A loyal assistant, a former judo champion and a boyhood Canary - the men behind new Ipswich boss Lambert
PUBLISHED: 13:29 29 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:17 30 October 2018
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New Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has brought a team of three with him to Portman Road. ANDY WARREN looks at the men behind the boss.
Stuart Taylor – assistant manager
Lambert will once again be assisted by Stuart Taylor following his move to Portman Road, with the pair having been together at Aston Villa, Wolves and Stoke.
The 43-year-old enjoyed a 17-year career in Scotland, most notably featuring for St Mirren and Airdrieonians before making the move into coaching.
He’s highly thought of in the coaching world, having undertaken development roles during his career. He spent just a handful of days as Rangers’ U20s manager before being poached by Lambert at Stoke as his No.2 and cites his fellow Glaswegian as being a major influence on his career.
He took his coaching badges while he was still playing and is known to be studious in his approach, while he has also been a manager in his own right following a spell with Irish side Limerick.
“I’ve learned loads from Paul,” he said last year. “A lot of my work as a coach has been under a Spanish style. I went there to quite a few clubs – not just to understand about first-team football, but also their academies and philosophies.
“Paul has a German belief and I’m gaining heaps from that ethos, putting it towards what I’ve seen before. It’s a wonderful combination.”
Upon securing his services at Stoke, Lambert stated his belief that Taylor would play a big part in ensuring unity throughout the camp. The new Ipswich assistant sees Lambert as having similar qualities. “I know what Paul is like, in terms of how in-depth he is, and the knowledge and the enthusiasm that he carries,” he said. “The way that he goes about his work is great for me to learn from. “He always makes sure he gets to watch so many games – under 23s, under 18s, home and away – and to be able to link up with him again is really important for me.”
Jim Henry – fitness coach
The Scot is a former champion judoka who entered football in 1996, spending 10 years at Celtic in an athletic performance role.
He moved to England in 2006, taking up a similar position at Aston Villa before moving on to Hibernian in 2010, Sunderland in 2011 and crossing the Glasgow divide to Rangers in 2013.
He linked up with Lambert for the first time in January this year after a spell with Bury, but departed along with the Scot after the Potters were unable to secure their Premier League status.
Lambert’s sides are worked hard in training and fitness is a key part of his approach, with Henry now set to be a driving force behind that. He will inherit a group of players who were put through a rigorous pre-season under Paul Hurst and Chris Doig and were worked hard at Playford Road, but Henry and Lambert will now need to evaluate what they have before imprinting their own approach on the club.
Henry comes from a sports science background, which fits into the new approach owner Marcus Evans spoke of in the summer and laid out by Hurst, and played a role in the planning and construction of Villa’s Bodymoor Heath complex.
“The technology at the very top of football has changed dramatically but the nedd for work rate has never change,” he once said.
He is an imposing character, with former Villa midfielder James Milner once saying: “We do what Jim the fitness guy says.”
Matt Gill – first team coach
Lambert isn’t the only Norwich connection arriving at Portman Road this week.
Boyhood Canary Gill was one of Lambert’s players during his first two seasons at Carrow Road, but injuries restricted his involvement with a team which secured back-to-back promotions to just 14 appearances during that time.
His career ended in 2014 after further stops at Bristol Rovers and Tranmere before becoming assistant manager at the latter.
He moved back to Carrow Road in 2015 and held a number of youth team roles before becoming lead Under 23 coach in February 2017.
He’s now been poached to work across the border on the Blue half of the East Anglian Derby divide.
“I had a good relationship with Matt,” Norwich boss Daniel Farke said on Saturday. “But he made it clear he wanted the opportunity of first team football. We wish him all the best.”
He was well thought of at Carrow Road having played an influential role in the recent emergence of Todd Cantwell, Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis into the Canaries first-team of late and was at the forefront of a drive to bring young players into the first team.
“We can’t rest on our laurels,” he said recently. “We need to keep producing and there is ultimately a lot of pressure on staff to do that and make sure we’re doing the stuff needed for the players to progress.
“This year there’s some excellent boys in both U18 and U23 groups once again, and all the way down. We just need to make sure we’re accountable for doing what we need to do to make sure they’re ready for that opportunity once it comes along.”