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Lambert: One or Two Young Lads May Play at Colchester
Monday, 11th Nov 2019 16:08

Manager Paul Lambert says some of the Blues’ youngsters could be involved when Town take on Colchester United in their third and final Leasing.com Trophy group game at the JobServe Community Stadium on Tuesday evening (KO 7.30pm).

Lambert made 10 changes from last Tuesday’s 1-0 League One win at Rochdale for Saturday’s 1-1 FA Cup home draw with Lincoln and the team which faces the U’s is likely to be even further away from what might be viewed as a first XI.

Asked what sort of team he might field at Colchester following Saturday’s game, Lambert said he hadn’t decided but felt under no pressure with the Blues already having confirmed their place in the knockout phase.

“We’re already through, we’re through in the group. I don’t know. I’ll see on Monday,” he said. “I’ll see, we’ve already qualified so I can pick what team I want.

“We’ve got to watch the lads, lads are never going to play 60 games, you’d be off your head if you think they can play that.

“I’ll pick a team, whether the young lads will maybe play as well, we’ll look at some of those guys. We need to see the younger guys to see if they can play in front of a crowd.

“So it’s good for the club, it’s great for the supporters to see one or two young ones getting thrown in.”

Lambert hasn’t held back in his criticism of the competition since the beginning of the season - “I don’t see the point of the tournament” - but he concedes it has helped the development of the likes of Armando Dobra and Idris El Mizouni, while he has also given senior debuts to Tommy Hughes and Tyreece Simpson.

“Yes, but Dobra or Idris, any of the guys, Ben Folami, you can go through them all, Brett McGavin, I’ve seen enough of them to know what these guys can do,” he added.

“It’s going into the first-team environment where they’re training with us and can handle training with us in the first place, rather than just throwing them into a game where it’s tough.

“So when they come up and train with me I know exactly what the guys can do and I know if they can handle it.

“Whatever team I play on Tuesday, as I say, we’re already qualified and we’ll go there and will try and win.”

Town are currently top of their qualification group and are definitely through to the next round, however, a point would secure top spot which would mean a guaranteed home match in the round of 32 against one of the runners-up from another of the eight southern-based qualification groups.

The draw takes place live on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday at 2pm with former Crystal Palace striker Clinton Morrison and ex-England midfielder Sue Smith in charge of picking the balls from the bowl.

Lambert would very much like to confirm a home tie in the round of 32, although he admits he’s not entirely au fait with the overall position.

“Yes, I don’t know the points in the group or anything like that just now, somebody just told me we’d qualified,” he said.

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.

Town have sold 2,600 tickets for the match and, with significantly fewer Colchester fans expected to attend, the Blues’ following is likely to dwarf home crowd.

“The support is brilliant,” Lambert reflected. “The biggest achievement is the crowd coming back, that’s the biggest thing because the crowd, what I saw a few years back maybe weren’t where they are now, but they’re in a really good place for the team, really good place for the club. That’s the main thing.

“So any game we go to, it doesn’t surprise me now because the way it is connected with the club. It’s great.

“It’s good that it’s only maybe half an hour down the road that they can come, our support is a brilliant support. The support we’ve got is phenomenal, absolutely first class.”

Town have had a very significant share of the crowds at a number of their games this season - 4,014 out of 10,071 at Peterborough, 3,360 of 10,167 at the MK Dons - but Tuesday is likely to be the first time the Blues have outnumbered home fans since their games against the old Wimbledon at Selhurst Park and the National Hockey Stadium in 2002/03 and 2003/04.

Lambert is restricted to the side he picks to some extend due to the rules of the competition with EFL teams 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. If clubs transgress that rule they face a £5,000 fine.

Lambert may opt to start Tomas Holy in goal - the Czech having missed the last three games - with full-backs Janoi Donacien and Myles Kenlock likely to keep their places.

Toto Nsiala may well be given another game at the heart of the defence as he continues his return from injury alongside either James Wilson or Luke Woolfenden.

Corrie Ndaba, who might well have stood a chance of a senior debut, joined Hemel Hempstead Town on loan on Friday along with young left-back Bailey Clements.

In midfield, Andre Dozzell and Flynn Downes are both away on international duty with the England U20s so Lambert will have to make changes there.

Emyr Huws could start again, although Lambert may be loath to give the Welshman two games in such a short space of time, especially with there being an FA Cup replay at Lincoln a week on Wednesday.

He could opt to bring in one of his senior men, such as Jon Nolan, while he may well be tempted to give a youngster a start, perhaps McGavin or Hughes.

Out wide, Anthony Georgiou could start as he did on Saturday, while Gwion Edwards or Danny Rowe might also be in the XI with Armando Dobra unavailable as he is away with the Albanian U19s squad.

Lambert might look to start Idris El Mizouni off his main central striker and who that might be is another question. Will Keane might not be given another start so soon after playing the full 90 on Saturday as he continues his comeback.

With Jordan Roberts out with a toe injury, Ben Folami away with Australia’s U23s and Ben Morris still on the way back from his cruciate knee ligament tear, Lambert may well be forced to start one of his first-choice front two, either James Norwood or Kayden Jackson.

Simpson could well be involved at some stage from the bench, while forward Kai Brown may also be included in the matchday 18 or at least the travelling squad.

Former Blues central defender and current Colchester boss John McGreal is hoping his club's fans will turn out in numbers given the big Town support.

"By all accounts, Ipswich have already sold over 2,000 for the away end," he told the Colchester Gazette.

"They're coming fully-loaded, which shows the terrific support they've got.

"But hopefully, despite our disappointing performance at the weekend [when they were beaten 2-0 at home by Coventry in the FA Cup], our fans will stick with us and get behind us because we need their support.

"We'd love our supporters, their family and friends, to come along so we're not outnumbered here at home."

The U's, who prior to the defeat to the Sky Blues had won three on the trot in all competitions, including a 3-1 Carabao Cup victory at Crawley which saw them into a quarter-final tie at Manchester United, are currently eighth in League Two.

Historically, Town have the edge over the U's having won 10 of the games between the teams and the U’s four, while another four have ended in draws.

Two of those 10 victories having come in cup competitions, both in the League Cup. In 1970 Bobby Robson’s Blues beat Colchester 4-0 at Portman Road and in 2008 goals from Pablo Couñago and Kevin Lisbie gave Town a 2-1 home victory over the U’s in a the Carling Cup second round tie, Steven Gillespie netting for the visitors.

That match was the last competitive fixture between the teams but the sides have played regularly in pre-season since then, most recently in July when Town thrashed the North Essex side 5-0 at the JobServe Community Stadium. James Norwood netted a hat-trick and Kayden Jackson scored twice.

The U's are managed by former Blues defender McGreal, while keeper Dean Gerken left Portman Road at the end of last season.

Another ex-Town defender, Tom Eastman, is a stalwart of the Colchester backline, while they added one-time Blues academy defender Omar Sowunmi to their squad from Yeovil over the summer.

Striker Frank Nouble was with Town between 2013 and 2015, while midfielder Diaz Wright is the son of former Blues midfielder Jermaine.

Colchester’s goalkeeper-coach Darren Smith left the same role with the Town academy to join the U’s in the summer. Smith had previously had a stint as the Blues’ first-team keeper-coach during Paul Hurst’s brief spell in charge at Portman Road.

Colchester's director of football is another ex-Town defender, Tony Humes, while Richard Hall - a Town supporter and youth player as a youngster - and Sean Thacker both work in their academy having previously coached at Playford Road.

Former Blues midfielder David Gregory is Colchester's press and communications officer.

Town boss Lambert was Colchester manager between October 2008 and August 2009.

Keeper-coach Jimmy Walker was on loan with the U’s from West Ham between November 2008 and March 2009, making 16 starts.

New academy keeper-coach Carl Pentney is also a former Colchester player, although without making a senior appearance, and hails from the North Essex town.

Currently injured full-back Kane Vincent-Young joined the Blues from the U’s in August for £500,000 having previously had a trial at Portman Road the previous summer.

Luke Garbutt spent time on loan at the Jobserve Community Stadium between September 2013 and January 2014, making 20 starts and scoring three goals.

Freddie Sears was with the U’s from January 2012 to January 2015, initially on loan from West Ham, prior to joining Town.

The striker, who is still a few months away from his return from injury, made 81 starts and 28 sub appearances for the U’s, scoring 36 times.

Andre Dozzell’s father Jason and Brett McGavin’s dad Steve are both former U’s players.

Tuesday’s referee is Sam Purkiss, who has shown 40 yellow cards and no red in 12 games so far this season.

Purkiss, who is in his first season as an EFL official following two years in the National League, will be taking charge of both Town and the U’s for the first time.

Squad from: Holy, Norris, Wright, Edwards, Donacien, Garbutt, Kenlock, Chambers, Wilson, Woolfenden, Nsiala, Skuse, McGavin, Huws, Hughes, Nolan, Rowe, Georgiou, Jackson, Norwood, Keane, Simpson, K Brown.

Photo: TWTD

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alfromcol added 16:18 - Nov 11
We need a win or a draw for a home tie in the next round. I'm sure Lambert knows this.

2600 aren't going to see the u23's

CraigEdwards added 16:26 - Nov 11
Injuries are the last thing you want from this game that really is a friendly.
Blooding young players at this level is a great opportunity to show us all the fantastic quality that we have coming through the youth system.
PL is 100% right so let's get behind the boss and the lads like we have done all season. Coybs

Wacko added 16:29 - Nov 11
Does anyone else read Lambert's quotes in the voice of Donald Trump?

DifferentGravy added 16:55 - Nov 11
Now THIS is where starting players should be rested and youngsters given the opportunity to shine. Fringe players, Under 23s....even a couple of the under 18s. All of us (i like to think) would give the youngsters our full support as they are the future of this club and there are bound to be a few hidden gems just waiting for their chance.

Be great if anyone attending could take some footage for highlights.

Come on you blue

BurleysGloryDays added 17:45 - Nov 11
Well done to the fans going down to Colchester!

Guys, for anyone wondering why Lambo is so keen to rest players all the time. Look at the fixture list for Christmas, for example.

This is a long season. The fresher we are going into those patches, and the more tired our oppo our for constantly using their starting 11, the better we'll be.

How many teams top of the league at this stage in the season go up?

The answer is, in the minority. They can't sustain.

In Lambo WE TRUST!

Mark added 17:57 - Nov 11
> Lambert may well be forced to start one of his first-choice front two, either James Norwood or Kayden Jackson.

There is no way either of those two should start in the Leasing.com U21 Trophy when they were rested for the FA Cup match! We should play youngsters in this competition except where it benefits a senior player to get game time (I think sticking to Saturday's back four may be good for them). I am happy for this tinpot competition to receive the disrespect it deserves. The FA Cup on the other hand should be respected.

BettyBlue added 18:11 - Nov 11
You really don't know what you're doing, Paul.

If you're not that bothered why have a press conference, why bother going, in fact why send a team.....

SamsDad added 18:56 - Nov 11
Ive got a fiver that says that actually he does know what team hes going to play. And another fiver that says these comments were made after the game on Saturday.

Bettyblue if you actually read the article it says it was when asked after Saturdays game. I would respectfully suggest that you're the one who doesn't know what they are doing

Dozzells_Bobblehat added 19:29 - Nov 11
Betty Blue. - bore off

Kickingblock added 19:40 - Nov 11
Thinking of the players, this trophy competition is their best and most realistic chance of winning a medal. As for the supporters, the best chance of a trip to Wembley. A run is all you'll get in the FA cup which could prove detrimental to this season's remit.
I'm sure that whoever pulls on a shirt will be up for it and doing their best to impress.
This will be like a home game regarding the support and that's bound to influence the game.
Is there a master plan?
Developing players is town's best option.
Players, do your best and supporters, please be patient and no booing, we all make mistakes.

BettyBlue added 20:49 - Nov 11
thanks bobble but that comment is limited if not boring itself

why not defend PL sticking out duff teams to lose matches?
why not ask how are young players supposed to prove anything in a team that hasn't ever played together?

and after a year in charge why not answer what has PL brought to our playing style? that's 12th months and most of the first team still look like they've never played together.

but you'll no doubt be pleased with getting knocked out of the play-offs as we haven't scored any goals.

Dozzells_Bobblehat added 21:36 - Nov 11
Betty .
We are top of the league you Muppet .
We have fans flocking back
Great away following
The Atmosphere is totally different around the club .
Yet all you can do is come on here and moan .
People like u p*ss me off

VanDusen added 22:34 - Nov 11
Joke game. Joke competition. Bless the 2600 turning out for a reserve game. Hope we go out next round tho.

RobsonWark added 23:40 - Nov 11
Bobblehat Betty speaks a lot of truth. Chambers has made soooooooooooooo many mistakes at the back as he did last season but fortunately the opposition forwards haven't been so clinical in finishing.

Changing the team to save the first teamers for an important game the next week doesn't work - how many times did MM try that!

ChateauWines added 06:30 - Nov 12
Putting out a shadow team in the FA cup I found baffling for all the reasons previously posted. Play a few fringe players but not an XI who would never play a league game together. Tonight is a crazy one however. We are through but need at least a point to get a home draw in next round and then be 5 games from Wembley as the highest ranked team in competition at present. We also have 2,500+ fans coming to my home town which shows as fans we do care. Put out a team that should win. A solid side with a few youngsters gives them a fair chance to shine, a tombola side will show nobody anything.

pablopablopablo added 06:50 - Nov 12
I love Paul Lambert.. but, I find it incredible that (regardless of what he thinks of the competition) he wasn't aware that Ipswich had qualified!

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 07:21 - Nov 12
Remember that the complicated rules for this competition state we have to play (in effect) a number of first teamers. I’ll be happy to see a few younger players given a chance, personally. But for them to learn, it needs to be a mixtue of the two.

IpswichT62OldBoy added 09:15 - Nov 12
Betty Troll.
Best ignored

ArnieM added 09:22 - Nov 12
Although it’s not comfortable watching ad hoc Town teams for a lot of games , looking at the bigger picture I think we will probably thank PL for using this season to bring on our youngsters 8n mor3 meaningful games that boy ya U 23 matches- the6 benefit so much from playing against betters sides than U 23.

TractorRoyNo1 added 09:57 - Nov 12
We are not going to win the fa cup but could win this trophy - come on PL give us a day at Wembley

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 10:01 - Nov 12
Power to the 2,600! I'd be there too if I could!

itk92 added 11:01 - Nov 12
For any of you gamblers. Just spoke with a friend who uses same agent as Neil Harris. He’s getting Cardiff job. 4/6 with sky bet atm

markytitfc added 11:13 - Nov 12
Hats off to PL for being able to get a team together at all, bearing in mind the vast amount of players away on international duty, well done Paul, good work, shame you can't get one together for Saturdays postponed game at Oxford.
Bit of a farce I think

markytitfc added 11:23 - Nov 12
I think its such a shame that PL totally disrepects this competition, pointless though it is, and also the best football competition in the world that is the FA cup. If you're not going to embrace it, don't enter! Man Utd opted out a few years back. Lambert must have been gutted when we equalised😀

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 13:38 - Nov 12
I don't like this competition. It's just a way to let the PL clubs give their youngsters some target practice. But if you do enter a competition, then you've got to take it seriously.

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