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Lambert: Ludicrous Decision to Play the EFL Trophy This Season
Friday, 2nd Oct 2020 11:18

Blues manager Paul Lambert has slammed the decision to play the EFL Trophy this season with sides facing fixture congestion even without that tournament given the late start to the campaign due to the coronavirus crisis.

Town host Gillingham on Tuesday in the second of their three group games - they were beaten 2-1 by Arsenal’s U21s in the first - with the finalists facing a further five matches in the knockout stage.

The Blues played five games last season before exiting 2-1 at Exeter City in the round of 16.

“The way it was working with maybe 50-odd games in a 35-week season, it’s ludicrous and the other good idea is playing EFL Trophy, absolutely ludicrous that, really, really mental,” Lambert said.

“They should have sacrificed that tournament for one year at least until everybody gets over this and we get supporters back and we get everybody healthy. To go and play another six games is absolute nonsense.”

So you wouldn’t be too disappointed if you didn’t progress this year? “We go and try and win but you’re asking people to go through 50-odd games in a 35-week season. That’s absolutely mental. Mental whoever has told us to play that. It’s a crazy situation.”

Asked whether managers were consulted before the decision to play the competition was made, he responded: “What do you think? I’ve got no doubt every manager would have said they [the EFL] have to sacrifice something.

“Okay, the FA Cup is one game and penalties and the Carabao Cup is one game and penalties, fine. But we’re adding another six [sic] games into it, and it’s a ludicrous decision.”

Looking ahead to Tuesday’s game against the Gills, Lambert has previously said he would “try and play the kids” in the game. However, with the Charlton game on the following Saturday off, might he now field a stronger line-up?

“I don’t know,” he reflected. “As I’ve said, I don’t think it’s a competition that should have been played due to the pandemic and due to the amount of games.

“I think common sense had to prevail there and I don’t think it has, and they should have sacrificed that tournament for me this year, that’s for sure.”

However, he hasn’t ruled out the likes of Luke Woolfenden, Alan Judge and Kayden Jackson being involved as they continue their comebacks from injury.

“Woolfy, there’s a chance of him playing on Tuesday, but they’ve had a good week those guys,” he said.

“Kayden has obviously had a longer lay-off, Woolfy has been a few weeks and Judgy the same, so we’ll see how everybody is.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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Northstandveteran added 11:34 - Oct 2
Had you not taken us down to this division it wouldn't have been a problem for you to worry about would it Paul?

Edmundo added 11:42 - Oct 2
Bit harsh, NSV, he inherited possibly the worst Ipswich Town squad ever, with moral at rock bottom due to Hurst-Doidge "man-management".
I agree with Lambo: totally ridiculous having teams have to field a side vs Prem U-21 teams, paying to host them whist the football economy collapses around them. But hey, Sky Sports has all the Premiership footy on, so who cares?

Pencilpete added 11:52 - Oct 2
The Game has to be played so lets make a positive out of it - Personally i'd use it like a reserve game - play players coming back from injury who need minutes Jackson, Judge , Woolfenden and others who haven't had alot of game time for whatever reason the likes of Cornell, Kenlock, Huws, Donacien ETC and then any gaps can be filled with youngsters such as Dobra, Ndaba to give them some experience

The players coming back from injuy would benefit from a half or an hour against Gillingham then with the Cgarlton game being off they can have naother 10 days of training and they'll not be far off being 100% for the League games

That would still look a strong side on paper

Kesblue66 added 11:59 - Oct 2
PL.Stop whinging and get on with it.You have got plenty of "kids"who would welcome a game.

VanDusen added 12:06 - Oct 2
I just wish Lges1 and 2 would take a stand and not play these ludicrous reserve games. Money talks and integrity erodes further as the Showbiz League strangles the life out of everything.

Still - let's just lose on Tuesday and we can not worry about it...

BlueandTruesince82 added 12:57 - Oct 2
Yes if only Lambo hadn't got us relegated with an inherited squad not of his making already low in confidence and out of their depth we wouldn't have to play it.


Northstandveteran added 13:51 - Oct 2
Fair point Edmundo.

But unlike when M.M took over ( yes with a better squad ) there was never a point where results or performances improved.

And he did have many games to address the problems.

Still, that's in the past now.

But appreciate your response.

Suffolkboy added 14:33 - Oct 2
PL has a real point here ; not only regarding the resumption after unavoidable lay off , but the intensity of demands AND the imposition of further costs and inevitable losses when finances are being stretched to previously unbelievable extremes .,
There can be no comparison meaningfully with anything that’s gone before — these are unprecedented situations .
SO let’s all do our damndest to support ITFC in every step along the way — and all means everybody working to keep our Club together and performing well .

BlueandTruesince82 added 15:13 - Oct 2

I would disagree, Entirely subjective of course but performances did improve but didn't translate into goals or wins. That's why there was so much good will around in spite if that relegation.

MM inherited a stronger squad as you say and one that was more familiar with each other too.

Thats not to say I thi k Lambo is the man to take us forward (though I hope he proves me wrong) but I think laying the blame of our relegation at his door is rather unfair.

Northstandveteran added 16:40 - Oct 2
As you know blue and true,

I am a massive fan of sarcasm so liked your first post 😁

That's not sarcasm by the way.

Oh I wasn't blaming him entirely for relegation, there are a myriad of factors that have led to our demise.

It's just my personal opinion that he had enough games to get us out of the bottom three.

But as I said, that's in the past now but am certainly not getting carried away with wins over clubs with threadbare squads.

I know as Ipswich fans we cling to every crumb of optimism for dear life but will reserve my judgment until at least may following last season 😂

Still, three wins from three and yet to concede in the league is all you can ask for.

Who knows what the season has in store for us?

Not me, that's for sure!

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