Lambert looks to the positives

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert insists the future is bright for the Suffolk side even though they will be playing in League One next season.

Ipswich will start the 2019/20 season in the third tier of English football for the first time since 1957 after their relegation was confirmed on Saturday when they could only draw 1-1 with Birmingham City at Portman Road.

Former Norwich City, Aston Villa and Stoke City boss Lambert was appointed Town manager almost six months ago but was unable to lift the club away from trouble.

Lambert admitted: "It's gut-wrenching, it's horrible. You can't put it into words what it feels like. It might not feel like it at this moment in time, but it will be an incredible learning curve. The players will come back stronger for it, they really will.

"My view is that this club could be brilliant again. It might take a little bit of time but it could be so good here.

"We'll analyse what went wrong. I can't comment on what happened previously. I can only comment on what I've seen from October onwards. But there is so much to look forward to here. I think it's exciting.

"Whether transfers come in or not, I don't know what's going to happen. I think the club needs a couple of bodies in to try and help and freshen it up."

Bolton seem certain to be joining Ipswich in League One next season while Rotherham United are 2/7 to go down, Wigan Athletic 6/1 and Millwall 12/1.

Lambert eyes derby shock

Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert insists he is only interested in winning Sunday's game when he returns to Norwich City.

Town are struggling at the foot of the table while the Canaries, who Lambert managed between 2009 and 2012, are pushing for promotion.

Ipswich, 1/16 to be relegated this season, are 17/2 to secure a shock victory in the derby clash at Carrow Road.

Town have failed to clinch a derby win since 2009, but Lambert said: "It doesn't matter if it's Norwich or whatever, the important thing is we have to start winning games.

"I know this one has got added spice, whether it's me going back there, or the intense rivalry, or the separation in the table and it has been too long for this club to wait to beat their local rivals.

"Everything may be against us but they will have to earn the right to beat us. I'm not going there waiting for things to happen. I want us to make things happen."

Meanwhile, Teddy Bishop has signed a new contract which will keep him at Portman Road until the summer of 2021.

The midfielder, who has struggled with a succession of injuries in the last three years, has made 71 appearances for the club.

Town land veteran Collins

Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert is keen to add more new faces to his squad after completing the signing of the former West Ham defender James Collins.

The 35-year-old Welshman has signed a deal with the Championship's bottom club until the end of the season.

Collins made 69 league appearances for Cardiff City before joining the Hammers in 2005. He moved on to Aston Villa for £5million four years later before returning to West Ham in 2012.

Collins, who won 51 caps for Wales, was released by the east London side at the end of last season.

"James has a great presence about him and that can be huge for us," said Lambert. "He has played at the highest level and his experience will be vital. We're delighted to have him here."

Lambert has signed four other players – Callum Elder, Will Keane, Collin Quaner and Simon Dawkins – this month as he tries to steer Town out of the relegation zone.

He still hopes to bring in further signings though, adding: "We'll try and do something but we can't keep flooding the place with loans, because you can only have five in the matchday squad.

"That's where the loan system falls down because you then have to manage them, which is difficult in itself."

Ipswich, 1/8 to be relegated this season, are 29/20 to beat Rotherham United at Portman Road on Saturday.

Lambert desperate for new faces

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert will not allow anyone to leave Portman Road in January until he has signed the players he desires.

Lambert is desperate to strengthen his squad but may enter the loan market rather than make permanent signings in order to bring in experienced Championship players.

Jonas Knudsen and Bartosz Bialkowski are both expected to leave Portman Road in January but Lambert is refusing to confirm anything just yet.

"Nobody will leave until I think we can get people in, nobody," said the former Aston Villa and Stoke City boss.

"I will not sanction anyone to go out until I think we can get people in who can help us. Maybe then I might let one or two go out, but until then I'll never release anyone.

"I need to look at the club's interests and I won't put any player's interests before the club. That's important. There are one or two out of contract in the summer and we have to look at that."

Veteran Stoke City duo Charlie Adam and Peter Crouch have been linked with loan switches to Ipswich while Lambert seems certain to cancel the loans of Tayo Edun and Jordan Graham next month.

Ipswich are seven points adrift at the foot of the table after winning just one of their first 21 Championship games of the campaign.

They are 1/6 to be relegated this term, while Bolton Wanderers are 4/11 to go down and Reading 8/11.

Noble to finish with Hammers

Midfielder Mark Noble expects to end his playing career with West Ham, having seen a 12-month option taken up to extend his stay until the summer of 2021.

The 31-year-old has racked up nearly 450 appearances for the Hammers, having made his debut as a teenager in August 2004, with his only time away from the Irons being loan spells with Hull City and Ipswich Town.

And Noble, who has twice helped West Ham regain their Premier League place, is delighted to have agreed an extension which he says will ensure he remains a one-club man.

He told the club's official website: "It was an option in my contract that I signed a few years ago now and it's an extra year, which is fantastic for me and my family.

"I've been at this club all my life, so it takes me to the end of my career. I think we're moving in the right direction, so it was the right time to do it.

"I hope that the club keeps moving in the right way and hopefully I can be a part of that."

Noble has started 11 of the Londoners' 16 Premier League games played so far this season, missing three games as a result of being shown a straight red card in the 1-1 draw at Leicester City in late October.

Next up for Noble and the Hammers is a derby clash with Fulham on Saturday, with the Irons 11/8 to win at Craven Cottage, 11/1 to do so by a 1-0 scoreline and 10/3 to triumph by a one-goal margin.

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McCarthy back in Ireland hotseat

Mick McCarthy has been confirmed as the new Republic of Ireland manager, though he will be replaced by Stephen Kenny after the Euro 2020 Finals.

Kenny, who leaves his post as boss of Irish Premier Division champions Dundalk, has been appointed U21 manager as the FAI puts plans in place to build for the future while also trying to ensure qualification for the next European Championships.

Martin O'Neill and assistant manager Roy Keane left their posts earlier this week after an unsuccessful UEFA Nations League campaign saw their team relegated.

The draw for the Euro 2020 qualifiers is set to take place in Dublin next week, with the FAI having immediately signalled their intention was to have a manager in place before that high profile event.

McCarthy has signed a two-year contract with the FAI and will hold his first press conference at 3pm on Monday at the Aviva Stadium.

The 59-year-old, who stood down as boss of Ipswich Town in April, led the Republic to the last-16 of the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan despite sending skipper Roy Keane home before a ball was kicked.

Former Ireland international McCarthy quit later that year after making a poor start to the qualifying campaign for Euro 2004.

He played for Ireland in their maiden World Cup at Italia '90 and has since been in charge of Sunderland, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Ipswich.

Ireland's all-time leading goal scorer Robbie Keane has been linked to a place in McCarthy's backroom team, though nothing has been confirmed.

There had been widespread support for Kenny to get the top job and the Dubliner will now have his eyes firmly on that role come late 2020.

McCarthy's old side Ipswich are 11/5 to overcome Bristol City at Portman Road on Wednesday evening. The visitors are 5/4 while the draw is priced at 23/10.

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Lambert to let Graham leave

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has confirmed that Jordan Graham will be allowed to leave Portman Road in January.

Former Town boss Paul Hurst brought the 23-year-old to Suffolk on loan in August but the winger has not featured in the first team since Lambert took over the managerial reins.

Graham is currently training with Oxford United in a bid to earn a contract with the League One side, who are 7/2 to be relegated this season.

"I can only come in and see with my own eyes what I think is right and what I think is wrong and I think we've got a squad where there's a lot of players, young ones as well, who I think are going to make an impact sooner rather than later," said former Stoke City, Aston Villa and Norwich City boss Lambert.

"Jordan was only a young kid when I was Aston Villa when I was there and he was out injured a lot at Wolves."

Lambert has indicated that Jack Lankester's progress has led to his decision to let Graham leave, saying of the teenager: "Jack's got an incredible touch, he has a terrific way of playing.

"He's only a kid but he's one young one that I think, 'Yeah, you could have a massive career'. We have to nurture him and give him game time when we think, 'Go on now and let's see what you can do'."

Ipswich are at the foot of the Championship table and are 4/11 to be relegated this term while they are 7/2 to beat West Brom on Friday.

Ailing Ipswich turn to Lambert

Paul Lambert has been handed the task of lifting Ipswich Town clear of the Championship's relegation zone.

The 49-year-old, who left Stoke City in May when their relegation from the Premier League was confirmed, has signed a contract that will keep him at Portman Road until the end of the 2020/21 season.

Lambert replaces Paul Hurst, who was axed on Thursday with Town at the foot of the table after winning only one of their first 14 matches of the campaign.

He starred for Celtic and Borussia Dortmund during his playing career as well as making 40 appearances for Scotland.

Lambert has managed Livingston, Wycombe Wanderers, Colchester United, Norwich City, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers and Wolves before taking charge at Stoke in January.

He said: "I can't wait to get going and I'll be using all my experience – and give everything I've got for Ipswich Town.

"I know about the history of the club, what a fantastic football club it is and I am proud to be the manager here.

"Obviously it's been a difficult start to the season but to get through this period we need to be pulling together as one – players, staff and supporters.

"I want us to play with tempo, with enthusiasm, with drive. I want the players to enjoy their football and I am relishing the challenge of helping to take this club forward."

Ipswich are 1/2 to be relegated this season, while Hull City are 6/5 to go down and Reading 5/4.

McCarthy heads for pastures new

Mick McCarthy is eager for a fresh challenge in management, after leaving his post with Ipswich Town earlier than had been planned.

McCarthy had already announced that he would exit Portman Road at the end of the season, after agreeing with the club hierarchy that his reign had run its course, with the former Republic of Ireland boss having been in charge since November 2012.

However, the parting of the ways has come a few weeks early, with McCarthy calling time following a 1-0 Championship win at home to Barnsley on Tuesday evening.

He told the club's official website: "I said I would see the season out, but it's been a new experience and it's not one I have been enjoying to be honest.

"I have continued to do my job to the best of my ability, but there is something missing and I'm not comfortable with that.

"The players here can look forward to a new challenge with whoever comes in and I want to wish them, the staff and the club the best of fortunes.

"I'll also be looking forward to a new challenge elsewhere. I've still got a lot of football left in me."

As well as managing Ipswich and the Republic of Ireland, McCarthy has also had spells in charge of Millwall, Sunderland and Wolves, leading both the Black Cats and the men from Molineux to Championship glory.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa can be backed at 9/4 to secure promotion from the Championship this season, with Fulham priced at 4/11 and Cardiff City 4/6.

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Ipswich confirm McCarthy exit plan

Ipswich Town have confirmed that Mick McCarthy will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the Championship season.

The 59-year-old took over at Portman Road in 2012 and is now the longest-serving manager in the second tier, but he has come in for some criticism from a section of the fans this season as the side sit in 12th place.

McCarthy, whose best season with the Tractor Boys was in 2014-15 when he guided them to the play-offs following a sixth-placed finish, insisted that he would not be forced out before the end of his contract.

But, following a meeting with owner Marcus Evans on Wednesday evening, it was decided that the former Republic of Ireland, Sunderland and Wolves boss would leave following Ipswich's final game of the season, at home against Middlesbrough on 6th May.

Evans told the club website: "It never got to the point where we actually talked about a new contract. It just felt right that it was time for us both to look at different options.

"In his six years here he has made us a very competitive club in what is a very competitive league. No one looks forward to playing Ipswich.

"Mick will see out his contract here and then we will look to make an announcement regarding his successor in due course."

McCarthy, whose assistant Terry Connor will also be departing, added: "I had a good discussion with Marcus and we feel this is the right thing to do for me and for Ipswich Town.

"I won't be leaving with any regrets. I have given everything for Ipswich Town and I will see out my contract in the same way."

Ipswich are next in action on Saturday when they travel to face relegation battlers Birmingham City at St Andrew's and they are 3/1 to pick up a win. The Blues are priced at 11/10 to win and the draw is available at 23/10.