Lambert: No Decisions Made on Players' Futures
Wednesday, 17th Apr 2019 17:53
Blues boss Paul Lambert says it’s difficult to say whether midfielder Tom Adeyemi, who returned to action with the U23s earlier in the week having been out all season having undergone achilles surgery, will be offered the chance to stay with the Blues, while he is yet to speak to James Collins, Dean Gerken, Danny Rowe, Jordan Roberts or Josh Emmanuel regarding their futures.
Adeyemi missed all but five games of last season having signed on a free transfer in the summer of 2017 due to a hamstring injury, then suffered the problem which has scuppered his 2018/19 in pre-season.
Asked whether the 27-year-old, whose contract is up in the summer but with Town having an option to keep him for a further season, has a chance of being offered the chance to stay at Portman Road, Lambert said: “I don’t know. I really don’t. I’ve not seen much of him, and he’s been out for a helluva long time, and that’s something I’ll need to think about.”
Grant Ward, who is currently out with an ACL injury is in a similar position to Adeyemi at a time when many of the promising youngsters coming through from the academy are also midfield players.
“For any footballer when you don’t play games it's difficult,” Lambert reflected. “That’s what you play the game for, you need game-time to show what you can do.
“And unfortunately Tom’s not had the game-time well since before we came in, so even though I had him at Norwich, it’s a helluva long time.
“People move, and people change, the lad has been really unfortunate with his injury, and it’s come at a time for him when he’s probably wondering himself what happens to him and what I think.
“All those things are probably going through his head, and I understand that but it’s difficult in this moment to say if he’s going to be here or if he’s not going to be here.”
Might the likes of Adeyemi and Ward have to prove themselves in pre-season? “I think everybody’s got a point to prove, not just those two lads but everybody. When this season finishes it’s a clean slate.
“What you’ve done this season, how well you’ve done or how poor you’ve done really won’t be much significance to me, it’s a new season, it’s a pre-season, and it’s my way. What happens this season won’t make me make a decision about what happens next.”
Regarding Collins, who has impressed when playing since joining on a short-term deal in January but having spent spells out with hamstring and calf injuries, Lambert added: “I’ve never really thought about it because it’s not something that’s really crossed my mind at the minute, it’s just been trying to get points on the board and trying to get wins.
“James has been in the game long enough, I’ll speak to him towards the end. Again, I can’t speak highly enough of him as person and as a pro.”
Winger Danny Rowe has helped Lincoln into League One, the Imps’ promotion having been confirmed as Town’s relegation was formalised last weekend.
Rowe, 27, is contracted to the Blues until the summer of 2020 and as things stand will return to Portman Road for the start of pre-season training.
“I’ve not heard anything from Lincoln unless Lincoln phone I’ve not heard anything from them," Lambert said.
“So, Danny is still our player, he helped them but he’s still our player, so I expect to see him back here, and we’ll see.”
Rowe made two brief sub appearances for Lambert for Town and came close to a full appearance, the Blues boss revealed.
“He was actually going to start against QPR at Loftus Road, but he wasn’t well, and we thought we needed to get him games,” he said.
“He did well at Lincoln, so the door isn’t shut on him by any stretch of the imagination, but I expect to see him back with the other lads who are out on loan.
Like Rowe, Jordan Roberts, 25, and also contracted until June 2020, joined Lincoln in January but has made only three sub appearances for the Imps, while Luke Woolfenden has spent the season in League Two with Swindon.
“I don’t think he’s really featured at Lincoln at all,” Lambert said of Roberts. “But Luke at Swindon has done well, so they will come back into the equation and I’ll have a chat with the lads at the end of the season and I’ll tell them going forward what’s going to happen.”
Lambert reiterated that he expects the one-year option on right-back Josh Emmanuel’s contract to be taken up - “Yeah, I do” - having been pleased with the 21-year-old’s displays since he returned from his loan spell at Shrewsbury in January.
“Josh has done well, I think he still needs a good bit of coaching but he’s a young lad that will learn, so I think Josh has done well enough to be here.
“I don’t see a problem with that, I think we still need someone to push and vice versa he might need to push somebody else, so it’s an area I think we need to look at.”
Keeper Dean Gerken is out of contract this summer, although with the Blues again having an option to keep the 33-year-old for a further season.
Will the Blues be able to hang on to both their experienced keepers, Gerken and first-choice Bartosz Bialkowski, in League One?
“That’ll become clear,” Lambert said. “Deano’s done great and trained really well and played really well when he’s been asked to play.
“The two lads I haven’t really spoken to, two experienced lads. Again, I can’t compliment them highly enough the way they’ve played and trained, and I’ll speak to them again coming towards the end.”
He added: “There’s no real decision on anybody at the minute because it’s still kind of raw with everything and we’ve got two games back to back.”
Lambert believes being one of the bigger clubs in League One will help when it comes to recruiting players.
"I think that’s the beauty about it," he reflected. "I think that’s the big carrot. It’s a really good club and a really good place with a lot of things that’s going on, and Alan Judge has committed to it which is huge for us.
"Hopefully one or two will follow suit and see Ipswich as having a good chance to progress to try and bounce back, which will be really tough, but the club is in a good place and got a lot going for it at the minute, and it’ll be interesting."
Regarding Judge, who recently put pen to paper on a two-year deal, he added: "I think Judge has really enjoyed his football and that’s really the big thing because he’s played in all the games.
"All he probably needs is a goal or two to finish off all his good work, but everything else with the way he’s played has been very, very good."
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