18/19: 0 (x4), 1 (x12), 2 (x3)
Ipswich Town team news
• Cole Skuse faces a late fitness test on the ankle injury which forced him off in the 1-1 home draw with Nottingham Forest.
• Trevoh Chalobah withdrew from England U20 duty last week with a knock but has been passed fit. Flynn Downes and Andre Dozzell were both part of that squad.
• Alan Judge (Republic of Ireland) and Jonas Knudsen (Denmark) only returned from international duty yesterday.
• James Collins is back in training following a calf injury.
• Will Keane (hamstring) is targeting next weekend’s game at Bolton for a comeback.
• Emyr Huws played an hour for the U23s on Tuesday but won’t be rushed back into first team action.
• Freddie Sears, Jack Lankester, Grant Ward, Ben Morris and Ben Folami won’t play again this season.
• Jordy de Wijs could replace veteran centre-back Liam Ridgewell after missing the last two games through illness.
• Midfielder Marcus Henriksen serves out a two-game ban.
• Angus MacDonald remains sidelined, but Daniel Batty, Ondrej Mazuch, Jon Toral and James Weir are all back in contention after injuries.
Opposition key man
Flying winger has netted 21 goals and a major threat cutting in from the right on his left foot. Scored in his last three games against Town. Looks destined for a big summer move.
Ipswich Town 11/5
Hull City 6/4
John Brooks (Leicestershire)
Games: 32, Yellows: 118, Reds: 5
Hull City 2 Ipswich Town 0
Date: Saturday, September 15, 2018
There were few positives to take from this hesitant and flaky performance after the international break. Flynn Downes was robbed of the ball ahead of Jarrord Bowen’s opener (3), then Jordan Spence produced some powderpuff defending for Jackson Irvine’s late clincher (90).
Ipswich Town 2 Hull City 2
Neither team, realistically, has much left to play for. Neither watertight. Both have threats. Could make for an open and entertaining game.