‘We can’t buckle or wilt’ – Lambert knows January fixtures are ‘huge’ for Ipswich Town
PUBLISHED: 06:00 01 January 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town host fellow relegation-battlers Millwall at Portman Road this afternoon (3pm). STUART WATSON previews the action.
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says his team can’t afford to wilt or buckle during a ‘huge’ month.
Following festive defeats at QPR and Middlesbrough, the Blues are seven points adrift of safety at the foot of the Championship table.
They start 2019 with relegation ‘six-pointers’ against Millwall and Rotherham at Portman Road – either side of an FA Cup tie at League One side Accrington Stanley – then travel to out-of-form Blackburn.
“It’s a huge month, but so was August, so was July, so was June,” said Lambert. “You can’t just be saying how big games are in December/January. If you take your eye off the ball in August you end up in this position and that’s what happened.
“But you have to stay with. I don’t think you can buckle or wilt. You have to be ready.
“The great thing we’ve got is that the supporters have been absolutely brilliant. I think they recognise the situation we’re in. If we can stick things together and get a few in then let’s see what happens.
“There are still a hell of a lot of games left for us to rescue this.”
Millwall arrive in Suffolk having risen to 20th in the table after successive 1-0 home wins against Reading and Nottingham Forest over Christmas. The Lions had gone eight games without a victory prior to that though and are yet to win on their travels this season.
Town lost 3-0 at The Den back on October 27, a game Lambert watched from the stands after being appointed.
“Millwall deserved to win the game,” he reflected. “They were stronger and more at it, but if you asked the lads now they would tell you we are a totally different team.”
Town have scored just two goals in their last six games, with Lambert having said he wants to strengthen ‘right across the front line’.
“We’re playing really, really well, we just need the top end to take more of a risk,” said the Blues boss, whose team have improved vastly in possession of the ball.
“This is the way I want to play football. We are not physically strong enough to play long ball. We don’t have the players to do it. We don’t have that strength in the middle of the pitch.
“The lads have given me everything, they just need to find that finishing touch.”