Lambert admits Town can only do 'little bits here and there' in the transfer market... but where should he look to strengthen?
PUBLISHED: 06:00 17 January 2020
Paul Lambert admitted Ipswich Town may only be able to 'do little bits here and there' during the January transfer window.
Speaking after Tuesday night's draw at Oxford the Town boss said defender Josh Earl could potentially be the only new recruit this month, but it's known he would like to do further business if he could.
"We just don't have the money, the money is not there. Marcus (Evans) has made it pretty clear to everybody that we can only do little bits here and there," Lambert said.
"That's where the club is at the minute. We have to go with the guys who have been great for me.
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"Josh could be the only one. If there's something there that Marcus thought was right then I'm sure he would try and help, but we have to remember where the club is at. You know the debts and what's gone on. He can't just magic money out the air, the club has got to keep continuing to survive. That's the way it is."
Here we take a look at the areas Lambert could still target in January.
The only way a new goalkeeper will be required is if Will Norris is recalled by parent club Wolves.
The Premier League side retain the right to do that until the end of the January transfer window but, with the 26-year-old currently Lambert's first choice, they are more than happy for him to remain in Suffolk.
Should that change and Norris be recalled, expect the Blues to look for a replacement.
With Kane Vincent-Young sidelined until the end of February at the earliest, Lambert could be tempted into the transfer market in order to replace the former Colchester man.
Janoi Donacien is the only fit, specialist right-back at the club currently, with Gwion Edwards growing into his role at the preferred option as a wing-back in Lambert's currently system.
Neither of those offer the full-package Vincent-Young brings, which could tempt the Town boss into the market for a temporary solution.
It will be tough to find, though.
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Earl's arrival has bolstered a back line which had a hole to fill following the departure of Toto Nsiala to Bolton at the end of last week.
The Preston loanee can play on the left of the back three or as an out-and-out left-back which, if and when he breaks into the team, will bring an element of balance to the Town defence.
Luke Chambers, James Wilson and Luke Woolfenden are the preferred trio at the moment and, if Lambert is set on the back three in the long-term, would he potentially require a fifth central defender?
It's understood that could indeed be the case, so don't discount a move for Lewis Gibson of Everton. The Blues are believed to have an agreement in place to bring the highly-rated teenager to Suffolk on loan, with the only issue currently relating to the youngster's contract at Goodison Park.
The Toffees will only sanction a loan move should he put pen-to-paper on a new deal, with his current terms up in the summer and other clubs interested. Those contract talks have not progressed, though.
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Discussion of Tommy Smith returning to the fold won't go away until he signs for another club, with Wigan Athletic and Portsmouth both now understood to be interested.
Lambert poured cold water on that potential move last week, though, with the Town boss insisting fans shouldn't live in the past and 'move on' when it comes to the left-sided defender.
Ipswich are short of out-and-out wingers but, right now, it's not an issue given the Blues' preferred system.
Gwion Edwards is the only fully fit option at present while Freddie Sears is also now an option on the flanks so, if Lambert did want to switch things up, he may need to add to his squad to do it.
Danny Rowe's knee injury has kept him out since the start of December, while Alan Judge clearly plays his best football through the middle of the pitch, leaving the Blues short of attacking width.
Earl's arrival could potentially allow Luke Garbutt to push further forward, with either the Preston loanee or Myles Kenlock slotting in at left-back in a back four should that a be route Lambert wishes to go down.
All three of Ipswich's frontline striker, James Norwood, Kayden Jackson and Will Keane, were on the scoresheet in the recent 4-1 victory over Accrington so, on the face of it, firepower isn't a problem.
That's especially true when you also consider the fact Sears is working his way back to fitness.
But could Ipswich do with something a little different?
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It's understood a target man striker is something the Blues are after during this transfer window; the type of player who can win balls in the air and hold it up to bring others into play. A player who worries the opposition physically may just have done a job in howling conditions at Oxford on Tuesday night and could prove valuable off the bench in tight games.
Tom Elliott was a player who nearly joined on loan in the summer, only for injury to get in the way, but he's subsequently joined League Two side Salford.
Lambert may just be keen to bring in someone like him before the end of the window, though.