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What kind of crowd on Friday?
at 10:29 20 Nov 2018

I'm expecting old-school, noisy Ipswich under lights, am I wrong? Feels like a really big one for our season, can't expect a win but I do expect a real battle and if we can come out on the right side I think it'll give us the momentum to pull away soon enough. Hopefully 20,000+ people are of similar mind. Really looking forward to it.
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We have to believe we will stay up under Lambert
at 11:32 11 Nov 2018

Last week I bumped into someone who, shall we say, has exceptionally good insight into how PL works. "He'll keep them up by at least 10 points," he said. "Have you *seen* that team though?" I replied. "Yeah, no problem, 10 points – he'll get into the guys that need getting into and have them feeling 10 feet tall."

Now I think that margin is a stretch but I take the opinion very seriously. If you remember, Grant Holt and Russell Martin (he signed the latter on loan soon after joining but the point remains) were players Lambert got stuck right into at Norwich and although I don't see us having quite the same meteoric rise I think we can already see signs. That's why it's so important people stick with it – yesterday was disappointing but I don't like seeing posts from, in some cases, sensible posters pretty much throwing in the towel. The gap is five points, not 15. There are 29 games left. We have potentially the best manager on our hands since Burley and we'd be doing him a massive disservice by not going all in on positivity and optimism over the next few months. It's not going to be at all easy but I think we're going to do it. See you all at West Brom – Friday night, tenner a ticket, no excuse for it not to be 20,000+.
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The season starts here
at 09:37 30 Oct 2018

Decent first press conference from Lambert, he doesn't ever give much away but you can see what he brings: confidence, competence, authority, presence. Got a good feeling about all of this, in the long run, but we need to start well so let's hope people find it in themselves to come out in numbers on Saturday. We're fortunate that we can still attract a manager of this standing.
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Five of Lambert's first eight games are at home
at 18:55 29 Oct 2018

It's a little run that takes us up to Christmas and the halfway point of the season. It's a good opportunity, too, to get some points on the board and make sure we are competitive going into January. A couple of wins and a draw from those would make a huge difference to us – it's not impossible but the Preston match this weekend is absolutely critical, no two ways about it. If Lambert can get a bounce out of us quickly then in the long run you'd expect us to be ok; home games are definitely the place to start so let's hope he can get us churning results out there.
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Paul Lambert – some quick thoughts
at 09:12 26 Oct 2018

The below should be prefaced by the acknowledgement that it's profoundly disappointing to see the club back here again and I hope that, for whatever good it might do, some sort of review is held into what went so badly wrong in the Mick succession and "new era" hype.

But we are where we are and, with that in mind, I'll be delighted with Lambert. He'd have been right at the top of my list for the job in hand but I didn't really think we'd have much chance of getting him. I've rated him very highly for years (not only for his Norwich work) and instinctively have a good feeling about this.

Forget the Norwich stuff – doesn't matter, he's not exactly yellow through and through, and to be honest I'd be happy to stick Iwan Roberts and Robert Fleck up top if it meant we survived right now. He created an excellent side there that I really enjoyed watching despite the colour of the shirts, that's what I'm interested in, and given that it's the only job where he's had any real stability from a club's owners what he did there interests me greatly – provided we can get out of trouble this season.

First of all he's here to firefight, of course, which is something he's done well at Blackburn and Wolves. Was a little unlucky at Stoke last season, I went to two or three of their games and the energy was far better than in Hughes' latter days. He had to sort out an absolutely rotten dressing room and did it well but couldn't quite get them over the line in time. I expect we'll see an organised, counterattacking Town side this season that prioritises safety but commits men forward in numbers when possible. It might not be especially pretty but as long as he can make us competitive until January – a tough job for anyone with the current lack of forward options, it's important we know that – I'd back him strongly to keep us up. He's well connected enough to call in a favour or two; I can only assume Evans has promised to throw some money at it (and him) too because otherwise I see no reason he'd take this job.

That's the concern for now. Beyond that, it depends on your point of view. This is hardly one last payday for Lambert, he's 49 and has time to come again at the top. Probably feels he has a point to prove given the various shambles he's had to work under, especially at Villa and Blackburn. One concern would be that, a little like Mick, he's arguably become a touch more conservative over time. His Norwich side was forward-thinking and tactically brilliant – they went after whoever they came up against and he made some spot-on changes during games that won them a lot of points. He's definitely tightened up as the years have gone on but, again like Mick, how much of that is down to the job he's been handed. It's something we'd find out next season, I suppose.

I also wonder what, if anything, has changed since he activated his release clause at Blackburn and said the below:

“It could be easy for me to stand here and say I will keep Blackburn in mid-table, or try to fight above relegation, but I don’t want to be that. I’ve never been that person in my life. I’ve done too many things to just want a job. I want to win things."

Perhaps it's just better to be in work than out of it. But it wouldn't surprise me if he had something similar in place here. Presumably he has sounded people out about Evans, who will be a breath of fresh air compared to some of his previous employers (part of the reason I think this is a good fit for all parties). But it's hard to see him sticking around if we can't make the team noticeably better in the longer run.

Anyway – very happy with this so let's hope we get it done with no hitches. He's a good guy too, have had a few dealings with him and know some people who've had far more. Can seem dour on the exterior but will be a decent character for the players to be around and commands respect, again a little like Mick. Is a bright guy and I'd trust him with my club.

That's all coming from a poolside in Cambodia (look at me etc) so perhaps the heat's getting to me but I'm now feeling far more confident about our immediate future – while simultaneously feeling very annoyed that we're going through all this again. Let's get behind Lambert, I think he'll do well here.

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To cheer everyone up, here's how Swansea are getting on
at 11:31 3 Oct 2018

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What happens if we lose at Swansea?
at 22:21 2 Oct 2018

Not "what would you like to happen" ... but we have another break after that, so what actually happens? What does Evans do? We really aren't getting much better but on the other hand there is little prospect of anyone magicking us up a couple of fit strikers to give us half a chance. But if we let this go on much longer it's going to be too much to claw back – the harsh truth is that we aren't good enough and much as it's nice to cling to little patches of play here and there, they are the barest minimum any side should be producing. I don't really know what we do. Until January we're pretty hamstrung and by then it may well be too late.
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No subject
at 18:38 29 Sep 2018

[Post edited 29 Sep 18:44]
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That's Walters done then
at 16:43 26 Sep 2018

Ouch. Only tiny silver lining might be that it concentrates Hurst's mind a little in terms of our approach – but realistically this is a big blow and we are going to really have to struggle through to January now. It's going to be a proper rearguard action in the next window I fear.
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Our Under-23s play some exceptional stuff
at 20:50 24 Sep 2018

But that won't battle-harden them. Need to get the best of these guys phased into senior football, whether off our bench or via the right loan, over this season or we will waste a very good generation. It's not easy, I get that, but there has to be a worry that it won't happen.
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Birmingham (a) and Boro (h)
at 10:49 23 Sep 2018

I'm sounding slightly more hysterical than I'd like here but we really need to pull something out of these games, don't we? And it's going to be very tough indeed. Entering the second international break with no wins from 11 would be a massive concern for me. I know we've been here before under Keane and Jewell but back then you did feel we had players good enough to sort it out eventually. This season I'm nowhere near as sure of that.

I would really like to see how Hurst's long-term plan for us pans out, and have said since the first couple of weeks that the time to worry would be if we were really flailing in January, but I'm not sure I expected what has happened since both on and, it seems, off the pitch. It doesn't feel right to me and if we're any worse off going into October then Evans probably has his biggest decision yet. We are going to be relegated as things stand and that would, contrary to some people's opinions, be an utter disaster. We cannot afford for that to happen.
[Post edited 23 Sep 10:50]
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The Guardian ran a report on today's game
at 16:55 2 Sep 2018

It's here: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/sep/02/ipswich-town-norwich-city-champ
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Walters – I like that a lot
at 15:32 29 Aug 2018

Excellent one to get done if we can. Presumably he'll mainly be here to add an option off the bench and should still have some legs to do what he's good at – hustling defenders, bringing people into the game, winning headers and combining with people around him. Great character to have in the dressing room and can only help the guys we've brought in. Yes please.
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Strikers we could get in
at 10:35 22 Aug 2018

It's a difficult one, isn't it, because we really need someone who can come in to help Harrison/Jackson rather than parachute in to lead the line for the season. Not easy to get those on loan unless they, too, are kids. Add to that the fact that most PL squad players, even if they are a million miles away from playing, are on silly money by our standards and it's hard to do a deal we can afford.

Can only think of two experienced names who might fit the bill in some way. Hemed of Brighton is one – QPR also interested but that seems to have cooled a bit – and the other is Connor Wickham. In Wickham's case there's an obvious appeal that he knows the place, and also from Palace's view that nobody is going to expect him to run around for 90 minutes each week just yet given the problems he's had. Sort of thing that could work for everyone, but still difficult to do.

Realistically I suspect we might end up looking in our own division – Vellios at Forest is one I could see interesting us ...
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This is how it is going to be
at 22:25 21 Aug 2018

I don't really see how people can go from being as high as they were after Saturday to as low as they seem to be tonight – it's a bit ridiculous really, isn't it. There are some obvious concerns, the main one being the lack of numbers in attack, but we are going to be very up and down for some time until things settle – positively or otherwise – and I think it's best to make our peace with it rather than getting too squealy. And that is not to preclude sensible debate and airing of worries, obviously.
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This live streaming / red button for midweek games
at 16:46 20 Aug 2018

Are we completely comfortable with it? I'm not really offering an opinion myself atm, just curious about what others think. Strikes me as a bit of an odd move given that at many clubs it's hard enough to get people through the door, or travelling to games, as it is; but then again it's a level of access that includes everyone and I see the pluses in that. Wonder what the clubs get out of it.
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That fee for Garner ...
at 10:11 10 Aug 2018

... made me do a triple-take in disbelief last night. I'd expected roughly a third of that and it's probably one of the the best deals Evans has ever done. Leaves us comfortably placed for further additions although I do look at our attacking options and worry a little that, for all the excitement about speed and agility, we are going to lack some presence up there and will need it at times. Think we can definitely upgrade on Garner but hope Hurst is able to move quickly over the next couple of weeks – it won't be easy – because otherwise we are going to need one of Jackson and Harrison to start very quickly.
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Let's just enjoy today
at 11:19 4 Aug 2018

Really hard to see how it'll go. Our team isn't ready yet; Blackburn's isn't either, really, but they know each other's games and strengths perfectly. Suspect we'll see fits and starts of exciting stuff from us and periods where they manage us well. Some significant concerns about our defence but their lack of options in attack might assist us on that score. Expecting a low-scoring, high-energy game with shoots of optimism for the future – but it'll be difficult to make many conclusions til we know who actually plays for us and who doesn't. For now, it's a lovely day so let's make a big, positive noise and make it fun for everyone.
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Not to jump the gun but ....
at 11:54 3 Aug 2018

... if anyone wants a nice read, this is an excellent interview with Nsiala from earlier in the year: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2018/01/06/shrewsbury-town-defender-aristot
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Stoke have bid £1m for Knudsen ...
at 18:26 1 Aug 2018

... says the impeccably-connected John Percy. We're in for quite a week ...
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