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West Bromwich Albion 1 v 1 Ipswich Town
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 9th March 2019 Kick-off 15:00
Lambert Aiming for Positive Late Season Run
Friday, 8th Mar 2019 10:41

Town boss Paul Lambert hopes the Blues can finish the season with a positive run in their last 11 games - starting with Saturday’s trip to fourth-placed West Bromwich Albion - even if the fight against relegation now appears a battle which is unlikely to be won.

“If we can go on a little run, then whatever happens happens at the end of it, it would be great,” Lambert said.

“We’ll try everything we can. We know it’s difficult but we need the support. We don’t have a game without them, that’s important.

“There’s not one person at this club can never ever point the finger [and say] that support has never got behind us.

“We had 23,000 there at the weekend for the Reading match, a team that’s bottom of the division. We had more than Burnley had against Crystal Palace, which indicates the size of the support and that it’s right with us.

“The support here is phenomenal, it really is. If you can keep that feeling and whatever happens, everything being OK, they’ll definitely come back.

“But I think the football club at the minute has got a good feeling around it, it just has to keep that.”

Reflecting on last week’s 2-1 loss to the Royals which all but confirmed relegation to the third tier for the first time since the 1956/57 campaign - Town are 12 points plus goal difference from safety - Lambert admits it was a huge blow to concede in the 90th minute for the second successive week, having previously grabbed a point via Will Keane’s late header against Stoke.

“It’s frustrating because we did it to Stoke and then got it against us against Wigan and Reading. Those things become frustrating,” he said.

“Football-wise, I can honestly say there’s nobody really outplayed us. We’ve always been the team that’s been on the front foot.

“We’ve had to weather storm at certain times but we’ve managed to do it. We’ve just lack that cutting edge and been defensively not as strong as we’ve should have been. I think that’s what’s let us down in this whole campaign.”

Lambert, whose record in his 21 games since taking over at Portman Road reads won two, drawn six, lost 13, has been disappointed that results have failed to match performances, which he feels have generally been good since he took charge in October.

“Massively because it’s a results game,” he reflected. “There are two ways to look at it. We’ve been playing well but at both ends of the pitch I think we’ve let ourselves down, on defending and not taking our chances when we’ve had chances.

“We had a load of chances at the weekend and never took them and we never defended strongly enough for the two goals.

“If you take away goals in football, we’re a good side. But you’ve got to score and you’ve got to keep them out and that ain’t going to change so we have to be more clinical in both boxes.”

Town are without a win in eight matches and securing what would be only their fourth victory of the season and their second away from home - they beat Swansea back in October under Paul Hurst - is a tough ask against Albion, despite their surprise 4-0 thrashing at Leeds last week.

Lambert still believes the Baggies, who are nine points off the top and seven points from second, are in with a shout of automatic promotion.

“Without a doubt,” he insisted. “I think [manager] Darren [Moore]’s done great. It’s OK saying they’ve got a Premier League squad but you’ve still got to manage those lads.

“I’m pretty sure he’s got a lot of big players there but I like Darren, I think he comes across really well and I think they’ve got a really good side.

“They’ve kept most of the lads that were relegated, Salomon Rondon left and James McClean left but their team is strong and the squad’s strong.

“But again, the division dictates anybody can beat anybody in it. On any given day, if you drop your guard in this division you lose.

“Nobody expected Leeds to beat them 4-0 last week and maybe the edginess comes into their game now in terms of there being so many games left and they’re not in that top two yet, the play-offs might not get you out of the division. They’ve got that to contend with.

“They’ve got an incredible expectancy level on them and we’ve got nothing to lose. We go there with no fear, we go and play our game.”

Might the Baggies be in danger of underestimating the Blues given their position at the bottom of the table? “There could be that, maybe. I don’t know, but the edginess of the crowd and if we can get on top, then let’s see what happens.”

Saturday’s game will see Lambert restored to the dugout after his two-match touchline ban which saw him banished to the stands.

“It was horrible, really horrible up there, it really was, it was terrible,” he said.

“I didn’t like being up there. You can’t do anything, it’s actually worse up in the stand than what it is in the technical area, so I’m looking forward to jumping around again.”

Bartosz Bialkowski will continue in goal but Lambert has decisions to make in his defence with the three-man backline having worked well at Wigan prior to Jonas Knudsen’s red card but having been less effective in the first half against Reading last week.

However, with Knudsen returning from his suspension, Lambert may well opt to stick with it at the Hawthorns.

The Danish international would probably come into the side for James Collins, who is a doubt with the calf injury he suffered last week. Skipper Luke Chambers and Matthew Pennington would be the other centre-halves, and Myles Kenlock and James Bree the wing-backs.

In midfield, Trevoh Chalobah is a concern going into the match with the thigh problem he picked up against the Royals and so could be replaced by Cole Skuse.

Jon Nolan seems likely to continue with Teddy Bishop and Alan Judge also starting. Last week Bishop began the game in a role off lone striker Collin Quaner but Judge may be more suited to that position and could start there against the Baggies.

If Lambert decides to return to a four-man backline, Knudsen could move to left-back, although Lambert has praised Kenlock’s recent performances.

Gwion Edwards could be in contention for a start having impressed from the bench recently with Judge also in one of the wide roles if the Town boss decides on either a 4-3-3 or 4-4-1-1 system.

West Brom, who have lost their last two, 1-0 at home to Sheffield United prior to that 4-0 reverse at Leeds, are expected to have winger Matty Phillips back in contention for a place following an ankle injury which saw him miss the defeat at Elland Road, but left-back Kieran Gibbs is rated at 50/50 due to a hip problem.

Stefan Johansen could be back after missing the Leeds game due to illness and Chris Brunt following a calf problem, while James Morrison could start having come off the bench against the Whites after a spell out with an ankle injury.

Albion are without a win in their last five at home where they have been inconsistent all season, winning seven, losing four and drawing six and they have picked up six more points away, 33, than they have at home, 27.

Boss Moore wants to see an improvement in their final six games at the Hawthorns, starting with the fixture with the Blues and Wednesday’s home match against Swansea.

“We want to try and make The Hawthorns a fortress because it’s our home stadium, we’re in front of our home fans,” he told The Express & Star. “There’s still a lot of work and we’ll continue to work towards every kick of the season.”

Despite the seven-point gap to the top two the former central defender isn’t giving up on a late burst which would put them in automatic promotion contention.

“Everybody’s competing, but it won’t just be us,” he added. “There’s so many teams in the division, probably ones that you’ve not even considered or are talking about, that are preparing themselves to try and get a run of games together.

“It’s safe to say that we’ll see all teams competing right the way through to the last kick of the season."

At Portman Road in November, Kayden Jackson netted his third goal of the season five minutes from time but the Blues fell to a 2-1 defeat to West Brom, who climbed to second.

Jay Rodriguez gave the visitors the lead on 26, now-departed loanee Harvey Barnes doubled the margin in the 77th minute before sub Jackson made the most of a Tosin Adarabioyo error to pull a goal back for Town, who almost claimed what earlier had seemed an unlikely point when another sub Jack Lankester hit the post with a freekick deep in injury time.

The teams last met at The Hawthorns in August 2009 at the start of a season in which Albion marched into the Premier League when Town were defeated 2-0 with Youssuf Mulumbu and Robert Koren on the scoresheet.

Overall, Town have won 33 games between the sides (30 in the league), West Brom 22 (21) with 16 (14) ending in draws.

One member of the Baggies’ squad has played for the Blues, midfielder Jake Livermore, who made eight starts and four sub appearances for Town during a loan spell between September 2010 and January 2011.

Full-back Conor Townsend was the subject of an offer from the Blues in the summer but they lost out to the Baggies when the former Hull City man left Scunthorpe.

Saturday’s referee is Andy Woolmer from Northamptonshire, who has shown 65 yellow cards and four red in 21 games so far this season.

Woolmer’s last Town match was the 1-1 draw at home to Sheffield United in December in which he cautioned Chalobah, Jordan Spence and two of the visitors.

The previous month he was also at Portman Road for the 1-1 draw with Preston in Lambert’s first game in charge of the Blues in which he red-carded Lilywhites keeper Chris Maxwell for a second bookable offence and also showed yellow cards to Chambers, Pennington, Edwards, Freddie Sears and two other visiting players.

Prior to that he was in charge of the 3-0 victory over QPR in November 2016 in which he booked Tom Lawrence and three opposition players.

Before that he refereed 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.

He also 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: Bialkowski, Gerken, Bree, Emmanuel, Spence, Kenlock, Pennington, Collins, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Nsiala, Skuse, Chalobah, Downes, Dozzell, Nolan, Bishop, Edwards, Dawkins, Judge, Quaner, Jackson.

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bluemike1969 added 11:04 - Mar 8
Guys...We're going down, no question about it, I myself have found it very difficult to accept (see previous 'ranting posts') by blaming, manager, players etc etc. I still believe in everything I said, but there is one thing I will always believe in, and that is my beloved IPSWICH TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB. No manager or player are bigger that the club and the phoenix will rise again, may be next season or maybe a few seasons, but she will rise again of that I am sure. The fans have been the glue this season and have held things together. Lets go down fighting boys, that way our heads can be held high at the end of the season ready for the rebuild which we all know must come. We may argue on here, we may agree, disagree, but lets no longer fight among ourselves and verbally abuse each other. We are down but we will NEVER be out.
And in the words of Forrest Gump ......."And that's all I have to say about that"

BlueBadger added 11:54 - Mar 8
Oh good, more Improved Performances are incoming.

mathiemagic added 11:58 - Mar 8
Well you know what happens when a club is relegated before the end of a season, sometimes that lifts the shackles knowing that there is no hope of staying up. We may well surprise a few "Promotion Hopefuls" if they dare take us lightly. The young lads especially want to make an impression ahead of our League one slog and those out of the loan ones who can be persuaded to stay certainly wont give up. The fat lady might well have started singing with regards relegation but not with regards results from now until seasons end. #COYB #ITFC

brendenward35 added 11:59 - Mar 8
Spoke to a Sunderland fan this morning his loving it this season, 30,000 attendances, winning games and he thinks it been great going down and playing teams they can beat week in week out. Last season in the championship for Sunderland was terrible losing games and attendances less that 13,000

jong75 added 12:28 - Mar 8
Oh good. More fans have been great, lets go on a run. Been rubbish all season, worst ipswich team i have seen and results are as bad under lambert as they have been with anyone else. No wonder he loves being here any other fans would be calling for his head.his last 36 matches for itfc and stoke. played 36, won 4, drawn 13 lost 19. 25 points out of a possible 108.

TimmyH added 12:52 - Mar 8
It wouldn't surprise me at all come the time when it's almost mathematically impossible to survive we start winning some games i.e. when the pressure is off. Personally feel it's been a complete season to forget and wish it was over.

tags added 12:57 - Mar 8
Don’t get me wrong - we’re going down - but I have a funny feeling about this game. I reckon we’ll win. WBA are cr@p at the mo but the expectation is for them to walk it. Lambo will have us playing but we won’t have pressure.

ITFCsince73 added 13:02 - Mar 8
Ok Lambo let's start giving our promising younger players as many minutes as poss.
Brenden. I don't think Sunderland are anywhere near promoted yet. And havnt had there own way at all.
And that's with the massive bonus of parachute payments.
And a lot of players who should be playing at least championship football.

ChrisFelix added 13:02 - Mar 8
Don't worry Albion fans, 5 home games without a win. Captain calamity is bringing his charitable defence to the Hawthorns. One goal ia all you will need & with the inspirational Skuse driving our midfield forward that's that the game over


BigHibbs added 13:02 - Mar 8
He talks a great game doesn’t he. He’s got everyone united, everyone is optimistic again. But the football is just as bad as Paul hursts and his record is equally poo. Is every town fan willing to write off every game from now until the end of the season ? If we lose every single game from now until next season do you all want lambert to keep his job ?

Radlett_blue added 13:03 - Mar 8
Why start Bree ahead of Emmanuel? There is no chance of Bree being at PR next season. Emmanuel is our player & we have an option. He also likes to get forward so can play wing back. Lambert says he wants to see more of Emmanuel - well, give him some game time then!

ITFCsince73 added 13:06 - Mar 8
I've been waiting for the right game to put 50 on a town win.
As before I'll hold out until the team is announced.

Pedlarjak added 13:14 - Mar 8
Let’s hope that coaching has been concentrating on not giving away stupid goals

TR11BLU added 13:19 - Mar 8
To all the negative posters whove heard enough, heard it all before, why look on here, why bother? Not convinced that many even watch the games. This maybe a poor season but for me its been more exciting attending games, 10 fold.

Yes were going down yes were a mess but the tide is turning. The results dont tell the whole tale so lets back the manager and the team and judge next christmas.

We will rip it up in league heard it here first.

bomber21 added 14:37 - Mar 8
Quote of the season , if you take away goals in football , we;re a good side.So this is why we are relegated with the worst squad of players ever to put on the shirt in the history of this once proud football club.Sad does describe it well enough .

ITFCsince73 added 15:11 - Mar 8
Chris felix. As much as I 100% agree with you. I look forward to the day when we don't have to make such quotes.
After all is it possible for us to ever have again, such a negative totally boring midfield player as Skuse.
And such an awful defensive player as Chambo.
Not forgetting, take away the fist pumping, and gritted teeth.
A leader who cant lead.

chepstowblue added 16:04 - Mar 8
We are ideal fodder for any team on a bad run. 3-0 will be a decent effort tomorrow as it'll be a day for them to fill their boots. Onto next season and im amazed that a team who are unlikely to get 30pts this season could be taken seriously for promotion. We are already underestimating how difficult that will be.This current group may push for top 6 but more realistically top 10. We certainly won't scare anyone. Our early exits from cup competitions is evidence of that. Of the young crop only Bishop and Lankaster will look a class above. Whilst the football has been slightly more enjoyable to watch,the jury is still out on whether we have the right man in charge.Happy to go along with it and give him the time required. And whilst i was glad we made the change when we did it's ironic that under Mick we'd have been bored to death this season,sat comfortably in 14th !!

northblue added 16:14 - Mar 8
Well said TR11 blu

ITFCsince73 added 16:29 - Mar 8
Chepstow. Agree, but the only reason you mention Bish and Lancs is there the only yougnens who been given a decent chance this season.
There is no doubt we have plenty of others waiting in the wings, just waiting for the chance.
Who also will be ready to take on league 1.
And shine in that division. Imo.

blueboy1981 added 17:01 - Mar 8
......... don't be so sure ITFC73 - huge step up from Under 23 level to League 1.

A very physical League, where technical ability alone will be found wanting - believe me, you could be on the wrong bus with this one.

therein61 added 17:10 - Mar 8
Jong75 you are obviously too young to have seen Jackie Milburns side in 1963 the whole club fell apart and his only inspired thought was to take the players to bingo!!!!????(he has to be credited hugely with starting a youth policy at the club great player he was but out of his depth as a manager) since my first game in 1958 that was the worst side even taking this year into account.

dirtydingusmagee added 17:51 - Mar 8
TR11blu not knocking your loyalty or optimism , but if we ''rip it up'' as you put it,and finish mid table i'll be surprised , its going to be a lot tougher than many realise.

runningout added 17:53 - Mar 8
We can beat all teams if we want, in any league!!. Time to mess with form guide and steal some points while we are still in with a shout. League 1 will be just as hard, your a numpty if you think it will be a breeze

heathen66 added 18:31 - Mar 8
I am not sure why you want to revert back to a back 5. All over the place which saw Knudsen sent off and then all over the place for Readings opener.
The only reason I see it is if Chambers is not 100% fit and needs cover (assuming this was why Nsiala replaced Chambers rather than an attacking option.
I would not bring in Knudsen as he has made it quite clear he sees himself elsewhere next season (in fact he was hoping it was to be this season).
Here is a thought, Play Emmanuel, Pennington, Nsiala and Kenlock.
Replace Chalobah (only if not fit), with the rejuvenated Edwards.
And....Play 2 up top

Emmanuel, Pennington, Nsiala, Kenlock
Edwards, Bishop, Nolan
Jackson Quaner

What is there to lose ???

Saxonblue74 added 18:49 - Mar 8
I just can't see a run coming. We're playing decent enough football but we couldn't score goals with our strikers fit. We now have Freddie, Keane and Lankester in the treatment room which leaves us with even less potency up front than we had at the beginning of the season.....and it wasn't great then!!

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