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Lambert to Freshen Up Team at Forest
Friday, 30th Nov 2018 15:01

Boss Paul Lambert says he will freshen up his side as he looks to claim his first win since taking charge of the Blues at the fifth attempt against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Saturday. Lambert has fielded the same XI in each of his four games up to now.

“I think we have to,” the Town manager said. “We’re a really young side, we've got 19-year-olds in the team, 18-year-olds in the side as well.

“For example, Flynn Downes and Trevoh Chalobah, they haven’t had a break those kids, they’ve been playing for their national team [England U20s], they've not really had a break. We’ll certainly freshen it up, we’ll have to. And plus I’ve got to see people play here.”

Striker Ellis Harrison, 24, made his first appearance since the change of manager as a sub in Wednesday’s 3-2 defeat to Bristol City but Lambert says the Welshman probably isn’t yet ready to make a start having only just returned from the ankle injury he suffered in late September.

“I don’t know [whether he’s ready to start], he’s just back, the lad,” Lambert considered. “He’s not played many games, hasn’t had much game time.

“He’s doing well in training, Ellis, but he’s probably a little bit short of where we want him to be.

“Everybody sees how our team play, with energy. The lad’s just had a little bit of a hard time with injury, he’s just back so it’s a big ask. But I will decide from now until tomorrow.”

Regarding the likelihood of Teddy Bishop making his first start of the season having come on as a sub against West Brom on Friday, he added: “He’s a little bit different because he’s trained since we’ve been here but Ellis it’s only the last week or so he’s started to get into the mix of it. But Bish is definitely one who’s probably more ready than Ellis is.”

Jack Lankester has impressed from the bench in recent games, is Lambert considering giving he 18-year-old his first senior start? “Jack’s only a teenager. I’d love to know how many Championship teams have got kids as young as us in their side at the minute, to see if there are that many.

“But he is a huge talent. Him, Andre Dozzell, Bishop, Flynn, really big talents. We’ve got to nurture them as well.

“I always say, ‘If you’re young enough and I think you’re good enough I’ll throw you in’. And he’s a big, big talent. He has a terrific eye for a pass, is really comfortable on the ball and all he has to do is develop. But he’s very, very good.

“His set pieces are very good, he’s very good, he’s got a huge chance in the game without me saying what I really think of him because you’ll plaster it all over your website! Let’s just say he’s got a chance.”

Regarding Dozzell, 19, who is yet to make a start under Lambert, he added: “He’s a bit unfortunate because the kid had a bad injury as well and he’s just come back. He’s got to get a little bit more strength but he’s a really good footballer, really good.

“Once he develops he’ll be another right top player, once he develops into a man he’s going to be a right good player.”

While Town were losing 3-2 to Bristol City, Forest were involved in a remarkable 5-5 draw at Aston Villa on Wednesday.

“I think you get games like that in the Championship, there are always one or two where the scores are pretty heavy,” Lambert reflected.

“I’m pretty sure it was an exciting game for everybody at Villa Park. They’re a good side Nottingham Forest, they’ve invested heavily as well, and we have to go there to try and win.”

Asked whether he believes Forest, who are currently sixth, can maintain a play-off challenge this season, he added: “You’ll probably have to ask their manager whether he thinks they can do it. My job is to go up there with Ipswich on the front foot and go and try and win.

“I won’t change my way, we’ll go and try and win, we’ve a big crowd going up to support us and we will try and entertain them as well.

“We’re playing really well, I’ve got no illusions that we’re going up there with a lot of confidence to try and win the game.

“The only thing we’re missing is getting wins, that’s the only thing we’re missing. Everything else, from the level the lads were playing at to now is really high.”

Forest’s former Norwich striker Lewis Grabban has already netted 13 goals this season and will be out to give the Blues’ backline a tough afternoon but Lambert is hoping his strikers give the home side’s defenders a difficult day.

“My job is to make their defence have it hard,” he said. “I’m only interesting in us and we’ll try everything we can to go and win.

“The lads are playing well for me and I’ve got so much confidence in them that we’ll go up there and make a right good game of it. We’re away from home, that doesn’t matter, we’ll go and try and win.”

Lambert will stick with Bartosz Bialkowski in goal, while skipper Luke Chambers, who will be making his 300th appearance for the Blues, and Matthew Pennington are again likely to be the centre-halves and Jonas Knudsen the left -back.

The Blues boss may be considering a change at right-back with Janoi Donacien perhaps replacing Jordan Spence, although Lambert has previously said he considers the St Lucian, who was a youngster in his squad at Villa, more a centre-half than a full-back and may well stick with the former West Ham and MK Dons man.

In midfield, Cole Skuse has impressed his new manager and will be in his usual role but Lambert looks likely to make changes in the other two positions having said Chalobah and Downes may need a rest. Bishop, Grant Ward, Jon Nolan and Dozzell are the candidates to come into the team in their stead.

Up front, man-in-form Freddie Sears will continue on the left with Jordan Roberts probably starting in the middle with Lambert not feeling Harrison is ready to start, while Kayden Jackson is another alternative.

If Gwion Edwards is rested his right-sided position could go to Lankester, Ward or Danny Rowe.

Forest defender Tobias Figueiredo will be suspended for the Blues’ visit having been shown a straight red card for a rash challenge on John McGinn in Wednesday’s 10-goal thriller with Villa. Former Huddersfield man Michael Hefele looks set to deputise. Left-back Danny Fox (foot) and forward Hillal Soudani (knee surgery) both remain sidelined.

Boss Aitor Karanka admits some concerns about tiredness following Wednesday’s rip-roarer at Villa.

"I do worry,” he told the Forest official site. “I know that everybody is very pleased; we are in the play-off positions and everyone is over the moon but we need to get back to reality.

"We play a very difficult game because after the game [on Wednesday], looking at the table, everybody is thinking that we will win the game on Saturday 2-0 or 3-0.

“If we go into the game with that mentality, we will be making a big mistake. I think it can be one of the most difficult games in the season.”

The former Middlesbrough manager is anticipating a challenging afternoon despite the Blues’ current position.

"Ipswich, like every single game, will be a tough game," he continued. "They will be desperate to win with the new manager and they will come here really hurt after losing [on Wednesday] when they were winning.

"We need to forget the good things that people are saying about us, to correct the mistakes we made and to keep the intensity and the mentality that we had [at Villa].”

Blues captain Chambers joined Town on a Bosman free transfer after departing the City Ground in the summer of 2012 and was targeted by his old club on deadline day in January 2017.

Chambers made 209 starts and 20 sub appearances for the Tricky Trees, scoring 21 goals, having joined them from Northampton in January 2007.

Ex-Town striker Daryl Murphy joined Forest from Newcastle in the summer of 2017 for £2 million. The former Irish international has scored four times this season - two in the Carabao Cup - but hasn’t featured since October 6th.

Waterford-born Murphy scored 67 goals in 207 starts and 18 substitute appearances for Town in three loan spells and a permanent stint - June 2013 to August 2016 - at Portman Road.

Out-of-favour Forest keeper Stephen Henderson was on loan with the Blues from West Ham twice in the 2012/13 season making 24 appearances.

Another ex-Town loanee, Jack Colback, joined Forest on a second loan spell from Newcastle in the summer having had two similar stints with the Blues when a Sunderland player making a total of 46 starts and eight sub appearances, scoring five goals.

Historically, Forest very much have the upper hand, winning 37 of the games between the two sides (34 in the league), with 18 (17) ending in draws and Town winning 22 (21).

Town are without a win at the City Ground since a 1-0 victory under George Burley’s management in December 1999 when Matt Holland was the man on target.

The Blues have come close on a number of occasions since then but have been denied either a win or a point at the death several times in recent years.

In 2011 Forest scored in the 84th and 90th minutes through Joel Lynch and Marcus Tudgay to come from behind to win 3-2, in 2013 their goal in a 1-0 victory came on 84 via Lewis McGugan with the Blues down to nine men, then a year later Michail Antonio made it 2-2 in the dying moments. In 2015 ex-Blue Liam Trotter, making his Forest debut, also netted a last-minute equaliser as the game ended 1-1.

At the City Ground in April, caretaker-boss Bryan Klug was denied a first match victory as Forest staged yet another last-gasp turnaround.

The Blues had gone ahead via Ward in the 38th minute and looked set to hold on to their lead until their goalscorer bundled Ben Brereton over in the penalty area in the final minute and, after the England U19 international had netted from the spot, Joe Lolley smashed home a volley deep in injury time to win it for Forest, who had previously gone six games without a goal.

At Portman Road at the start of December last year, Callum Connolly, Dominic Iorfa, Martyn Waghorn and Bersant Celina all scored as Town beat Nottingham Forest 4-2.

Connolly netted his second goal in two games in the seventh minute, Forest equalised via Kieran Dowell’s freekick on 29, then Iorfa’s first senior goal restored Town’s lead in the 37th minute before Tyler Walker made the scoreline 2-2 six minutes later.

Eight minutes after the break Waghorn made the most of some hesitant defending to make it 3-2 and Celina sealed a deserved three points on 67.

Saturday’s referee is James Linington from Newport Isle-of-Wight, who has shown 39 yellow cards and no red in 13 games so far this season.

Linington’s last Town match was the Blues’ last home win, the 2-0 victory over Barnsley in April in which he booked Knudsen and one Tyke.

He also refereed the 4-3 win at Millwall in August last year in which he booked Iorfa, Chambers, Ward and Joe Garner as well as two home players.

He was in charge during the 3-1 defeat at Cardiff in March 2017 in which he booked only Christophe Berra and Brett Pitman.

Prior to that he was the referee in the 3-2 home victory over Blackburn two months earlier in which he booked Dozzell and Tom Lawrence and awarded Rovers a penalty which was converted by Danny Graham, Adam Webster having tangled with Hope Akpan.

Linington refereed the 2-1 home victory over Sheffield Wednesday in August 2015 in which he booked Jonathan Douglas and Ryan Fraser and two of the visitors.

Before that he officiated in the 3-2 home win against Blackpool in April 2015 in which he kept his cards in his pocket throughout.

Earlier in the 2014/15 season he was the man in the middle for the 2-2 draw at Nottingham Forest, when he booked only one home player, and the 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough at Portman Road in which he yellow-carded David McGoldrick and three Teessiders.

Squad from: Bialkowski, Gerken, Spence, Knudsen, Kenlock, Chambers (c), Pennington, Nsiala, Donacien, Skuse, Chalobah, Downes, Dozzell, Nolan, Bishop, Edwards, Ward, Rowe, Roberts, Sears, Jackson, Harrison, Lankester.

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BossMan added 15:22 - Nov 30
Chalibah has a bright future ahead of him but don't think that will be in midfield. Spence doesn't have a bright future in front of him and Knudsen never been my cup of tea. Lots of good PR moves by Lambert but surely at some point the defence has to be sorted.

midastouch added 15:24 - Nov 30
Hopefully the emotional rollercoaster of playing in an insane 5-5 will have taken the sting out of them! While it's a worry how potent they looked up top midweek, then it must give us some cause for optimism given how frail they looked at the back. Although we also looked very fragile at the back Wednesday night too! The smart money would suggest a few goals so having just said that perhaps get your money down on a nil nil lol!

midastouch added 15:29 - Nov 30
I'm still not quite sold on Chalobah. He's had some good games such as Swansea away (& he looked very assured in the friendly against West Ham too) but overall he's not had as big as impact as I had hoped. I wonder if he'd look better in a team playing with more confidence rather than having to scrap for his life in a team literally struggling for survival! I'm not saying he definitely hasn't got a bright future in the game as he might shine elsewhere but for us I think it's safe to say the jury is still out.

heathen66 added 16:13 - Nov 30
So, let us get this right..
One clean sheet this season, defence making mistake after mistake, so let us drop Spence (and rightly so) and the youngsters.
As much as I like Lambert, this is back to the Mick days.
Chalobah has been a real star for us so far, driving forward, tackling and scoring goals. Yes he was average against WBA, but the lad is far better than any of the other CMs (Skuse included, although he had a good game on Wed, but is a holding Mid and we still conceded 3 !!!).
IMO the back 4 should be Donacien, Nsiala, Pennington and Kenlock.
Chambers Spence and Knudsen have been awful all this season as should be dropped with immediate effect.

ronnyd added 16:14 - Nov 30
He really has no choice other than change as 2pts from a possible 12 fielding the same starting team is just not good enough.

blueboy1981 added 16:27 - Nov 30
Nsiala ? - an absolute liability. As for Chambers 300 games spread across several Managers must mean that he has something we do not see ! - so he'll continue to be in. Donacien, Pennington and Kenlock a definite yes.

Spence just has to be dropped.

Not going to make much difference now anyway, it's a complete rebuild job at you know what level - don't kid yourselves otherwise.
That's the head, ruling the heart, and not the other way round which some will hang onto.

Unless we can string a run of wins together from this point on - the proverbial Lady has already sung.
Small chance of the former happening.

heathen66 added 16:41 - Nov 30
Unfortunately Chambers has been a liability for far too long.
Ruined by McCarthy playing him at RB for months and months drained his confidence and that is still evident today...cannot pass for a toffee.
Nsiala can unfortunately do no worse

cat added 17:25 - Nov 30
Spot on heathen66, although it’s probably easy to get carried away with Captain fantastic and the 300 odd appearances, he’s been the backbone of a pish poor defence for 3 seasons now and it’s time for the ‘few’ remaining members of Chambo fan club to wake up and smell the frigging coffee!!!

cambsman added 17:31 - Nov 30
At last after all those games of the MM management we are not pointing out how wonderful the opposition is ,its one route now ITFC COYB

TimmyH added 17:47 - Nov 30
£50 Says he'll drop Spence, Downes and Roberts...any takers? even though a few 'undroppables' will escape again!

braveblue added 17:47 - Nov 30
Same defence then same problems.

TimmyH added 17:49 - Nov 30
Chalobah at times has looked our best outlet from midfield this season but even he the last 2 games has looked a bit ragged...

chepstowblue added 18:04 - Nov 30
Bart,Spence,Knudsen,Chalobah,Edwards and Downes should all be dropped. On top of that I really don't understand Roberts up top. Looks totally disinterested,hardly moves, and touches the ball about 3 times a game ! So far we've been very fortunate to not be hit for 5 or 6. Tomorrow seems likely. 'Lamb...erts to the slaughter'. So many players in this squad who are so uncomfortable with their 1st touch and dont have the ability to make a simple pass. What a joy it would be to have Huws,Bishop and Dozzell on the field at the same time. Hoping that an overnight deluge of rain and subsequent flooding of the Trent gets the game called off. If not a fortunate 3-0 defeat is the best we can hope for.

dirtydingusmagee added 19:59 - Nov 30
must say as pleased as i am with PL, i dont feel optimistic at all ,think we are overdue for a good tonking as well as a win . Best we can hope for until January [the Unicorn transfer window] is that a couple of other strugglers have a bad run of results.

loyal_Blue added 20:13 - Nov 30

Donacien,chambers, penington, knudsen
Bishop,dozzel, skuse
Edwards, sears, rowe

Just play the youngsters, chalobah hasn't impressed me in midfield. He is a CB and it shows with some of his passing.

algarvefan added 22:39 - Nov 30
There isn't much of an option for change to be honest is there.
Roll on January, lets hope for some new blood.

Elizabeth added 22:43 - Nov 30
Whoever plays tomorrow will not be good enough to compete against Nottingham Forest! Would love to be proved wrong ! Dark days at PR !! Let’s hope we have at least four players lined up for January!!

shakytown added 23:25 - Nov 30
Sadly we are going to get utterly thrashed today. Third rate useless players across the park and probably no better the fifth or sixth rate defenders. 100 million worth of new players needed now just to avoid humiliation let alone relegation.

RoyalAscotBlue added 00:43 - Dec 1
Sorry, I don’t know what people see in Chalobah? I see potential, and physicality, but he is not as assured as our own youngsters and often runs around like a headless chicken. His passes often go very astray as well, usually in very bad areas of the pitch.

marco007 added 07:42 - Dec 1
And if Lambert was captain of the Titanic he'd say, "We only brushed against the iceberg...this ship is unsinkable
...everything is fine!"
I understand positivity but he's bordering on delusional
We're really not very good!

dirtydingusmagee added 08:04 - Dec 1
marco007 Lambert is not delusioned he is trying to lift the players and the fans, a mighty task given what he took on.Cant believe you are knocking him ,unless of course you are one of the Mc Carthy'ites that still cant get over him going[ surely you cant be regretting losing Hurst]

1RWR added 08:27 - Dec 1
dirtydingusmagee: spot on!
marco007 give Lambert some slack for heavens sake, he's been in the job 5 minutes, his hands are tied, see what happens in January.
Until it's mathematically impossible to stay up.......there's a chance!
If you believe in Santa you can believe we can stay up.............I believe!

TheWilnisStepover added 09:21 - Dec 1
If we can leave Knudsen and Spence back at the hotel, preferably even after the game when we travel back to Suffolk, we’ll be alright.

Pilgrimblue added 12:11 - Dec 1
Whatever you think of Chambers at the moment we have no other options. Could bring back Toto but he's very raw. I'd give Donacian a game as part of 3 central in a 532 formation and if fit Kenlock on left. That would leave only one defensive mids needed (Skuse) and allow PL to try Bish and Dozzy. Front two would pick themselves Freddie and Jackson.
Hopefully Rowe may get on at some stage

shortmarine1969 added 13:57 - Dec 1
Just a thought.."If" nothing changes massively before Xmas .(being honest i dont think it will) start building a team that we know works for next season , utilize the younger guys to form a team to give a real impetus for next season to maybe come straight back up.!!

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