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.

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.

Lambert leaves relegated Stoke

Paul Lambert has left his position as manager of Stoke City by mutual consent after failing to keep the Potters in the Premier League.

The former Aston Villa and Norwich City boss signed a two-and-a-half-year contract in January when he succeeded Mark Hughes in the us Stadium hot-seat.

Stoke were 18th in the Premier League table, a point away from safety, when Lambert was appointed, but they won only seven top-flight matches all season and were relegated earlier this month after losing 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace.

The Potters, who won at Swansea City on the final day of the campaign, only triumphed in two of Lambert's 15 games in charge.

A statement on Stoke City's official website read: "The club would like to thank Paul for his work over the past four months and wish him well for the future.

"Whilst he was unable to guide us to Premier League safety after being appointed in January, it certainly wasn't due to a lack of effort, professionalism and dedication on his part.

"The club will appoint a replacement as soon as possible in order to give the new manager time to prepare for the challenge of the 2018/19 season in the Championship."

In 2018/19, Cardiff City are 4/5 to be relegated from the Premier League, while Southampton are 7/1 to go down, Crystal Palace 6/1 and Wolves 5/1.

When Your Time is Running Out Fast

The title may have been won and the likely destination of the European places seems clear, but there’s still plenty for sports betting fans to focus on with Premier League betting this weekend.

In fact, the outcome of some of these football games could even decide who survives and who loses their top-flight status.

Time and matches are running out fast.


Liverpool vs Stoke City

After blowing away Roma in the Champions League semi-finals, Jurgen Klopp’s men can all but seal a top-four spot with a victory against Stoke.

At the same time, the Potters, without a win in 11 matches, must grab at least a point at Anfield if they are to realistically keep alive their fading survival hopes.

Four points from safety with three games to go, is boss Paul Lambert about to lose his proud record of keeping every club he has managed in the Premier League?

Burnley vs Brighton & Hove Albion

The maths are simple.

Should Burnley win, they are virtually in Europe next season. Should Brighton win, they are virtually safe.

It could be a tense afternoon at Turf Moor.

Crystal Palace vs Leicester City

With their Euro hopes all but over, 2016 champions Leicester City could see their season peter out over the closing weeks of the campaign.

Palace can’t afford that luxury but know victory will be a massive leap towards their own safety.

With Wilfried Zaha a constant threat and often a target for opposition challenges, his boss Roy Hodgson feels his star man was unfairly treated in last weekend’s goalless draw with Watford when he was booked for diving.

Huddersfield Town vs Everton

It’s hard not to feel sorry for Sam Allardyce, a better manager than many give him credit for.

He has done exactly what was required of him when appointed in late November. He has not only guided the Toffees to safety but lifted them up to eighth place in the table.

David Wagner and Huddersfield are clinging onto safety—which would be a fine achievement—but must take something from this with their final three matches all against sides in the top six.

Newcastle United vs West Bromwich Albion

Victory at Old Trafford and a stirring fightback against Liverpool have restored some pride to the Baggies and their supporters in recent weeks.

However, the stark truth is that West Brom are just days from relegation.

It will likely be confirmed against a Newcastle side which has so much to thank boss Rafa Benitez for.

Southampton vs Bournemouth

Like West Brom before them, the Saints have shown slight improvement under Mark Hughes.

Yet, anything other than victory in the South Coast derby and their six-year stay in the Premier League will be over.

How Bournemouth, who need another two points to be certain of safety themselves, would love to claim bragging rights.


Swansea City vs Chelsea

Swansea welcome FA Cup finalists Chelsea to the Liberty Stadium four points above the drop zone.

To stave off relegation would be a fine achievement for Carlos Carvalhal, who has overseen a dramatic upturn in fortune during the second half of the campaign.

Deposed champions Chelsea have a slim chance of Champions League qualification and must return from Wales with maximum points to stay in the hunt.

West Ham United vs Manchester City

The Hammers are six points from the drop zone and David Moyes has done the job asked of him when appointed to succeed Slaven Bilic.

Can he now all but secure safety with a few matches to spare?

Newly crowned champions City will try and extend their run as they go in search of becoming the first Premier League side to claim 100 points in a season.


Tottenham Hotspur vs Watford FC

After the disappointment of an FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester United, Spurs go in search of a top three and, possibly, a third successive second-place finish.

That would be a fine achievement, especially given the club has had a temporary home at Wembley while White Hart Lane is redeveloped.

Watford have had travelling travails but should have done just enough during a season in which the Hornets’ managerial merry-go-round has continued apace.

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Lambert keen to end losing run

Stoke City boss Paul Lambert believes his side are playing well enough to go to West Ham United on Monday and claim all three points.

The Potters are entrenched in the relegation zone and have only five games to extricate themselves from trouble.

Lambert's side have lost their last four games, although they have all been tricky fixtures – against Manchester City, Everton, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Lambert, who succeeded the axed Mark Hughes at the us Stadium three months ago, is convinced that his side have the ability to beat the Hammers, saying: "We have to come away with something and the intent is to go there and win. We will do everything we can to get the three points.

"If we keep playing the same way we have in the last few games then we certainly have a great chance of winning the game.

"We know a win on Monday would drag a few more teams into the equation towards the bottom and that's what we have got to do."

Marko Arnautovic moved from Stoke to West Ham last summer and is 11/8 to score at any time on Monday while the Potters can be backed at 3/1 to return from the capital with all three points.

Loss leaves Lambert feeling low

Paul Lambert rued his side's misfortune as relegation-threatened Stoke City were beaten 2-1 on home soil by Everton on Saturday.

The Potters had Charlie Adam sent off before half time for a rash foul on Wayne Rooney while Lambert thought Everton's first goal in the 69th minute should have been disallowed as Cenk Tosun was offside.

The Turkish forward went on to grab the winner for Sam Alladyce's side after Stoke substitute Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting had equalised in the 77th minute, injuring himself in the process.

Stoke face Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool next month and are 4/11 to be relegated this season while they are 15/2 to win their match against the Gunners on 1st April.

"Looking at their first goal, it is offside and how the officials have missed that I am not entirely sure," said a dejected Lambert afterwards.

"In these games, especially in situations like we are in, then you need the big decisions to go your way, and they haven't, unfortunately."

Everton are ninth after the victory and Allardyce does not think they can be relegated, saying: "It puts us on the 40-point mark and, even though mathematically we are not safe, I don't think anyone can catch us now and we can start to prepare for next season."