Lambert: Fans Will Accept Clubs Utilising Squads If Season Resumes
Friday, 3rd Apr 2020 11:39
Town boss Paul Lambert believes fans will accept clubs utilising the full extent of their squads, including academy youngsters, when football returns with games likely to be coming thick and fast if and when the 2019/20 campaign is completed. He also suggests that the leagues may have to increase the number of substitutes, perhaps even allowing clubs to swap entire XIs at half-time.
Lambert, speaking on talkSPORT Breakfast with Alan Brazil (9am-9.30am - 8mins 43secs), Lambert was asked about the Blues’ situation, 10th in League One, seven points off the play-offs with eight to play, going into the unexpected break. Can Town get back on a roll and get back in the running?
“We started great, we were top of the league at the end of January, were doing really well, but we got three or four injuries, long-term ones that really hurt us,” Lambert said.
“This break might bring them back, hopefully it does bring them back whenever the season does resume, or if it does. If it does resume, it’s like a restart button, this break.
“My only concern with the whole thing if we’re told to play, if you have to do a mini-pre-season. When you have a pre-season you have to play maybe four or five warm-up games to get ready and you make substitutions.
“So you have to play maybe two teams in two halves and the league’s going to have to say, OK, you can have 11 substitutions because you’re putting everybody at risk again.”
Quizzed on whether Premier League players these days are capable of playing two or three times a week, something which may be required if the season resumes, he reflected: “I think most footballers now, the way the modern day game is, how fit they are, they can turnover the games, they can get three games in.
“And if you have to use even the younger players, the academy kids, I think fans will accept it a lot more now just because of the situation that’s happened.
“I think it will change everybody’s perception on the world of sport, this virus, especially on the football side. If teams have to do that, have to play so many games within a week or over a couple of months, then I don’t think anybody will have any issues with younger players playing and having a turnover in your squad, I really don’t.”
Top flight players and the PFA have come under increasing scrutiny for their high wages at a time when others in football - off-field staff, lower division clubs - are struggling but Lambert believes players themselves are willing to help out locally off their own bats.
“I think that’s what will happen in time,” he continued. “I think lads will do that, they’ll probably get together and say ‘Listen, we need to try and help’ in time.
“The criticism they take is pretty severe at certain times but most of the guys are good at heart really and I think they will definitely get together and say ‘OK, how can we help’, even if it’s just a little bit.
“Especially a club like ourselves, we’re based in the Suffolk area and you just hope that everybody clubs together and tries to help their local community really.”
Lambert himself, who says he and his wife are spending time watching the likes of Tiger King on NetFlix while on lockdown at his new Ipswich home, said last week that he and his staff are willing to take a wage deferral during the current crisis.
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