No New Injury Worries as Lambert Ponders Changes in Busy Spell
Tuesday, 27th Nov 2018 14:48
Blues boss Paul Lambert has no new injury problems ahead of Wednesday evening’s home game against Bristol City and says he’s likely to make some changes to his line-up over the course of the next few days with Saturday’s trip to Nottingham Forest swiftly following the Robins’ visit to Portman Road.
“No, everybody’s fine,” he said when asked about the injury situation. “Ellis Harrison has come back and he played a half-game yesterday. Myles Kenlock played a bit of the game, so we’re getting everybody back fit.
“Whether they’re ready at the minute is another question but the two lads have been out a long time and they’re slowly surely beginning to get their fitness back.”
Lambert has been pleased with what he has seen of Harrison, who joined the Blues from Bristol Rovers in the summer, so far and believes he could add something to his attacking options.
“I think he can,” he added. “He’s a powerful lad, he’s chirpy, that’s for sure. I think he’s got something, I have to see the bigger picture of it but, put it this way, I don’t think he lacks in confidence, that’s for sure. He’s a nice lad, he’s jovial but you have to see what he has to do on the pitch.”
Lambert has picked the same XI in each of his three games so far because he says the performances have warranted that.
“They’ve earned it because we’ve been playing well,” he continued. “Against West Brom we played really well. I saw all the stats from the game and we were very, very good.
“The big stat is the result but we’re playing well at the minute and I don’t think anybody should underestimate that. Plus we’ve got a crowd who are really upbeat and up for it and we’re in with the fight.”
But with Wednesday’s match the second of three games in nine days he says he will make changes at some point, perhaps most likely for the visit to the City Ground.
“I think it’s a big ask to turn it on again,” he reflected. “Two days’ recovery and then you’ve got to go again.
“And I need to see everybody play as well. I have to see lads who have not played as much, I need to see them play as well and they’ll get their chance.”
Lambert was pleased with the part subs Teddy Bishop, Kayden Jackson and Jack Lankester played during the 2-1 defeat to West Brom on Friday.
“I think everybody’s ready to start,” he added. “That’s the beauty of the scenario at the minute, they’re all ready. In training, they’ve all been really good. I can only pick 18 guys that can go on the pitch and go on the bench.
“But everybody’s ready, so whoever I play I trust them and that’s a great thing for any manager that you can trust their players.
“Bishop came on and did really well, Kayden came on and did really well. Jack did it well. Danny Rowe’s made an impact.
“Everybody’s that’s been there or thereabouts has been great. Toto Nsiala’s not even been on the bench but his attitude in training has been great.
“They’re lads that maybe haven’t played as much as the lads who are starting or the lads that have made the bench, they’re every bit just as important as the guys that are in the squad, so I don’t exempt anybody from making an impact in the team.”
Is he considering giving 18-year-old academy product Lankester his first senior start? “As I said before, I think he’s a really talented footballer. He’s one of the team, I have to nurture him, we can’t just throw him into the lion’s den and where were are in the league, he’s only a young kid and you can’t rely on young kid to bail you out of trouble.
“But he’s very much part of it, he did really well when he came on the other night, he was unlucky not to score. And he’s a really hugely talented footballer.”
Lambert doesn’t feel Bishop is yet ready to play more than an hour but he has been pleased that the 22-year-old has continued to train without suffering another injury.
“Not of game-time but training-wise he’s doing really, really well,” he said. “He’s breaking the back of sustaining training sessions which is important.
“You’ve got to train the way you play and he’s doing really well at the minute. His time will come, I’ve no doubt. He’ll certainly make an impact before the end of the season, that’s for sure.”
Central defender Nsiala and midfielder Jon Nolan, both signed by former manager Paul Hurst from his old club Shrewsbury in the summer, have both been out of the picture so far, but Lambert says who brought them in has nothing to do with that.
“If that was the case I wouldn’t have a team because most of the guys are the last manager’s signings,” he laughed.
“Jon is just back from an injury, he had a dead leg and he’s just back from it. And Toto, the form of Luke Chambers and Matthew Pennington has been excellent.
Janoi Donacien has been on the bench but the form and Chambers and Pennington has been really, really good.
“It’s nothing to do with who signed who, we’re a team and that’s the most important thing - that we’re a team.”
Overall, is he surprised by how well the squad has performed up to now? “The big compliment I can give them is that when I saw them at Millwall I thought they were a little bit off it.
“Then we walked through the door we had a feeling of ‘What can we do with them?’ and from day one their training has been excellent, their performances have been excellent.
“They’ve had a lot of hard knocks, so has the football club in general, the supporters and everything. And I think everybody’s been galvanised by bouncing off each other.
“There’s only one team in the town here, there’s only one team, [everybody] should be right behind it. If we can keep doing what we’re doing, the fans will fill that stadium I’m pretty sure and we can give them something exciting to hold on to.
“That’s a big objective, that we reconnect with the supporters. I think that had been lost to an extent. I think that had been lost by a lot of departments of the club and my job is to try and bring that together.”
Midfielders Emyr Huws (knee) and Tom Adeyemi (achilles) remain sidelined with their long-term injuries.
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