Paul Lambert is only too aware of the precarious position the club is in. Yet, he remains optimistic that the Blues can survive with enough reinforcements, and he believes that as many as six new faces may need to come through the door between now and the end of the transfer window.
He has intimated on many occasions that the squad is lob-sided and he knows his players need a helping hand. Strikers cost money and good ones normally a lot, but he is of the view that we don’t need one but probably two!
Now, given our current league position, it is hard to imagine two strikers with a fine scoring record coming to Portman Road but his wealth of experience in the game may just work in his favour. He is of course only interested in forwards who are not afraid of an almighty battle for survival, and so the likely candidates are journeymen who have been around the block a few times and know the Championship like that back of their hand. These guys are few and far between and owner Marcus Evans must be prepared to put his hand in his pocket again. To get any half-decent striker interested is a wonderful achievement but two? If he succeeds here then he really is a miracle worker!
Interestingly, however, Lambert said in his press conference today that loan deals are not where the future of the club lies and he was particularly scathing about the club letting Jonas Knudsen’s current contract run down. ” Where it falls down is that this should have been taken care of with 12 months to go, he shouldn’t have been into the last six months! It can’t let people run it down – or you keep having the same cycle where eight guys go, eight guys come in and you’re building team after team after team. It doesn’t work. It’s the wrong structure, in my opinion. If you keep on getting loans, loans, loans, loans, loans you may as well throw your money in the street, it’s not normal.” He continued with this general theme in mind and with the sound of frustration in his voice, ” The club has to have a stable base, where it builds and you have maybe one or two loans – ok, no problem but not too many that aren’t your own players. You can’t bring eight or nine players in, in one summer, it’s sheer madness!”
Tomorrow Town faces Millwall at Portman Road, in a game that many consider being a must-win fixture. Millwall last played Ipswich on New Year’s Day in 2003, when they lost 4-1 and with their current boss Neil Harris playing the full match for the Lions that day! Our record is good against them and we are unbeaten in our past four home Championship matches, winning three and drawing one.
The visitors are winless in their last 14 away games and anything less than a win will not be good enough for the Blues of this I am absolutely certain. The good news is that Bartosz Bialkowski could be back in goal and if anyone can save us from the drop it may just be him.
F.W. – editor of Vital Ipswich