Lambert to hand late fitness tests to Downes and Norwood ahead of Southend trip

Luke Chambers goes up for a corner during Town's 2-0 home defeat to Rotherham Picture: ROSS HALLS

Luke Chambers goes up for a corner during Town's 2-0 home defeat to Rotherham Picture: ROSS HALLS - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says he doesn’t yet know if Flynn Downes, James Norwood, Emyr Huws and Will Keane will be fit enough to start tomorrow’s League One match at struggling Southend.

In-form midfielder Downes, an ever-present during the Blues' unbeaten 11 game start, has sat out the recent 2-0 defeats to Accrington Stanley (a) and Rotherham (h) with a hip injury he sustained playing for England Under-20s at the start of last week.

"He seems alright," said Lambert. "He trained yesterday. If there any problems I'm pretty sure I'll find out shortly.

"He started the season brilliant, he's been really excellent with his form and going away with England is great for him, it's a different experience.

"The last two games people might say 'that player's out and this player is out and that's why we lost the game', but that's not the case because the guys that came in are really good players in their own right.

"We lost the games because collectively we weren't good enough.

"Flynn coming back gives me a problem - do I put him back in or do I wait? - but he was playing really, really well."

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Norwood underwent minor surgery on a long-term troublesome groin injury last Monday. He sat out the Accrington game before playing the final 23 minutes of Wednesday night's home loss.

Asked if the striker had suffered any reaction to the injury during that cameo, Lambert replied: "Not at the minute, no. We'll see how he is this morning. Is he fit enough to start? I don't know. He's a unique kind of guy. I'll have a chat with him and see how he feels."

Midfielder Huws and striker Keane both started in midweek, though Lambert has previously voiced doubts as to whether the duo, who are both working their way back to full fitness following long injury lay offs, are capable of playing back-to-back matches at this stage of their recoveries.

"They're getting better, that's the great thing about the two of them," said Lambert. "It's just about seeing how they feel and how quickly they can regroup and get the intensity back."

Tottenham loanee Anthony Georgiou had a positive impact off the bench against Rotherham. Asked if the Cypriot international, who has made seven substitute appearances so far, was getting closer to making his full Town debut, Lambert replied: "I'll decide. I've got a lot of options. Whenever he's come off the bench he's done well for us."

Toto Nsiala and Andre Dozzell were both subbed at half-time of the defeat at Accrington and subsequently dropped out of the squad completely for the Rotherham game.

"It was no slant on those two lads coming off," said Lambert. "It was just the decision I made to see if we could try and get back in the game. They'll be a huge part of things going forwards. I don't have any problems with the two of them being involved."