|Ipswich Town 0 v 1 Fleetwood Town|
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 3rd March 2020 Kick-off 19:45
Lambert: Fleetwood is a Must-Win Game
Monday, 2nd Mar 2020 14:49
Boss Paul Lambert admits Tuesday’s home match against Fleetwood Town is a must-win fixture for the Blues as they look to get their faltering promotion push back on track.
Town go into the match having lost their last two and five of their last seven, dropped to ninth in the table, 10 points off the top two and five from the play-off places.
Fleetwood are one place ahead of Lambert’s men in eighth with three more points and two games in hand.
“Must-win,” Lambert said when asked about his thoughts going into the match following the defeat at Blackpool.
“They’ve done well, but we’re at home and we have to win. The focus is we have to win the game. We can’t afford to draw, we have to win.”
Quizzed on whether he will take an all guns blazing approach given that desperate need for a victory, he added: “That’s the way I always do it, that’s the way my career was.
"I don’t want to go out there for a draw, I don’t want to be defensive or anything like that, we go and try and win the game and that will always will be with me, that will never leave.”
Lambert recalled the game between the sides at Fleetwood in October when Town, at that stage in their early campaign pomp, won a tight fixture 1-0.
“It was a tough game, we played well that day and got the result with Kayden rebounding the freekick,” he continued. “Again it’s going to be another tough game.”
Freddie Sears and Teddy Bishop made their first league starts of the season at Blackpool following their injury absences. Asked whether they’d be ready to start a second game in four days, Lambert wasn’t sure.
“I don’t know,” he reflected. “I’ll have to see how they feel because they’ll be up there with the adrenaline and we have to be really careful how they are. But they’ll be round about it.”
Young forward Armando Dobra made a strong impression from the bench at Blackpool and will be hoping to make his full league debut before the end of the season.
Lambert agreed that the Albanian U19 international was lively when he came on against the Tangerines, as was fellow 18-year-old, striker Tyreece Simpson.
“He was. We’ll see how he feels after that, that was his first game for a little bit that young kid,” he said.
“But he did well. The two kids did well, but to throw them into this environment’s pretty unfair but that’s where we are as a club at the minute, we need the players and the two kids they’ve done themselves proud.”
Fans once again showed their frustrations following the defeat at Bloomfield Road but Lambert urged them to put their grievances to one side and get behind his team on Tuesday and in Saturday's similarly crucial home fixture against leaders Coventry City.
“We’re still in it,” he said. “I get the frustration, they travel all the hours and they were great again at Blackpool and I think they saw the team try to do the right things and [that they were] playing well but [will have been] disappointed with the goals. And we need them, there’s no other way to wrap that up, we need their support.”
Lambert will be forced into at least one change on Saturday with Flynn Downes serving the first game of a two-match ban following his 10th league booking of the season at Blackpool.
The game seems likely to be too soon for either Kane Vincent-Young and Danny Rowe as they continue their comebacks after groin and knee operations respectively.
If Lambert sticks with the 4-3-3 system employed against the Tangerines, then Jon Nolan seems likely to join Cole Skuse and Emyr Huws in the midfield.
At the back, despite having been critical of the defending on both Blackpool’s goals, Lambert, if he continues with the same formation, will probably stick with the back four of - from the right - Luke Woolfenden, skipper Luke Chambers, Josh Earl and Luke Garbutt.
Despite a shaky performance at Bloomfield Road in what were very difficult conditions for keepers, Tomas Holy seems likely to keep his place in goal.
Lambert will probably want to start Sears and Bishop either side of Will Keane up front but if it’s felt they’re not ready for two games in four days then Alan Judge, Gwion Edwards and Dobra could come into the reckoning for places in the XI.
Kayden Jackson will be serving the second game of his three-match ban for his red card against Oxford.
Fleetwood go into the game on the crest of a nine-game unbeaten run, last Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at Sunderland having followed a five-match winning streak. Their weekend fixture at Tranmere was postponed due to the state of the Prenton Park pitch.
Away from home, the Cod Army have won five, drawn four and lost six in League One this season.
Fleetwood boss Joey Barton will be serving the first game of a two-match touchline ban having been red-carded at Wycombe Wanderers last month for abusive language towards a match official.
Striker Ched Evans is available after a three-game suspension having also been sent off against the Chairboys.
Midfielder Kyle Dempsey is expected to miss the rest of the season due to a stress fracture in his back, while Jordan Rossiter remains sidelined with a knee injury.
Ex-Town loanee Callum Connolly is currently on loan at Fleetwood from Everton having joined them in January.
In October in the first ever meeting between the sides, Jackson’s sixth goal of the season saw Town to a 1-0 victory over Fleetwood at Highbury, stretching the Blues’ lead at the top of League One to four points.
Jackson, who later missed a penalty, slammed home the rebound after a Garbutt freekick had been saved in the 58th minute.
Town were reduced to 10 men in injury time when James Wilson was dismissed for a second bookable offence but the Blues were able to hang on for their fifth away win of the season.
Tuesday’s referee is Neil Hair from Cambridgeshire, who has shown 77 yellow cards and three red in 25 games so far this season.
Hair’s only previous Town match was the 1-1 draw with Sunderland at Portman Road in August in which he booked Flynn Downes and one Black Cat.
One of Hair’s assistants will be Colchester-based official Aaron Farmer, who was the linesman whose advice led to referee Alan Young controversially disallowing Town’s goal in the November home game against Wycombe.
Farmer was also the referee for the U23s’ pre-season friendly at Coggeshall in July when he refused to officiate for the final 30 minutes of a game of three thirds as the teams were planning to rotate their players using roll-on, roll-off subs.
More recently and less eventfully, Farmer was an assistant in the 5-3 defeat at Lincoln City in late December.
Squad from: Holy, Norris, Edwards, Donacien, Garbutt, Kenlock, Earl, Chambers (c), Wilson, Woolfenden, Skuse, Dozzell, Huws, Bishop, Judge, Nolan, Dobra, Hughes, Keane, Sears, Simpson.
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