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Ipswich Town 1 v 1 Preston North End
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 3rd November 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Lambert Era Begins With Huge Home Game Against Preston
Friday, 2nd Nov 2018 12:46

Town will be looking for their first home win in more than six months when the Paul Lambert era gets under way against Preston North End at Portman Road on Saturday, a match the new boss admits is huge in the fight to avoid the drop.

The bottom-of-the-table Blues are yet to win at home this season with their last victory on their own soil the 1-0 defeat of Barnsley in Mick McCarthy’s final fixture in charge in April, one of only two wins at Portman Road during 2018.

Lambert admits Saturday’s game against the Lilywhites, managed fellow ex-Norwich boss Alex Neil, and next weekend’s trip to Reading are significant in Town's battle to avoid relegation to the third tier for the first time in 62 years.

“The next two games are huge,” the 49-year-old said at Tuesday’s press conference. “Every game is huge in the league, whether you're trying to get out of the league or stay in it, every game is massive.

“This is a big football club with a really good fanbase behind it. If they can not judge us by what's happened before, if they come and get right behind us, it'll be a brilliant atmosphere.

“And I'm pretty sure they will, I don't have any fear or trepidation that they're not going to come out and support their team. They will.

“But we have to give them something as well, for 90, 95 minutes. They have to come to the stadium as well and enjoy their time, they pay a lot of money to come to the games, they pay money to come and see the team win.

“So when they're in that stadium, they can also have fun, they can enjoy it. But we have to give them something as well.”

He knows he’s not coming into his new role at an easy time but says all managerial positions are challenging.

“Every job is tough, whether you're Manchester City or United, Liverpool, every manager's got a challenge on their hands. It doesn't matter where a team is in the table, every job you go into, there's a challenge there,” he added.

“I'm really looking forward to it, that's for sure. I'm not frightened by it, I'm really looking forward to it. I know it's a huge club with a great history behind it, but we have to start somewhere.

“You respect the club because of the great players that have been here, but we can't be compared to years gone by. We have to try and do our own little bit.

“You respect the history because it's huge - the UEFA Cup, the great managers this club has had - but we have to have a start, or else we've no chance. We have to do it ourselves and if we do that, we'll do fine this year.”

Lambert was at last Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Millwall and says that the Blues’ confidence-lacking display was typical of a struggling team.

“It’s not just Saturday's game, there's been a few games,” he said. “That's normal when you're not winning, that can happen.

“As I said to them the other day, forget what's happened in the past, you have to look to the future now and what's going to happen. I'm sure we'll see a different team.

“Whether we win on Saturday, I don't know - nobody knows that - but I'm sure you'll see a different team.”

He knows there’s no magic formula for turning things around: “There’s no secret in the game of football. You just try and win games and that keeps everybody pretty happy.

“I think what we have to do here is create an atmosphere where we're going to have a lot of fun, we're going to try everything we can, and we're going to try and win games.

“If we do that, we've got a great chance, it'll be a better place to come and work when the atmosphere's a lot more upbeat. We'll try and generate that, and if we do that, we've got half a chance.”

Above all else Lambert wants everyone at Portman Road to be together as one: “We need everybody behind everybody. We need the staff, we need the players, we need the fans to be united. If we do that, as long as they see a team really fighting and playing a different way, they'll get right behind us.”

Since his Tuesday press conference Lambert has said he’s been pleased with what he has seen of the players in training - “I took the team yesterday and I was really pleased with them, with their effort and the way they went about it and tried to take things on board” - and believes they are ready for Saturday’s match.

“We’re ready for that, that’s for sure,” he said at Thursday’s Meet the Club event. “Nobody can predict the result, nobody can do that but I know 100 per cent they’ll be ready for it and we’ll do everything we can to try and win the game. It’s a tough game but we’re in a good place at the minute.”

Second-guessing Lambert’s first Town team is tough, however, he seems likely to start with Bartosz Bialkowski in goal ahead of Dean Gerken, his keeper during his time at Colchester.

Gerken is one of four players to have worked under Lambert before, Jordan Graham having been at Aston Villa and Wolves, Janoi Donacien at Villa and Tom Adeyemi at Norwich.

In defence, skipper Luke Chambers and Matthew Pennington are likely to be the centre-halves with Jonas Knudsen at left-back. Donacien, Jordan Spence or perhaps Grant Ward are in contention at right-back.

Lambert, who said there were one or two little knocks which would be assessed over the course of the week at Tuesday’s press conference, seems likely to line his team up in a system along the lines of 4-1-4-1 or 4-2-3-1 judging by his time in charge at Stoke in the second half of last season.

In midfield, Cole Skuse is a doubt with the ankle injury he suffered at Leeds and then aggravated at Millwall but is thought likely to be OK to start in his usual holding role. None of the other players recently sidelined with injury are expected back in the squad this weekend.

Trevoh Chalobah, Andre Dozzell, Jon Nolan, Tayo Edun and Flynn Downes are all in contention for the other central midfield positions and Ward, Graham, Gwion Edwards and Danny Rowe for the wide roles, while Freddie Sears and Kayden Jackson are the candidates to start as lone striker.

Preston will be without long-term absentees Billy Bodin and Josh Harrop, who are both out with knee injuries, but have no new concerns going into the game, while Brandon Barker (groin) and Ryan Ledson (knee) are both expected to return to the squad.

Lilywhites boss Alex Neil, whose team are unbeaten in five, is pleased to go into the match having had no midweek fixture: “It’s good to have a few days ahead of the game. In the Championship you don’t always get a lot of time to recover.

“Performing well and winning games breeds confidence. You can’t just hand somebody confidence.

“We will perform better the higher we move up the table because there’s less pressure. But we have to win games to do that.

“The next two games [Town and a visit to Bristol City next weekend] are vital for us to keep up the progress we’ve made.”

Reflecting on Saturday’s match, Neil says he’s looking for his team - 20th, five points ahead of the Blues - to put some space between them and Town.

“There’s an element of the unknown because there is a new manager but one thing is for sure is the players will have a point to prove,” he added.

“If we can try and create a distance between ourselves and Ipswich that would be crucial. The Championship is the tightest it’s ever been. Everyone is having a go.”

Preston midfielder Ben Pringle, who is currently on loan at Grimsby, joined the Lilywhites from Fulham in the summer of 2016 having been on loan with the Blues towards the end of the previous season, scoring two goals in nine starts and one sub appearance.

Keeper Michael Crowe joined Preston in the summer after his release by the Blues. The Wales U21 international is yet to make an appearance for the Lilywhites.

New Town assistant boss Stuart Taylor, who watched Preston’s 4-3 home victory over Brentford a week ago on Wednesday, worked with Lilywhites manager Neil at Hamilton Academical.

Historically, results are very balanced, Town having won 13 games (12 in the league) between the sides while Preston have been victorious on 13 (11) occasions and 10 (nine) matches have ended in draws. The Blues are currently unbeaten in seven against the Lilywhites.

The teams last met at Deepdale in February when Mustapha Carayol’s full debut goal saw Town to a 1-0 victory, only the then-play-off-chasing home side’s second defeat in 18 league games.

The Blues might have led by more after the first half, the January signing netting what proved to be the winner on 21, before comfortably seeing out the second half, their match-winner, who had been ill earlier in the week, having been subbed at the break.

At Portman Road in November last year, goals from Martyn Waghorn, David McGoldrick and Bersant Celina saw the Blues to a 3-0 home victory over North End.

Waghorn curled home a freekick in first-half injury time, McGoldrick headed the second four minutes after the break and Celina sealed what in the end was a very comfortable Town victory with a superb strike on 64.

Saturday’s referee is Andy Woolmer from Northamptonshire, who has shown 14 yellow cards and two red in five games so far this season.

Woolmer’s last Town match was the 3-0 victory over QPR in November 2016 in which he booked Tom Lawrence and three visiting players.

Before that he was in charge of the pre-season friendly at Cambridge United in July the same year and the 1-0 home victory over Nottingham Forest in the Championship in the previous March in which he booked Luke Hyam and four of the visitors.

Two months earlier he had taken control of the 2-1 FA Cup replay defeat at Portsmouth in which he red-carded Piotr Malarczyk for two bookable offences - the only yellow cards of the night - and also awarded a penalty against the Polish defender.

Before that he took control of the 2-1 win at Wigan in September 2014 in which he booked only Tyrone Mings and Christophe Berra.

Woolmer also refereed the 3-3 pre-season friendly draw at Notts County in July 2013 and the 3-0 victory over Bristol City at Portman Road in the Championship in March 2012 in which he booked three Town players and four Robins.

Squad from: Gerken, Bialkowski, Donacien, Pennington, Spence, Knudsen, Chambers (c), Nsiala, Skuse, Chalobah, Downes, Dozzell, Edun, Edwards, Ward, Graham, Nolan, Sears, Jackson, Lankester.

Photo: TWTD



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Reuserscurtains added 13:00 - Nov 2
Come on Lambo, get us the 3 points they aaaaay
3

thechangingman added 13:19 - Nov 2
Whilst I realise that Rome wasn't built in a day, I nonetheless feel a strange emotion that hasn't been around for a long time - HOPE!

I am 100% behind PL and feel that, in time, he is the manager most likely to get us back to The PL!!

Come on Paul - do us proud and lead us back to The Promised Land...
3

mathiemagic added 13:38 - Nov 2
@thechanginman .. I appreciate the hope factor but i would settle for a safe 4th bottom this season and move on from there !.
7

RobTheMonk added 13:47 - Nov 2
I reckon Sears up front.
2

RobbieBobson added 14:28 - Nov 2
Don't care how it comes, but a win is the only result in this game. Get the Lambert era off to a flying start and keep rebuilding that confidence! win ugly, grind out a result, do whatever you have to do, but get 3 points!
3

muccletonjoe added 14:32 - Nov 2
I was hoping for a return to 4-4-2 , I think the 4-2-3-1 has emphatically been shown to be a lost cause for us, and will be again on Saturday if it is deployed again.
3

naa added 15:10 - Nov 2
muccletonjoe: agree completely. I was very disappointed when I read the likely formations.

It hasn't worked all season I can't see why it will now. We don't create and the extra defensive cover doesn't seem to help either (mainly because we concede from the wings or set pieces).

I really hope they've worked on set piece defending. Fix that and we at least stand a chance of a clean sheet.
4

TimmyH added 16:32 - Nov 2
Let's hope Lambert can have a 'honeymoon period' as we sure need it...fancy a 2-1 win, the home supporters sure deserve it!
2

dirtydingusmagee added 16:53 - Nov 2
EVERYTHING crossed for Paul Lambert and a win. Wont be easy just because of new manager, Preston form table ! coyb
0

warktheline added 17:07 - Nov 2
Vital Lambert gets that first win under his belt almost ‘instantly’, in regards to ‘pumping’ players with belief and thus reversing negative momentum! All is not lost, we do have ‘about us’ pace and creativity, if these positive elements are utilised it will only spread confidence throughout including defence! Good luck Lambert!
3

jas0999 added 18:04 - Nov 2
Tough game. But they all look tough when you are bottom.

A win would be huge, but in reality we need at least four points from next two games.

Good luck Town!
4

adeblueboy added 20:56 - Nov 2
I don’t want to be a pessimist but do we really believe he can turn around these league 1 and 2 players, Sears our 4th choice striker last season who doesn’t know where the net is and captain hoof ball Chambers. We need more leaders in the team there are too many lightweights.
0

busterjames1 added 21:09 - Nov 2
See in the papers Clements at Reading is a dead man walking .What odds on McCarthy ending up there !!
1

Vanisleblue2 added 00:15 - Nov 3
With what Lambert has I would go with
Bialkowski, Spence, Knudsen, Chambers, Pennington, Nolan, Dozzell, Edwards, Ward, Sears and Jackson
Subs Gerken, Donacien, Huws, Nsala, Lankester, Graham, Roberts
-3

harlingblue added 04:02 - Nov 3
We are missing that big, front man, hold up player, PH never addressed it, so a real team is difficult to pick. I would suggest
Bart
Donacien, Chambers, Pennington, Knudsen
Rowe, Chalobah, Downes, Edwards
Dozzell, Sears
The two fullbacks to push forward, to push Rowe and Edwards forward to attack, Chalobah, box to box, Downes to sit and cover, Dozzell to create and Sears finally to score? Just a thought. Harrison, when fit, could be a big plus in a Lambert team?
0

braveblue added 05:08 - Nov 3
One up front with our deep sitting midfielders will result in a loss. Hope Lambert does not go down that route.
1

Cakeman added 06:27 - Nov 3
I don’t think we should read too much into the formation that may be played. It might say one up front but I am very sure Paul Lambert would not isolate a single striker. He would use his vast experience to use that striker by playing one just off that strikers shoulder. Just like Gates did with Mariner and that didn’t turn out too bad.
Hope we have great support today as it really is a fresh start for us all.
0

shakytown added 07:39 - Nov 3
miracle needed just to avoid another whacking like last week. We really need some class and experience added to the squad right now!!!!!!
1

cranky_old_tractor added 07:58 - Nov 3
Good luck Mr Lambert. Totally behind you. Come on ITFC!
1

1psw1ch added 08:05 - Nov 3
Good luck today paul lambert ,,god knows we need it ,,,lets forget the last 2 and a half months and move forward from today,,,i have a good feeling things are gonna get better ,, up the super blues
0

phillev231069 added 08:22 - Nov 3
Everything crossed for this afternoon, we all know PL has got a tough job on his plate. We don't have much about this squad after Hurst's transfer antics so I'm just hoping he can get them working hard as a team and maybe get something out of them that he couldn't. Good luck and come on IPSWICH!
2

DurhamTownFan added 08:58 - Nov 3
I think it’ll be a boring game. Lambert won’t want to give points to a rival and he will want to take small steps to begin.wed all love to go out and win3-0, but realistically will that happen to a team lacking spark and belief? I think it’ll be a bit slower, but I do have confidence in Lambert
1

runningout added 11:34 - Nov 3
should we be lucky enough to nick 3 points, let’s not all go OTT with glee for f*c* sake
0

IpswichT62OldBoy added 12:56 - Nov 3
I hope we all feel a bit more positive after today, a win would certainly be a good start.
It will be interesting to see how he sets the team up and asks them to play
0


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