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Ipswich Town 2 v 1 Tottenham Hotspur U21
Leasing.com Trophy
Tuesday, 3rd September 2019 Kick-off 19:45
Lambert: I Don't See the Point of the Tournament
Tuesday, 3rd Sep 2019 06:00

Town boss Paul Lambert says he doesn’t see the point of the Leasing.com Trophy and confirmed he will field a much-changed side in the Blues’ first ever game in the competition at home to Tottenham’s U21s (KO 7.45pm).

Following tonight’s match Town play Gillingham at home on Tuesday 8th October (KO 7.45pm) and Colchester away on Tuesday 12th November (KO 7.30pm) in the group stage.

Lambert confirmed that he plans to field an XI very different from the one which defeated Shrewsbury 3-0 at the weekend.

“Oh yeah, I don’t see the point of the tournament, I don’t see it, I don’t get it,” he said. “Too many games. So I’ll definitely change.

“I’ve got to play so many of the lads anyway, but I don’t see the point of the game or the tournament.”

EFL teams are obliged to field four qualifying outfield players in their starting XI. A qualifying outfield player is someone who started the club's previous match, someone in the top 10 players at the club in terms starting appearances in league and domestic cup competitions in the season up to that point, a player with 40 or more first-team appearances over their career or a player on loan from a Premier League or EFL side.

He added: “The amount of games is ridiculous, it’s too many. That’s why you get so many bad games, guys are tired and fatigued. That's just my opinion.

“Fans want to see good football, high quality football, they’re not going to get it with 60-odd games.

“That’s just my opinion, I just think it’s crazy to have another tournament. We have too many games in this country.”

He says he will use the depth of his squad for the game: “I’ve got enough players to play the game, we’ve got some young players that I might have a look at, some guys coming back from injury that I’ll have a look at, some guys that have not played so many minutes, so there’ll be many changes.

“But we’ll go and try and win, try and get off to a start in it but the league’s the most important thing."

Lambert said last week that Jon Nolan, who came on as a sub against his former club Shrewsbury, is likely to play having recovered from his calf injury.

Among those certainly in the XI is Emyr Huws, whose only start so far this season was the Carabao Cup defeat at Luton, while the Welshman has made two League One appearances from the bench.

“Emyr will definitely play, some lads are away on national duty. We’ve one or two that have not played will definitely play,” Lambert continued.

Town have had success in their discussions with the Tunisian and Albanian FAs regarding the availability of Idris El Mizouni and Armando Dobra - who have received calls at U23 and U19 levels respectively - but Anthony Georgiou is already away with the Cypriot full squad and is understood not to have been eligible against his parent club in any case.

Will Keane has played 45 minutes for the U23s since re-signing for Town and Lambert planned to talk to the former Hull City man at the start of this week to see whether he felt ready for tonight’s match as he continues his comeback from the hamstring surgery he underwent early in the summer. However, speaking yesterday, first-team coach Matt Gill said the game would come to early for Keane, although the striker may well be included on the bench.

Lambert says he can empathise with clubs who have made substitutions soon after kick-off in matches in order to get around the EFL’s rules, although they are now less stringent than they were when they were first introduced, the competition having moved to its current format with 16 category one clubs’ U21 sides in 2016/17.

“I can see that because there are too many games, far too many games,” the Town boss reflected.

Might he consider breaking the rules and just taking the £5,000 fine which would be imposed by the EFL? “No, because what tends to happen here is I get fined and I’m not taking the hit on that!”

In reality, Town would have little trouble in fielding a team which meets the EFL’s criteria even if they changed their entire XI with the only players with any first-team experience not meeting the criteria El Mizouni, Dobra, Andre Dozzell, who is away with England U20s, Bailey Clements and Barry Cotter.

Will Norris will be in goal, as he was against the Hatters in the Carabao Cup, while James Wilson will probably be one of the centre-halves having been left out against the Shrews at the weekend.

Lambert may use the game to give Corrie Ndaba his senior debut alongside the former Lincoln man, while Clements is likely to be at left-back and Janoi Donacien on the right.

In what’s likely to be a central midfield three, Nolan and Huws will be joined by El Mizouni with Dobra on the left and Danny Rowe or Gwion Edwards on the right with Jordan Roberts probably the lone striker.

Tottenham are required to start a minimum of six players who played at U21 level as at 30th June this year. They may include two players aged over 21, who have made 40 or more senior appearances. U21 sides play all their games away.

Last season the Spurs youngsters finished second in their group behind eventual winners Portsmouth and qualified for the knockout stage.

They lost their opening game 5-3 on penalties at Crawley following a 1-1 draw, won 4-0 at Gillingham and then were beaten 3-2 at Pompey. They exited in round two after losing 3-0 at Oxford.

The North Londoners’ U23s are currently third in Premier League Two, Division One having won two, drawn one and lost one of their four fixtures.

Among those who could be involved for Spurs is midfielder Shilow Tracey, 21, who was on trial with the Blues in 2015 while an Ebbsfleet player before moving to White Hart Lane.

Also potentially in the Spurs squad is Maurizio Pochettino, 18, son of first-team boss Mauricio Pochettino.

In addition to loanee Georgiou, Town have a number of links with Tottenham, Kane Vincent-Young was with their academy, while Donacien was also a schoolboy with the North Londoners.

Town's academy head of coaching and player development Bryan Klug was their assistant academy manager prior to rejoining the Blues' youth set-up in 2012.

The currently-injured Teddy Bishop is a Spurs fan and his father named him after Teddy Sheringham.

Tottenham's academy manager Dean Rastrick is from Woodbridge and is a former Farlingaye High School pupil.

With many fans boycotting the game due to the involvement of U21s teams - in line with other supporters across the country - and the general lack of interest in the competition, the attendance is likely to be around 5,000 and the club have opened only limited sections of the ground.

If the game is drawn at 90 minutes, it goes straight to penalties. Both teams would receive a point for the draw with the winners of the shoot-out getting an additional point.

Tonight’s referee is Craig Hicks from Surrey, who has shown 20 yellow cards and two red cards in six games so far this season.

Hicks’s only previous Town match was the pre-season friendly at Gillingham in the summer of 2017 which the Blues lost 2-1.

The Gills, who had Tomas Holy in goal, went in front via a soft penalty awarded by Hicks, who kept his cards in his pocket throughout, won by ex-Town midfielder Lee Martin following a challenge by skipper Luke Chambers and converted by Tom Eaves.

Squad from: Norris, Holy, Donacien, Vincent-Young, Kenlock, Clements, Chambers (c), Wilson, Woolfenden, Ndaba, Skuse, Downes, Huws, Nolan, Edwards, El Mizouni, Rowe, Dobra, Jackson, Norwood, Roberts, Keane, K Brown.

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Vancouver_Blue added 06:07 - Sep 3
I agree with Lambo, a meaningless competition. If we beat Spura, the critics will say, it was just their U21s.
However, winning becomes a good habit to get into
6

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 06:31 - Sep 3
Also agree this is a pointless competition beset with somewhat complicated rules and regulations. However, in this case, for us, it’s a good opportunity to give some more players game time.
10

jas0999 added 06:48 - Sep 3
I’m afraid I won’t be attending this one, or any game in the competition. Can’t get excited about it.

The only good thing, is this is an excellent opportunity to give those recovering from injury a run out and to build more confidence by winning the game.
5

Warkystache added 07:16 - Sep 3
Can't see the point myself. Not on the season ticket, and a tenner is a lot for what is effectively a reserve game.

We'd have had better attendances at pre-season friendlies than this charade. Even though there's no league game for 2 weeks, you'd have to be pretty committed to the club to be going.
3

Dissboyitfc added 07:30 - Sep 3
Doesnt sound as though will be ending up with a trip to Wembley then! Although it is a meaningless trophy its not a pointless game, its a chance for returning players to get more game time in!

Would prefer a trip to wembley in this rather than the lottery of the play-offs! Unless of course you win the play-off final.

I do hope that Lambo is going to take the FA cup seriously though, especially as we will join the compo in the earlier stages! Wonder how long the record is for not winning a FA cup tie is? Its not a record i think we should be going for IMO
5

Wooly74 added 07:49 - Sep 3
I’m a season ticket holder from just outside Beccles, committed to the club yes, but not stupid to drive the 84 mile round trip to watch no more than 4-5 of the usual starting line up play an under 23 side.

For me the club should be allowing season ticket holders entry for free for these games, most will spend at least a fiver once in the ground on refreshments etc. One to take note of please Mr Evans, the running costs of the ground and stewards will cost more than you are likely to get with a crowd of only 5k as the majority of these are likely to be children. We have come such a long way in a short period of time recovering this great club of ours, but we need to seriously think about these type of games!
3

Northstandveteran added 08:00 - Sep 3
I won't be going.
It cost me a fortune Saturday.
Every time I handed my ticket over at the turnstile it got torn up.
1

shouldistayorcounago added 08:03 - Sep 3
No judgement being made here, but to those above who have said they won't go tonight or indeed to any of the matches - would you go if we made it to Wembley?
Purely hypothetical as it looks unlikely from the attitude Lambo has to it, but possible nonetheless.

For my money, the format is the biggest issue with it, a group stage is completely unnecessary when it could have been standard knockout rounds. But I do think winning games is a good habit to be in so would hope we go out there to try to win, regardless of the squad we send out.
4

MickMillsTash added 08:28 - Sep 3
I'm going - opportunity to watch the youngsters -
Lets hope that the left back can show some class

1

ITFC_Cotton added 08:49 - Sep 3
Completely agree with Lambo, if the EFL cared about it they wouldn't have introduced the U23 sides into it. £10 for what is essentially a training match is a little steep in my opinion. Still COYB!
0

Guthrum added 08:57 - Sep 3
I take the points about the travesty of Prem U21 sides being involved and about the sheer number of extra games, but this is something else we could win, another bit of silverware. No point in just throwing it away.

Not suggesting we should put out the first team. In any case, there are plenty of good players returning from injury and youngsters establishing themselves in the senior squad, I'm not worried about our strength. I'd just like a bit more of a positive approach.
1

Len_Brennan added 08:59 - Sep 3
I agree with the comments above.
The main plus from these games though is that it gives Emyr Huws (arguably our best midfielder if/when he gets back to his best) and Jon Nolan another avenue to move closer to full match fitness . After that it rewards Dobra and El Mizouni, and to a lesser extent Clements, for their early game performances for the first XI, when the squad was still a bit threadbare. They absolutely deserve the chance to be in & around the first team & get minutes on pitch. I would also like to see Ndaba get a game, as I think we are still a little vulnerable at centre half; notwithstanding the encouraging performances of Wilson and the imminent return of Nsiala.
3

Westy added 09:00 - Sep 3
I agree - and in the context also of us having to play in the FA Cup first round rather than in the third.
0

VanDusen added 09:04 - Sep 3
Well done Lambo: quite right. It used to have a point in giving lower league sides a chance to win a trophy (like the FA Vase/FA Trophy for non-league). But it's now a joke and an insult thanks to Premier League money spoiling it.

Anyone who thinks this is a 'first team' fixture ask yourself this question - Do Spurs see this as a first team fixture? No. So it's not a first team fixture.
0

BroskiBeen added 09:15 - Sep 3
Guess we have a Man.u Europa league type thing here really, man.u hate the Europa but Wolves are dreaming to be in it. This cup is to give lower league teams and players the chance to win something at Wembley, maybe a side like us it isn't designed for, but you can't tell me Chambers wouldn't love to lift this trophy high up at Wembley in front of thousands of town fans? There is no one we need to fear not even some Tottenham or Man City 17 year old in this cup, imagine doing our first ever league and cup double? Prove that even in our darkest day we are still better than the scum, why not go for the cup too, I don't buy the fact that pro footballers/athletes can't play twice in a week
3

Fatboy added 09:44 - Sep 3
PL keeps referring to the season being 60-odd games. By my calculations, if we reach the finals of both the FA Cup (without replays) and the Leasing.com Trophy we will play exactly 60 games, so he is clearly very confident that he can reverse our recent cup record!
0

Mark added 09:45 - Sep 3
How can it be right that different rules apply to the players one team must include compared with the other team? It is wrong that EFL clubs are forced to field first reamers against Premier League U21 teams. I will boycott the competition.
2

rollercoastertown added 09:58 - Sep 3
I get the frustration of too many games. But you do have to use these to our advantage. We do have many players returning from injury over at the moment and will have more over the next few months. What would we usually do to test these players full fitness? Probably arrange a friendly with either a high level teams under 21's or a behind closed doors friendly with another team. Why not do it in a competitive game instead?
1

dirtydingusmagee added 10:40 - Sep 3
not bothered with this one .but FA cup should be taken seriously imo. Lets get into a winning mindset COYB
1

itfchorry added 11:10 - Sep 3
I went to last year’s final - Was absolutely fantastic.

40,000 fans from both Sunderland and Portsmouth.

Atmosphere was second to none.

Also we are yet to play at the new Wembley.

Let’s go for this -
2

ITFCsince73 added 12:13 - Sep 3
The main reason Sunderland and Pompey are in L1 this season.
5

NITFC added 13:23 - Sep 3
I'm not going to this one but I will be the glory hunter that jumps on the bandwagon if we progress from the group
0

BettyBlue added 13:34 - Sep 3
Complacency and negativity from Mick McCarthy Mk2. If you are going into games not wanting to win its time to resign.
-2

runningout added 13:59 - Sep 3
Think a few teams just don’t like the thought of being beat by U21s from Prem. It’s not much different from U23 competition, just highlighted a fraction more
0

Fatboy added 14:21 - Sep 3
Spot on, @ITFCsince73. Would anyone on here trade a top-two finish for a day out at Wembley?
2


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