North Stander: Cheer up Mr Lambert! Play like that every week, we'll storm this league
PUBLISHED: 06:00 13 January 2020
© Copyright Stephen Waller
North Stander TERRY HUNT reflects on a superb Town performance against Accrington. But why is the gaffer still so prickly?
Well, if that's what Marcus Evans means when he talks about entertaining, technical football then Portman Road is going to be a very happy place.
Our first half performance against Accrington was nothing less than sensational.
It was the best I've seen us play since a Martyn Waghorn-inspired thumping of Sunderland back in 2017.
The whole team contributed to our ultra-attacking display. Luke Woolfenden got to the by-line to create the opener for Kayden Jackson and, glory be, dear old Chambo set up Judge's goal with a sublime flick. Miracles do happen!
If we manage to hit those heights on anything like a regular basis for the rest of the season, no team in this division will be able to live with us. We will simply storm the league.
Alan Judge was my man of the match.
Playing behind the strikers, he suddenly looks the player we thought we were getting. He was buzzing, creating chaos in the hapless Accrington defence. It was noticeable how intensity levels on the pitch dropped when he went off.
It was also the best I've seen from Emyr Huws since his long injury lay-off. We've always known that in Judge and Huws we have two of the best midfielders in League One. Now we're finally seeing the evidence.
We mustn't count our chickens, of course, because there are no guarantees will find that form again. But anything merely approaching that will be good enough. Awful Accrington were left chasing shadows.
They were awful, weren't they?
I've said many times that I've not yet seen a decent team in this division. There is nothing to fear. Look what's happened to Wycombe. Rotherham top of the league? You're having a laugh, as the chant goes.
Paul Lambert won't like me mentioning this, but was it a coincidence that our best performance of the season came when he named an unchanged team?
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The three at the back formation, with wing backs, surely looks a winner. It suits the team, and just think how good we will be when Kane Vincent-Young comes back. I have to say, I thought Gwion Edwards did well against Accrington.
So, will Lambert now stick with what looks like a winning formula? His pre-match comments about sticking with the controversial rotation policy didn't suggest so. We will find out at 6.45pm tomorrow night, when the team for Oxford is announced.
Talking of Lambert media conferences,
I was utterly gobsmacked by some of the things he had to say for himself after the Accrington win.
So, there is a manager who has just been given a five-year contract, whose team has just produced its best performance of the season after a long winless run, and has gone third in the league.
You would expect him to bounce into the media room, and breeze though a simple press conference full of positivity, wouldn't you?
Instead, what we got was more prickliness, and some very strange comments about "people wanting us to fail." What on earth is he on about? I notice he wouldn't name the people he believes are wanting the team to fall flat on their faces.
I would love to know what he's talking about. Of course, during a long run without a single win, the manager is going to be criticised, and some of his decisions will be questioned. That's the way it is.
But the criticism comes because people desperately want the club to be successful after so many barren years, starting with getting out of this awful division at the first time of asking. We're certainly good enough - as we demonstrated so spectacularly against Accrington - and we must not waste this opportunity.
In all the years I have followed Town - 52 and counting - I have never, ever met any of these people who supposedly want the club to fail. So, cheer up, Mr Lambert. We all want the team to succeed.
In the first sentence of this piece, I mentioned the article written by Marcus Evans in the programme on Saturday. As always, it made interesting, thoughtful reading. I don't think anyone would argue with his aspiration for our team to play what he calls entertaining, technical football.
As I said earlier, if the display against Accrington is an early example, then bring it on.
So we move on. The League One promotion battle looks like a real melee, with big guns Portsmouth and Sunderland now involved. But, as I keep saying, we really have nothing to fear. When we find our A-game, none of them can live with us. We just need to unleash it more often!