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16 March 2019

Paul Lambert looks ahead to visit of Nottingham Forest

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

We go into the match on the back of two really good performances over the last week against clubs in the hunt for promotion and the players deserved more than the two points we took.

We were outstanding at West Brom last Saturday. We out-passed and out-played a team that has just come down from the Premier League. Teams at the bottom of the table don’t play like we did there. The players wanted to take the ball in all areas and pass. We showed a lot of courage to play that way but you need that to be a footballer.

We changed it up a lot at Bristol on Tuesday because it’s always tough with three games in a week. We had six players from our Academy involved against a club that has spent a lot of money and is in with a chance of getting in the Play-Offs and like at West Brom, we should have won.

Apart from a 10 minute spell, we were on top and played some really good football. I’ve said many times, we have played well in a lot of games. It’s being clinical in both boxes where we have to improve on.

When you look at the kids we have in the first-team - Bish is older now I know but he’s missed two years of football; Emmanuel, Kenlock, Downes, Dozzell, Lankester, Idris - the future looks really exciting here.

Idris made his debut at Bristol and he’s a big talent. He deserved his chance. I’m not putting the kids in as gifts. They have all earned the right to play and they have got to perform and help the team win games.  

They will have demands put on them. They have too but we need to show patience with them as well. It’s the way forward for the Club, to create that pathway for young players to make that transition into the first-team. If you don’t have that pathway, what is the point of having an Academy? 

In terms of the numbers coming through, it’s exciting. They all have the potential to do well for this Club. There are others coming through underneath as well.  

It’s important that the youngsters keep learning, keep listening. They must keep their feet on the ground.

That is the danger to young players now, in my opinion. They have to respect where they work; respect the people around them. Once you start thinking you’ve made it as a player, football has a habit of coming back and biting you.

Attitude; respect; discipline; character - they are all important ingredients in a footballer, not just young players - all players. If you have all that and ability, you have got a chance.

We have most of the players that missed out this week with injury and illness back in training over the last two days and we will see how they are ahead of today’s game.

I said last week that we were over the bug that has hit a lot of the players over the last two months and then Flynn, Gerks and Matt Pennington all went down with it.

Some players have even had it twice. It’s the first time I have seen a sickness bug last as long as this at a club and we’ve had the training ground thoroughly cleaned this week to try and get rid of it once and for all.

There is a lot of ‘traffic’ going through the training ground, too much to be honest. We have all the young Academy kids training there in the evening and they would have been at school where bugs can get passed about as well. It’s a situation we are going to have to look at in time.

Finally, I’d like to welcome Martin O’Neill, Roy Keane and the staff and players of Nottingham Forest to Portman Road this afternoon.

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