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'I think we have to win' - Lambert on Town's crunch clash with Reading

PUBLISHED: 17:30 01 March 2019

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert believes the home game against Reading is one his side 'have to win' if they are to beat the drop. Photo: PA

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert believes the home game against Reading is one his side 'have to win' if they are to beat the drop. Photo: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert admits tomorrow's game against Reading at Portman Road is one his side 'have to win'.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert. The Blues are nine points adrift of safety at the foot of the Championship table with 12 games to play. Photo: PAIpswich Town manager Paul Lambert. The Blues are nine points adrift of safety at the foot of the Championship table with 12 games to play. Photo: PA

The Blues looked to be entering the last chance saloon in their fight to avoid relegation to the third tier – a level the club hasn’t played at since 1957.

Reading arrive in Suffolk just above the drop zone, rock-bottom Town nine points adrift of safety with 12 games to play.

MORE: ‘So many things that come into play when thinking about the future’ – Judge on Town contract talks

Cutting the gap to six points would keep alive hopes of the great escape. Seeing that gap stay the same, or grow (Rotherham host Blackburn today) would feel like a fatal blow heading into tough away games against West Brom and Bristol City.

“If we can win it puts us right in the fight,” said Lambert, whose team come into the game off the back of successive 1-1 draws against Derby, Stoke and Wigan.

MORE: ‘We are prepared to exploit all the weak points we have found’ – Reading boss Gomes on facing Ipswich Town

“I think we’re playing well enough to win. If we get that little bit of luck we’re more than capable of winning.”

Asked if was a ‘must win’ match, the Blues boss replied: “I think we have to win, yeah. We have to win. If we do that, great, then we move on. I think there will be a great atmosphere in the stadium.”

MORE: Bishop back, while Collins will face late fitness test – Ipswich Town team news ahead of Reading visit

A crowd of more than 22,000 is expected at Portman Road for this crunch clash after the club slashed match day prices by more than 50% – adult prices are £12 in all areas – for the fourth time since Lambert’s arrival.

“We’ve played with pressure all season,” said Lambert. “We’ve been bottom of the table most of the season – but that doesn’t show. That’s the beauty of it.

MORE: ‘Top players can take the criticism and crack on’ – Lambert explains Downes comments

“Normally when a team is at the bottom it’s long ball, long ball and kick and rush football. We certainly don’t do that. We try and play football.

“They’ve been brave on the ball and in the last three games we should, in my opinion, have taken at least seven points out of nine.

MORE: Lambert rules out free agent signing after Keane injury blow... but could look for striker converts in his squad

“Sometimes you see games where players are frightened to take the ball and there is apprehension in the stands – but I know that won’t be the case on Saturday.

“It will be absolutely jumping again. Everyone is right behind us. It’s going to be one hell of an atmosphere.

MORE: Three from six will have to go - how the experts see the battle to beat the drop playing out

“Everybody’s coming really vibrant and we’ll try everything we can to win.”

MORE: Keeping hopes alive, selection issues and polishing the diamond - questions ahead of ‘massive’ Reading clash

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