'It's a chance... it's a big year for him and he has to learn' - Lambert on Emmanuel's Ipswich future
PUBLISHED: 06:00 11 May 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Paul Lambert has challenged right-back Josh Emmanuel to prove he has what it takes to play for Ipswich Town in what the Blues boss sees as 'a big year' for the youngster.
The homegrown defender started the season on loan at Shrewsbury before returning in January, but had to bide his time and only made four appearances under Lambert as the club lost its battle against relegation to League One.
The last of those was at Preston, where the Town boss admitted the defender 'struggled' after he was replaced at the interval in the 4-0 loss, but the Scot had still seen enough to take the option to extend his contract by a further season.
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"It's a chance," Lambert said, when asked about the decision to extend Emmanuel's deal.
"That's what it is, a chance to improve.
"We'll see how he does because this is going to be a big year for him, a big season going forward.
"He has to learn, like everybody else, that this is the way we play and he has to want to play that way."
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It remains to be seen where Emmanuel will sit in the right-back pecking order at Portman Road next season.
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James Bree has returned to Aston Villa following the end of his loan while Jordan Spence will be released at the end of his deal.
Janoi Donacien and Luke Woolfenden can both play on the right of the back four, as well as at centre-back, with Lambert admitting he has decisions to make when it comes to looking for potential new recruits.
"We'll see because we have some lads who need to come out as well," Lambert said, when asked if recruiting a new right-back is an area of priority.
"We have Janoi who needs to come back, Luke, so we'll see.
"Once we've got everybody back we'll look at it and see where we need reinforcements."
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Bree made 14 appearances for the club during his loan spell and took to social media earlier this week to thank the fans for their support.
"I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone at Ipswich Town for making me feel so welcome during my time on loan," he wrote.
"Although it's been a difficult period for the club the support has been unreal and something I will never forget. All the best for next season."