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‘We can’t buckle or wilt’ – Lambert knows January fixtures are ‘huge’ for Ipswich Town

PUBLISHED: 06:00 01 January 2019

Paul Lambert knows January is a 'huge' month for Ipswich Town. Photo: Steve Waller

Paul Lambert knows January is a 'huge' month for Ipswich Town. Photo: Steve Waller

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Town host fellow relegation-battlers Millwall at Portman Road this afternoon (3pm). STUART WATSON previews the action.

Ipswich Town lost 3-0 at Millwall at The Den back in October. Photo: PagepixIpswich Town lost 3-0 at Millwall at The Den back in October. Photo: Pagepix

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.

MORE: ‘Jonas wants to keep his eye open for something else’ – Lambert on Knudsen future

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.

Paul Lambert watched from the stands when Ipswich Town lost 3-0 at Millwall back in October. He insists they are a different team now. Photo: PagepixPaul Lambert watched from the stands when Ipswich Town lost 3-0 at Millwall back in October. He insists they are a different team now. Photo: Pagepix

“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.

MORE: ‘We’re just having a look at him’ – Lambert on Dawkins trial

“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.

Ipswich Town are set to sign left-back Callum Elder on loan from Leicester City, though he won't be eligible to play in today's game with Millwall due to registration rules. Photo: PAIpswich Town are set to sign left-back Callum Elder on loan from Leicester City, though he won't be eligible to play in today's game with Millwall due to registration rules. Photo: PA

“There are still a hell of a lot of games left for us to rescue this.”

MORE: ‘We need at least half a dozen’ – Lambert on his January transfer window plans

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.

With Jonas Knudsen having said he wants to leave the club, Myles Kenlock is set to get another game today. Photo: PagepixWith Jonas Knudsen having said he wants to leave the club, Myles Kenlock is set to get another game today. Photo: Pagepix

“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.”

MORE: Lambert ready to throw Huws straight back into 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.”

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