‘I pick a team and system that I think can win a game’ – Lambert on formation changes
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Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert insists he is not wedded to a single formation.
The Blues boss primarily used a 4-3-3 system on the way to relegation, but has deployed a 4-4-2 set-up for the majority of an unbeaten start to life in League One.
James Norwood and Kayden Jackson have formed a good strike partnership, bagging four and three goals respectively for the early table-toppers.
The one time Lambert didn't start with two up top was in last Tuesday's home clash with AFC Wimbledon. Norwood looked isolated as a lone front man, Town trailed 1-0 and then, after Jackson replaced midfielder Andre Dozzell on the hour, the Blues scored twice late on to secure victory.
It was back to 4-4-2 for Saturday's 5-0 victory at Bolton.
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Asked if 4-3-3 was the formation he wanted to play long-term, Lambert - whose side face Shrewsbury Town at Portman Road on Saturday - said: "Not really, no. I pick a team and system that I think can win a game.
"And I pick lads that I think need games to get their game time up as well."
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Only five players - Tomas Holy, Myles Kenlock, Flynn Downes, Cole Skuse and Norwood - have started all five league games thus far, with rotation having been the name of the game.
And Lambert, whose team top the table following three wins and two draws, will soon have plenty more selection headaches.
Alan Judge, Gwion Edwards and Emyr Huws are all getting back up to speed, Kane Vincent-Young, Anthony Georgiou and Will Keane were all signed last week to boost options, while Toto Nsiala, Luke Garbutt and Jon Nolan are close to making comebacks.
Slightly further down the line, Freddie Sears and Jack Lankester are to come back into the mix.
"The system and personnel can change, but the philosophy is still the same," said Lambert.
"High tempo and passing the ball - that's always the mantra for the football club.
"If you play for me and if you play for this club you have to be a certain type of player.
"You have to deal with it. You have to adapt. We need a squad, we need everybody to go the same way, and I always think if you sacrifice me for we, then you'll be fine."