‘He’s there on merit’ - Nsiala set for Wigan start but Vincent-Young still absent through injury
PUBLISHED: 11:08 11 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:17 11 September 2020
Toto Nsiala looks set to start the League One season in the centre of the Ipswich Town defence, though a host of players are likely to miss out on the televised clash through injury.
The defender was a late withdrawal from Tuesday’s loss to Arsenal in the EFL Trophy with a hamstring worry, but manager Paul Lambert confirmed he is fit and ready to take his place alongside Luke Woolfenden against Wigan on Sunday.
Kane Vincent-Young (Achilles) will not be involved, though, as he continues to struggle with injury, while Cole Skuse and Kayden Jackson are also likely to miss out. Corrie Ndaba is almost certain to miss the game, too, having suffered a nasty dead leg at the end of an impressive full debut after replacing Nsiala on Tuesday.
Lambert has stressed Flynn Downes ‘faces a fight’ to get into his midfield for Sunday, even if he is available to play, meaning the trio of Andre Dozzell, Teddy Bishop and Jon Nolan are likely to continue.
Aaron Drinan is set to lead the line and make his league debut, with neither Oli Hawkins or James Norwood up to speed just yet.
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On his defensive options, which will see Luke Chambers start at right-back with Stephen Ward on the left, Lambert said: “Corrie’s as doubt because the dead leg he got was a nasty one which we need to watch,” he said.
“Toto I think will be ok. That was a precautionary one because we pulled him out in the warm-up.
“He’s started the season really well and has done well in games. It takes a big player to handle the disappointments and come back from it, which shows a bit of strength.
“He’s there on merit, I’ve not given him a gift, so he’s there because he did well and set himself a standard. He has to keep his place.”
Another option could be James Wilson, but Lambert has spoken to the one-time Wales international and told him he’s not done enough to start at this stage.
“There’s no problem with Willo’s fitness but I told him the other day that he hadn’t done enough to merit starting, which he understood,” Lambert said.
“I’m honest with the guys about why they aren’t playing. He did well for us last year but you have to perform now. He’ll get a chance at some point and he’ll have to take it.
“His attitude is perfectly fine and he trains really well, but he’s had a (calf) injury too.
“Woolfenden and Toto have been playing well so they’ve started the season.”
Lambert has given 90 minutes to goalkeepers Tomas Holy and David Cornell in Town’s two cup openers but was keeping his cards close to his chest on who will start this weekend.
“I know who will start and the guys will know soon themselves,” Lambert said.
“They’ve both done well. Tomas did well against Bristol Rovers and Dai’s distribution was excellent on Tuesday night (against Arsenal).
“To be fair to those guys, they’ve not trained as much as some of the others. Tomas has had a (shoulder) injury and Dai’s come in a bit later.”
When asked if he could reveal who would be playing, Lambert joked: “Paul Cooper.”