‘If they hide behind that then there’s a problem’ – Lambert tells players his touchline ban is not an excuse for levels to drop
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Ipswich Town take on Wigan Athletic, at the DW Stadium, in a Championship clash this afternoon. STUART WATSON previews the action.
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says his touchline ban can’t be used as an excuse for players not performing in today’s crunch clash at Wigan Athletic.
Lambert has been forced to sit in the stands for two big matches against fellow relegation fighters after The FA passed judgement on his involvement in recent East Anglian derby flash points.
It looks to be now or never for the rock-bottom Blues if they are to pull off the greatest of escapes, the gap to safety nine points heading into the last 13 games.
Wigan are 20th, while Reading, who visit Portman Road next weekend, are 21st.
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Asked if his absence from the sidelines would have an impact, Lambert – whose team drew 1-1 with both Derby and Stoke at home last week – said: “It shouldn’t. As a footballer your manager can only do so much. Once the players cross that white line it’s up to them to perform.
“It would be an easy option for players to hide behind that. Once they’re out there it shouldn’t matter who’s in the dugout. Their job is to try and win for the football club and the supporters.
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“It doesn’t matter if I’m there or not. If they hide behind that, then there’s a problem. You have to do you own job.
“The players know the level and intensity we try to get to. By matchday you should be ready for the game.”
Assistant manager Stuart Taylor, who worked alongside Lambert at Wolves and Stoke, will be the man bouncing around in the technical area today.
“The lads are in good hands,” said Lambert. “If you ask me ‘can he handle it?’ – no problem.
“Gilly (Matt Gill, first team coach) will be the same, Jimmy (Walker, goalkeeper coach) the same, Jim (Henry, fitness coach) the same.
“We’re close-knit. I can trust them. We discuss things and ultimately it’s up to me to then say ‘we’ll go this way’ and ‘this is what we’re doing’. Everybody accepts that.”
Blues midfielder Trevoh Chalobah said: “We always know the game plan, what the gaffer wants and what he is expecting from each and every one of us. We just need to execute it.
“Even if he’s not there in his usual place on the touchline we know what we have to do.”
Match preview inside