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Kings of Anglia Issue 8 Magazine Offer

Stuart Watson’s Sunday Verdict: Forget talk of Lambert getting January funds... there’s no time to wait for the cavalry

PUBLISHED: 18:16 28 October 2018 | UPDATED: 21:51 28 October 2018

The new Ipswich manager Paul Lambert staying covered up and keeping a low profile in the main stand at The Den. Photo: Pagepix

The new Ipswich manager Paul Lambert staying covered up and keeping a low profile in the main stand at The Den. Photo: Pagepix

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Ipswich Town are bottom of the Championship table and five points adrift of safety following yesterday’s 3-0 defeat at Millwall. STUART WATSON gives his verdict ahead of Paul Lambert taking charge.

Millwall celebrate their first half goal against Ipswich at The Den. Photo: PagepixMillwall celebrate their first half goal against Ipswich at The Den. Photo: Pagepix

Forget talk of Paul Lambert being lured to the club with a promise of a £10m transfer war chest because the damage could be done by January.

There are 10 games before the window opens. Things need to turn quicker than that. The experienced Scot, somehow, needs to breath instant fire into the squad he has inherited. There’s no time to wait for the cavalry.

MORE: North Stander – We need a miracle to get out of this

We can’t just keep dismissing each passing moment. Paul Hurst said last week, before he got the chop, that he didn’t detect a big game feel about the visit of QPR.

He’s right. Too many of us were simply expecting things to pick up after the win at Swansea.

The subsequent trip to Leeds was seen by many as a ‘free hit’, despite them having not been in great form. Saturday’s game at Millwall then had a weird limbo feel about it after the dramatic events of the previous 48 hours.

MORE: Hurst has no regrets over time at Town, with reports Lambert was lured by promise of £10m war chest

It’s time we all faced up to the severity of the situation. Just because the Blues have beaten these odds twice in recent memory – Roy Keane turning things around in 2009/10 and Mick McCarthy completing the rescue mission in 2012/13 – it doesn’t mean we can be blasé about it happening again.

Town are in very serious danger of dropping into the third tier for the first time since 1957. The novelty of facing the likes of Rochdale, Wycombe and Scunthorpe (possibly even Colchester if they carry on the way they’re going in League Two) would soon wear off. Clubs as big as Ipswich have got stuck in League One for a long time.

MORE: Stu says: Five observations following Ipswich Town’s 3-0 defeat at Millwall

It’s looking like a seven-way fight to beat the drop. Town now face two of the sides in that mix – Preston (h) and Reading (a) – prior to the next international break.

Too dramatic to call these next two matches as season-defining? Hyperbolic to label them both relegation six-pointers? I don’t think so. In fact, I think we need to all embrace that language over the coming days.

Andre Dozzell in action at Millwall. Photo: PagepixAndre Dozzell in action at Millwall. Photo: Pagepix

Saturday’s game at Portman Road needs to be treated like a Cup Final by fans and players alike. As Mr Lambert is sure to say at his official unveiling tomorrow, we’re all in this together and the lads needs a bit of help.

The symmetry with 2012 is stark. Town had just lost 3-0 under a caretaker manager, were rock-bottom and five points adrift of safety when McCarthy arrived. That remained the case at the 15-game mark.

MORE: New boss Lambert will have seen what is ‘blatantly obvious’ – Klug reflects on 3-0 defeat at Millwall

They subsequently won six of their next 10 to reach the new year in much better shape. That sort of run is required again. Were the starters from that time – Henderson, Chambers, Orr, Higginbotham, Smith, Cresswell, Edwards, N’Daw, Drury, Wellens, Hyam, Reo-Coker, Martin, DJ Campbell, Barnett, Chopra and Murphy – better than what’s available now? Make your own mind up.

Freddie Sears is stopped by a challenge at The Den. Photo: PagepixFreddie Sears is stopped by a challenge at The Den. Photo: Pagepix

A bit of luck wouldn’t go amiss. All anyone sees in the history books is that Town won their first game under McCarthy 1-0 at Birmingham. Those there that day will know that towering home forward Nikola Zigic missed a couple of sitters.

MORE: ‘I’m proud to be the manager here’ – Paul Lambert is confirmed as Ipswich Town’s new manager

One concern is that player power helped engineer Hurst out the door. If one or two didn’t like his blunt words and hard training sessions, then they may be in for a wake-up call with Lambert. Perhaps his CV, both as a player and manager, will afford more instant respect.

Or maybe the Glaswegian took a more measured approach when meeting the squad for the first time today. If you tell people they are not good enough for too long then they start to believe it. A more positive style of motivation is perhaps the order of the day.

Trevoh Chalobah closes down at The Den. Photo: PagepixTrevoh Chalobah closes down at The Den. Photo: Pagepix

MORE: Andy Warren’s player grades as Ipswich Town are roundly beaten at Millwall in front of new boss Lambert

Town may have looked flaky and flaccid, but one crumb of comfort is that they are not getting carved open. If – and this is a big if – the defensive errors, particularly at set-pieces, can be eradicated then there will be a platform there to nick a result or two. And from there confidence could quickly grow.

Lambert went to Norwich, inherited players with lower league backgrounds such as Russell Martin, Wes Hoolahan and Grant Holt, and turned them into stars of the team. Might he be able to do the same with the likes of Toto Nsiala, Jon Nolan and Kayden Jackson?

MORE: ‘Paul Lambert is a Blue, he hates Norwich! - Watch Ipswich fans hail new boss at Millwall game

At Villa, he put the emphasis on youth as the Midlands side successfully fought the drop.

Going back to 2012, McCarthy moved players to their preferred positions, most notably with Carlos Edwards and Daryl Murphy. Might Lambert be able to do the same? There aren’t any obvious answers on that front.

Whatever he does, the impact needs to be immediate. January could be too late.

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Rail services between Ipswich and Felixstowe are being reinstated after “slippery rails” left lines between the two towns blocked.

A pigeon cull on Ipswich Waterfront has been suspended following plans from protestors to “disrupt” the event.

A woman has been taken to hospital with serious injuries after a crash on the Dock Gate Roundabout in Felixstowe.

The big event may be more than nine months away - but councils and transport companies are making big plans for Ed Sheeran’s concerts in Ipswich next August Bank Holiday.

Restoring a village pub that was once John Peel’s favourite watering hole has been a labour of love for two families in Rattlesden, who couldn’t bear to see their local pub falling into a state of disrepair.

Schoolchildren joined a poignant suffragette march through Ipswich to mark the 100th anniversary of women getting the vote.

This was the moment a miraculous double rainbow appeared over an Ipswich school.

The Ipswich-based Volvo retailer, Donalds Garage has celebrated the opening of their new multi-million-pound showroom at Futura Park.

Suffolk and Essex are to received more than £20m extra from the government to maintain their local road network next year.

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