'It's too many games... It's not healthy' - Lambert to ring the changes for Carabao Cup clash at Luton
PUBLISHED: 14:40 12 August 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says he will make several changes to his team for tomorrow night's Carabao Cup first round game at Luton Town (7.45pm ko).
The Blues head to Kenilworth Road as underdogs, the two sides having recently swapped divisions - Town dropping into the third-tier for the first time in 62 years and the Hatters back in the Championship following a 12-year absence.
This is the third of a guaranteed eight games in 32 days for Town, while victory tomorrow night would make it nine.
Such a hectic start is not ideal given that seven first-teamers - Toto Nsiala, Gwion Edwards, Jon Nolan, Jack Lankester, Teddy Bishop, Tristan Nydam and Freddie Sears - are all currently injured.
It means that largely untested youngsters such as Bailey Clements, Corrie Ndaba, Armando Dobra and Idris El Mizouni are in line for game-time tomorrow. New keeper Will Norris, on loan from Wolves, will make his debut, while Emyr Huws could make his first competitive start in 20 months.
"We don't have a massive, massive squad with the players still coming back from injury," said Lambert. "But we'll definitely have to look at a few changes. We have to. There is no other option.
"We've got a game Saturday (Peterborough away), a game Tuesday (AFC Wimbledon at home), a game Saturday (Bolton away), maybe another midweek game the following week (next round of Carabao Cup), then a game Saturday (Shrewsbury at home). For me it's too many games. It's not healthy. It's not healthy for the game.
"You can't keep flogging the same players. I've said that from day one. That's why the squad needs strengthening a little bit."
Lambert, who has said he wants to add three more players to his squad before the transfer deadline of September 2, was asked where cup competitions ranked in terms of his priorities this season.
"I'm a great believer that if you're in something you go and try and win it," he said. "Otherwise what's the point? You may as well pull out.
"We'll have a lot of fans going (more than a 1,000 away tickets sold). It will be a really tough game, but we'll go there and try and win. I trust everybody that will be selected to try and get us through."
EIGHT (POSSIBLY NINE) GAMES IN 32 DAYS
Sat Aug 3: Burton (a) W 1-0
Sat Aug 10: Sunderland (h) D 1-1
Tues Aug 13: Luton (a) - Carabao Cup
Sat Aug 17: Peterborough (a)
Tues Aug 20: AFC Wimbledon (h)
Sat Aug 24: Bolton (a)
Tues Aug 27: Carabao Cup 2nd rd?
Sat Aug 31: Shrewsbury (h)
Tues Sept 3: Tottenham U21s (h) - EFL Trophy
TOWN'S LAST 10 YEARS IN THE LEAGUE CUP
2018/19: 1st rd - Exeter (a) - D 1-1 (lost on pens)
2017/18: 2nd rd - Palace (a) - L 2-1
2016/17: 1st rd - Stevenage (h) - L 1-0
2015/16: 3rd rd - Man Utd (a) - L 3-0
2014/15: 1st rd - Crawley (a) - L 1-0 (aet)
2013/14: 1st rd - Stevenage (a) - L 2-0
2012/13: 2nd rd - Carlisle (a) - L 2-1 (aet)
2011/12: 1st rd - Northampton (h) - L 2-1
2010/11: Semis - Arsenal - W 1-0, L 3-0
2009/10: 2nd rd - Peterborough (a) - L 2-1