The Verdict: The night Lambert lost the dressing room?
We take a look at the key talking points after Town’s season was all but ended with a 1-0 defeat at home to Fleetwood.
The return of Lambert Lottery
We all knew there was going to be changes ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Fleetwood. Lambert bemoaned the defending of the two goals at Blackpool on Saturday and with Flynn Downes suspended and question marks over if Sears and Bishop could start again so soon after lengthly periods out, changes were on the cards.
I was amazed to hear that Woolfenden was dropped, I got a text around 15:30 saying he was dropped. At that point I thought this could be Paul Lambert’s swan song as Town gaffer. However, dropping Woolfenden was one of several questionable decisions.
Brett McGavin was handed his league debut, in the absence of Cole Skuse, Emyr Huws and Flynn Downes. The youngster was a bright spark in a poor first half and was then hooked at half-time. Jon Nolan started (apparently) someone on Suffolk likened his performance to Jonathan Douglas. Alan Judge recalled, Andre Dozzell back in from nowhere and James Wilson re-installed at the back.
Surely in games like Tuesday night, you start with the strongest team available? If Sears and Bishop only have an hour in their legs then stat them. Tyreece Simpson was introduced for Will Keane and to be fair to the lad, played well. But in terms of Lambert, that move smacked more of hope and desperation rather than expectancy.
Playing for the gaffer
I have seen a lot over the years on SkySports where experts say: His lost the dressing… they’re not playing for him anymore… I have never really seen that with my own eyes until last (Tuesday) night.
Players were taking very little, if any, risks. All very safe, all very predictable and ultimately all very easy to defend. There are numerous rumours of off the field issues with Lambert and the squad, but anyone who was sitting at Portman Road watching that, I can’t see how he recovers from this.
As I took to Twitter last night, I was amazed to see posts moaning about Dozzell. In my opinion, he was our best player last night. In the first half he tried to play with a purpose and with tempo, he was involved in every single chance we created. After the break again he was trying to influence the game, but was hampered by little movement from his teammates in the attacking third.
Yes, he may of walked off at the end, well that could be because he just got clattered in a 50/50 with Paddy Madden on the edge of their box. Would of gone down the tunnel anyway? Possibly. Is he the only one who does that? Certainly not.
Anyone who tells me there isn’t more to it than meets the eye with Armando Dobra. Turning down contracts, not getting nowhere near enough minutes his talent deserves and after his Blackpool cameo he should have been involved against Fleetwood.
We want someone who was prepared to run at the Fleetwood defence. Inject some excited into the crowd. Surely PR Paul would have seen that as an ideal opportunity in that second half? Unfortunately he didn’t and arguably our most exciting player was unused in a ‘must win’ game.
It’s all over, we’ve now played more games than anyone in the league, sitting six points outside the play-offs. Even the most optimistic Town fan gave up on promotion on Tuesday night.