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16 February 2019

The latest thoughts from Paul Lambert

Welcome back to Portman Road for this afternoon’s game against Stoke.

We go into the match on the back of what was a terrific performance against Derby here on Wednesday night.

The players were fabulous and I couldn’t have asked for anymore from them. They were relentless for the whole game and although Derby had a couple of chances at the end, it was us that looked far more likely to win it.

We had a really young team out there and they showed some real character after going behind so early. Derby are a good side and vying for the places at the top of the table but we forced them back.

It was a great goal from Jon Nolan to get us level. He’s got a goal in him and it was the least we deserved.

Collin Quaner and Will Keane were a real handful up top, Judgey is getting better and better, the young boys in midfield - Bishop, Chalobah, Flynn Downes - who we had to take off because he was feeling the effects of a bug that has been going around the place - every player out there contributed for us. They were magnificent. I was so proud of them.

You don’t normally play like that when you are bottom of the league. There is normally a lot of anxiety. Look, it’s a big challenge where we are but no one is giving up. Confidence is still high and we are not going away. We will make it difficult for anyone coming to Portman Road and there are still a lot of games to play. We will see what happens between now and the end of the season.    

What an atmosphere as well on Wednesday night. Incredible. That’s another thing that isn’t normal in the position we’re in. That level of support.

This Club has got a lot going for it. The supporters are a massive part of that. There are a lot of good young players here and that bodes well for the future. Blending that youth with some experienced heads is the way forward.

We can’t compete with the financial power of the likes of Derby, who have thrown millions and millions at it. We have got a really good owner in Marcus Evans though and he’s got the Club at heart, which is the most important thing. I’m enjoying working with him. I’m enjoying working with the players and everyone at the Club. I’m loving it here.

Going forward, we need to create an identity for Ipswich Town; an identity to the way we play. We have to ensure there is a pathway for the young ones to get in the first-team and we are all working together to make that happen.

When the season is over and we start again in the summer, whatever division we are in, the direction we are going in as a Club will become clearer.

A lot of our experienced players were missing on Wednesday. Cole Skuse has had a bug but we hope he will be back for today and we will have a look at Luke Chambers and James Collins, who are both carrying injuries.

I’d like to welcome Nathan Jones, his staff and the Stoke players to Portman Road today.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to pass on my condolences to the family of Gordon Banks - who sadly passed away during the week - and also to Stoke.

I sent Mr Coates a message when I heard the news. I had the pleasure of meeting Gordon a couple of times in my time at Stoke and he is an iconic figure at the club and was also a really nice man.

That save from Pele in the 1970 World Cup is probably unrivalled and is seen as one of the great moments in world football.

You only have to see the tributes made to him this week to see the impact he has made in the game.

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