Skuse: If Lambert Had Been Appointed Earlier Things Might Have Been Different
Thursday, 14th Mar 2019 19:52
Many Ipswich fans are probably thinking about what might have been had current boss Paul Lambert been appointed last summer – and experienced midfielder Cole Skuse is of the view that things could have worked out very differently.
It was to Paul Hurst, of course, that Town turned to replace the departed Mick McCarthy, only to pull the plug on the ex-Shrewsbury boss after only 149 days in the job, before bringing in Lambert at the end of October, by which time they were already rock-bottom of the Championship with just one win and a total of nine points to their credit.
Not that Lambert, who has only managed two wins from his 23 games in charge, has fared any better – but most fans believe he arrived when it was already too late to turn things round, especially since he was unable to bring in any of his own players until the January transfer window.
Despite so many disappointing results, supporters have been encouraged and entertained by Lambert’s approach and with relegation to League One looking almost certain they are hopeful that Lambert will be able to spearhead a promotion challenge next term.
Skuse said: “It would have been different but the club went down a route they wanted to go down. That was their decision and it’s not something the players get overly involved with. We were as much in the loop, I’m sure, as you guys [the media] were with regard to what was happening.
“It didn’t quite work and Paul Lambert came in. He has put his own spin on things and the vibe is positive but we’re still in the situation we’re in. However, yes, if he had been appointed earlier things might have been different.”
Lambert’s men take on play-off hopefuls Nottingham Forest at Portman Road on Saturday and Skuse and his colleagues, buoyed by five 1-1 draws in their last six outings, are desperate to clinch win number four of the season against a team managed by Martin O’Neill, who is assisted by ex-Town boss Roy Keane, who succeeded Jim Magilton almost 10 years ago.
Skuse added: “Football is a results business and you need to win games, which we haven’t done often enough this season.
“The results haven’t done the performances justice. We’ve played some really good stuff but ultimately you want the win, so it would be nice to get one at the weekend.
“We’ve played really well against teams that have been chasing the top six places and promotion, so we want a result against Forest.”
Meanwhile, Skuse laughed off rumours that he could be moving clubs in the summer after it was spotted by fans that he had put his house on the market, which had led to social media speculation about his future.
“Yes, my house is on the market,” he confirmed, “but only with the intention of buying something else in Ipswich. That’s all I can say about that. The house did go on the market but I’ve got a contract here at Ipswich.
“The only reason we put our house up for sale was to buy a certain house that we like in Ipswich.
“I say we but it’s my wife really! It’s not as if I’ve put it on the market so I can move to Inverness. I’m looking to buy – and stay – in Ipswich.”
Skuse has been at Portman Road since July 2013 when, having turned down a new contract at first club Bristol City that left him available to sign for Town. City fans were generous with their applause on Tuesday evening when he came off the bench in the 75th minute in the sides’ 1-1 draw.
He added: “It’s funny, actually, because when I came into the training ground the next day somebody said ‘Were you getting booed last night when you came on?’ I might well have been but when I was at Bristol City that was my kind of thing – the supporters would shout a prolonged version of my surname.
“So it wasn’t a long boo – I don’t think it was anyway! It was a nice gesture of them to give me that and a ripple of applause.
“It was my first time back there in the role of substitute. I’ve started the other times I’ve gone back, which is kind of different.
“It made more sense for them to do that because I was coming off the bench. It was really nice of them. I was there for a long time and played more than 300 games for them.”
Skuse was actually relegated from the Championship with the Robins before heading across country to East Anglia but, looking back, he admits the circumstances then bear no comparison to how things are at Town as they struggle to avoid a similar fate.
“The year we got relegated at Bristol City you kind of knew from a long way back that it was likely to happen,” he recalled.
“The fans weren’t onside the way they are here. It kind of turned the opposite way, which is why I keep saying why it is such a surreal experience here and you can sometimes get caught up in the fact that you don’t feel as if you are bottom of the league.
“You feel like you’re playing in front of an audience that make you feel like you’re chasing something at the other end of the league so it’s a completely different atmosphere here to Bristol six years ago.”
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