'Five points is nothing' - Lambert repeats his mantra ahead of Sheffield United clash
PUBLISHED: 06:00 22 December 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town host Sheffield United in a Championship match at Portman Road today. STUART WATSON previews the action.
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert believes everyone can see things are ‘slowly but surely turning’ for the club.
The rock-bottom Blues finally got their first win under Lambert, and first home win of the season, when beating Wigan in a scrappy match at Portman Road last weekend.
It reduced the gap to Championship safety back to five points heading into a busy festive period which begins with the visit of promotion-chasing Sheffield United this afternoon.
“The feeling I get here is that everyone’s right behind it,” said Lambert. “Everyone at the stadium, the training ground – everyone’s right behind it and can see it slowly but surely turning.
“I think they’ve improved as individuals and we’ve improved at a team.
“Five points is nothing. I said that a long time ago and if you have a good week in the Championship you find yourself starting to move places.”
On the prospect of facing Sheffield United today, Lambert said: “They are a good side with a lot of Championship experience so it will be a tough game. But we’ll be trying to win.
“I know the way we will try and play so whether they play three or four (at the back) we do it our own way and try and play our own game.
“I respect what they’ve got but I have a great belief in the way we want to play.
“You can’t predict the result but we will be ready for the game, that’s for sure.
“It’s a tough game but if we can build on last week it will be great for us and it will be a lot more rosey.”
Last five finishes: 10th (Championship), 1st, 11th, 5th, 7th (all League One)
Manager: Chris Wilder (May ‘16): P126 W66 D25 L35
League away form: W6 D1 L4 F18 A14
Last away game: W 2-0 Reading
Last game: L 2-1 West Brom (h)
Margins of victory: 1 (x6), 2 (x3), 3 (x2)
Margins of defeat: 1 (x6), 3 (x1)
Current form: LWLWD DLWDL
Top-scorers: Sharp (12), McGoldrick (6)
Most league starts: 22: Henderson, O’Connell; 21: Basham, Egan, Fleck, Stevens
20 – Points out of a possible 24 for Sheffield United against teams currently in the bottom nine (W6 D2 L0)
10 – Blanks in 22 home games for Town in 2018
Town’s home record in 2018: P22 W3 D10 L9 F16 A29
Ipswich Town team news
• Paul Lambert says he has ‘one or two knocks’ and ‘one or two’ players struggling with a virus.
• The Blues boss says he will rotate his squad over a busy Christmas period which includes four games in 11 days.
• Since recovering from an ankle injury, striker Ellis Harrison has made two substitute appearances but also been left out of two squads entirely. “We’ve got to balance the bench out,” explained Lambert. “Kayden Jackson was unwell at Stoke and Ellis did well and then I thought Kayden might have been appropriate for the Wigan game.
“I’ll just pick and choose what I think is going to benefit the team on that day.”
• Emyr Huws and Tom Adeyemi remain unavailable.
Sheffield United team news
• Chris Wilder could have last season’s 19-goal topscorer Leon Clarke available again after injury.
• Midfielder John Lundstram and striker Conor Washington could return to the side, following last Friday’s 2-1 defeat at West Brom, should Wilder want to rotate.
• Wilder has been critical of his players, to varying degrees, over the last month – particularly after a 2-2 draw at Rotherham at the end of November.
Opposition key man
The former Huddersfield and Reading man, on loan from Brighton, is the man who can pick the lock with a fine range of passing. The type of Championship experience Town lack.
Ipswich Town 17/4
Sheffield United 16/19
Andy Woolmer (Northants)
Games: 3, Yellows: 12, Reds: 1
Ipswich Town 0 Sheffield United 0
Date: Saturday, March 10, 2018
An instantly forgettable match as Town drew a blank at home for the fourth successive game. The Blades had won 1-0 at Portman Road in the FA Cup third round just a few weeks earlier. Mick McCarthy’s men had lost 1-0 at Bramall Lane earlier in the campaign.
Ipswich Town 0 Sheffield United 1
Blades good on their travels and against lowly sides. Fear Town, for all their improvements, will come up just short.