‘There’s no rust creeping in... they’re professional footballers and can handle it’ -Taylor on Town’s returning players
PUBLISHED: 17:00 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:13 21 November 2019
Ipswich Town assistant Stuart Taylor has insisted there’s no danger of ‘rust’ as the Blues’ frontline players return from a long lay-off for Saturday’s visit of Blackpool.
Manager Paul Lambert has flexed his squad in the last fortnight, with a host of fringe players being used for two FA Cup games with Lincoln and the EFL Trophy loss at Colchester.
That, coupled with the fact last Saturday's scheduled visit to Oxford was postponed due to international call-ups, means the likes of Luke Chambers, Cole Skuse, Luke Garbutt, Luke Woolfenden, Jon Nolan and Kayden Jackson will have gone 17 days without a game when they take to the field to face Blackpool. James Norwood's four minutes as a substitute in the first staging of the Lincoln tie was his only involvement over that period, while Kane Vincent-Young could return from a groin injury.
Lambert has always stressed the need for his entire squad to be up to speed fitness-wise, with Taylor insisting there's no danger of that strategy leaving other members of the squad playing catch-up.
"I don't think there's any rustiness creeping in," Taylor said.
"The lads have been bang at it at training, the ones that haven't been playing. They're professional footballers. They can handle that no problem. The intensity of training every day shows there are no issues at all if players have been out for two weeks.
"The ones that are on the bench or not stripped previously are now taking part in games, so everybody is around about level pegging of what we're looking to do and ideally it would be great to get through the season having success, which is obviously the most important thing, while keeping players fresh and keeping players hungry with competition for places.
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"What we don't want is to be going into a game where someone hasn't played and there's maybe six, seven or eight players that haven't played for six weeks - that's the worst-case scenario. And that would be bad management if we were going into that.
"We want to keep people fresh and we want to keep people hungry but also have game time under their belts so they are going into games and they're match fit."
The Blues head into Saturday's game second in League One, three points behind leaders Wycombe who visit Portman Road on Tuesday evening.
"It's nice when you look at the league table we've still got two games in hand over Wycombe above us, albeit by only three points," Taylor said.
"I think that we're desperate for league games to come by and we've got two back to back so hopefully it'll be a good week.
"Getting back into league action, without a shadow of a doubt that's the daddy, that's the main one, the one we all want to go and play in and get involved in. Without a doubt we're looking forward to getting into it.
"Games are going to come thick and fast. We're coming to the Christmas period which is always busy. So from now to the turn of January, it's going to be real good times."