Lambert: There Are a Few of Them Definitely Out So We Have to Make Changes
Friday, 6th Nov 2020 11:21
Town boss Paul Lambert says that he will make changes when the Blues face Portsmouth in the FA Cup at Portman Road on Saturday with a few players definitely out and others he wants to rest after a busy schedule in the opening couple of months of the season.
Lambert can welcome back Jon Nolan after his three-match ban following his red card at Lincoln, but has lost another midfielder Andre Dozzell to a suspension for his dismissal at Sunderland on Tuesday.
Town will also be without central defender Luke Woolfenden on Saturday and for Tuesday's Papa John's Trophy tie at Crawley as he is self-isolating having come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
“There are a few of them definitely out, so we have to change,” Lambert said when asked whether there are any other injuries ahead of the visit by Pompey.
“We got back at four o’clock in the morning after Tuesday and there are one or two carrying knocks and it’s too early for them.
“Thankfully we’ve got the break next week as well because we’ve played Saturday-Tuesday for a long time.
“We’ll go as strong as we possibly can to try and get through and it’s up to the guys to make my job difficult for the next game, or they make it easy.”
Lambert is pleased that there is a break next weekend with the game the Blues were set to play a week on Saturday the Blackpool fixture which was brought forward to the October international break.
“I think they need it, to be fair I think every team in the division needs a little bit of a breather just with the number of games everybody’s played, and obviously the travelling we’ve been doing has been a lot,” he said.
“That’s the way the league is shaping up with the games Saturday-Tuesday. Obviously October was seven or eight games and then in November there’s not too many midweeks, so I don’t know why we’ve crammed nearly every game into October. We’ve two cup games now, so let’s see what happens.”
A number of those who started on Tuesday - Stephen Ward, Teddy Bishop, Jack Lankester, Alan Judge and Kayden Jackson - have either recently returned from a recent knock or have previously had long spells out with more serious injuries. Lambert says he won’t be taking any risks given that situation.
“No, we can’t, and that's why there will be a few changes in it because we have to for those reasons,” he said.
“We have to look after them and don't keep flogging it all the time with the guys. It is a tough, tough schedule and if you do win the next two games, there's no blank midweek until January which is an incredible thing to go through.
“Hopefully, we'll get a few of the guys back like Aaron [Drinan], Flynn [Downes] and Cole [Skuse]. James Norwood has started to train, but he's not kicked a ball in a few months. Kayden has just come back, so it's a tough schedule.
Asked whether any of those currently sidelined might be back when the Blues get back into League One action when Shrewsbury visit Portman Road on Saturday 21st November, Lambert says most are still a little way off a return.
“Cole and Flynn definitely won’t,” he said. “Kane Vincent-Young is doing a lot better and starting to run, which is good but he won't be ready.
“Aaron, we don't know we'll have to wait and see how he does in the next couple of weeks which is good.
“James Norwood has started to train but still not played any minutes, which is tough for a number of months. We're getting them back slowly but surely which will be a big help.”
Given his plans to make changes Lambert was quizzed on whether loanee Keanan Bennetts would be handed his full debut on Saturday having shown he is a player who likes to make things happen in his seven sub appearances up to now.
“He does, he’s got really quick feet, the lad is still finding his way in but I’ve been happy with how he’s done,” the Blues manager said.
“He’s has little fits and starts, the secret for him is being consistent, I think. He’ll come into my thinking for Saturday and Tuesday.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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