‘Maybe some edginess comes into their play... we’ve got nothing to lose’ – Lambert on trip to West Brom
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town face West Brom at The Hawthorns in a Championship clash this afternoon (3pm). STUART WATSON previews the action.
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert hopes his team can capitalise on any ‘edginess’ in West Brom’s play today.
The rock-bottom Blues – 12 points adrift of safety with 11 games to go – now looked destined for League One following last weekend’s last-gasp 2-1 home defeat to Reading.
West Brom, meanwhile, remain very much in the hunt for an immediate return to the Premier League sitting in fourth spot.
The Baggies, who saw star winger Harvey Barnes recalled by Leicester in January, come into this game off the back of defeats to promotion rivals Sheffield United and Leeds though.
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Darren Moore’s counter-attacking specialists have struggled to break sides down at The Hawthorns, winning just two of their last 10 at home – both against Wigan.
Asked if he saw the Midlands club as still being in with a shout of a top-two finish, Lambert said: “Without a doubt. I think Darren’s done great. It’s okay saying they’ve got a Premier League squad, but you’ve still got to manage those lads.
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“I like Darren, I think he comes across really well. He’s got a really good side, he kept most of the lads after they went down and the team is strong.
“But the division dictates that anybody can beat anybody. If you drop your guard on any given day you can lose.
“Nobody expected Leeds to beat them 4-0 last weekend. Maybe edginess comes into their game now with only so many games left. Play-offs might not get you out of the division.
“They have incredible expectancy levels on them, while we’ve got nothing to lose. So we got there no fear and will play our game.
“If we can get on top and get some edginess in the crowd, let’s see what happens.”
Lambert, who will return to the touchline after a two-game ban, says he is very much ‘looking forward to jumping around again’.
“I can honestly say nobody has really outplayed us,” said the Blues boss, whose record since taking over last October reads P21 W2 D6 L13.
“We’ve always been the team on the front foot. We’ve had to weather certain storms at times, but we’ve managed to do that.
“We’ve just lacked that cutting edge and not defended as strong as we should have done. That’s what’s let us down this whole campaign.”
Last five finishes: 20th, 10th, 14th, 13th, 17th (all Premier League)
Manager: P47 W23 D12 L12
Last game: L 4-0 Leeds (a)
Last home game: L 1-0 Sheff Utd
Last 10: LLWWDD WDLDW
Winning margins: 1 (x11), 2 (x5), 3+ (x4)
Margins of defeat: 1 (x7), 3+ (x3)
Last home attendance: 24,928
Most league starts: 35: Rodriguez, Johnstone; 31: Gibbs; 30: Dawson, Livermore.
Top-scorers: 17: Rodriguez; 16: Gayle, 9: Barnes; 5: Phillips
Ipswich Town team news
– James Collins is a doubt after leaving the 2-1 loss to Reading with a calf injury.
– Trevoh Chalobah has a thigh strain and is also a doubt.
– Ellis Harrison is progressing as he recovery from hamstring trouble.
– Jonas Knudsen is available again after serving a one-match ban following his red card at Wigan.
– Paul Lambert says he could look at a few different players during the games at West Brom and Tuesday’s match at Bristol City.
– Lambert says Gwion Edwards is ‘in his thinking’ after a string of positive displays from the bench.
– The Ipswich boss has also said he wants to take a look at Josh Emmanuel and Tristan Nydam before the end of the season.
– Will Keane (hamstring), Grant Ward, Freddie Sears (both knee), Jack Lankester (back), Tom Adeyemi (Achilles) and Emyr Huws (knee) are out.
West Brom team news
– The Baggies are set to welcome back winger Matt Phillips, who has been dealing with an ankle injury for the last seven weeks.
– Midfielders James Morrison, Stefan Johansen and Chris Brunt could all return to Darren Moore’s starting line-up following injury trouble.
Opposition key man
Striker Jay Rodriguez leads the Baggies’ scoring charts with 17 goals, one of which came in their 2-1 victory at Portman Road in November. He’s also contributed five assists and is a threat both in the air and on the ground if given space to work.
West Brom win - 4/11
Draw - 17/4
Ipswich Town win - 9/1
Andy Woolmer (Northamptonshire)
Ipswich Town 1 West Brom 2
Date: Friday, November 23, 2018
A vocal Portman Road crowd couldn’t help bridge a gap in quality as Town fell to a valiant defeat. Jay Rodriguez (26) and Harvey Barnes (77) put the Baggies clear before Kayden’s Jackson’s goal (85) set up a grandstand finish in which Jack Lankester’s free-kick shaved the post.
West Brom 1 Ipswich Town 0
Baggies class will ultimately show. But they will hopefully be made to sweat.