'That's unbelievable why that happened' - Lambert on Martyn Waghorn's return to Ipswich Town with Derby County

PUBLISHED: 12:47 13 February 2019

Ipswich Town sold Martyn Waghorn to Derby County for an initial £5m last summer following his 16-goal debut season. He returns to Portman Road for the first time tonight. Photo: PA

Ipswich Town sold Martyn Waghorn to Derby County for an initial £5m last summer following his 16-goal debut season. He returns to Portman Road for the first time tonight. Photo: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Ipswich Town host Derby County in a Championship clahs tonight (7.45pm). STUART WATSON previews the action.

Jonas Knudsen returned to the Ipswich Town team on Sunday after a January transfer move did not materialise. Photo: PagepixJonas Knudsen returned to the Ipswich Town team on Sunday after a January transfer move did not materialise. Photo: Pagepix

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert finds it ‘unbelievable’ that the club let so many goalscorers go last summer ahead of Martyn Waghorn’s return to Portman Road tonight.

Waghorn, a £250k signing from Rangers, netted 16 goals in his debut season for the Blues only to be sold to Championship rivals Derby County for an initial £5m back in August.

The 29-year-old has scored eight goals in 18 starts and nine substitute appearances for Frank Lampard’s men this season. His brace in last weekend’s 2-0 home win against Hull – a result which keeps the Rams on the coattails of the top-six – saw him reach the 100-goal mark for his career.

MORE: Ipswich Town and Norwich City hit with misconduct charges following East Anglian derby brawls

“Was it 45 goals that went?” said Lambert, referring to the fact that Town also saw Joe Garner, David McGoldrick and Bersant Celina among their summer departures.

“That’s unbelievable why that happened. Whether the lads wanted to leave for one reason or another I don’t know, but if you lose 45 goals out of your team it doesn’t stack up.

“I don’t know the lad (Waghorn) well, but he’s always been a proven goalscorer.”

While Town are nine points adrift of safety at the foot of the table, Derby are outside the play-offs on goal difference under Lampard – the former England and Chelsea midfielder having been interviewed for the Town job last summer.

MORE: ‘Don’t do it in front of 25,000 people – do it inside, then we’ll see’ – Lambert says Norwich coach challenged him to fight

“Frank was a really, really good player,” said Lambert. “To be fair I always found him good on the television. He was never bad-mouthing anyone or being too critical. It was always fair from a football point of view.

“I’ve got great respect for anyone who makes that step into management because it’s a hell of a hard job.”

Asked if he was worried by the lack of points being picked up – Lambert’s record is P16 W2 D3 L11 – the Blues boss, whose side lost 3-0 at rivals Norwich City on Sunday, said: “For God’s sake, yeah, but we’re doing everything. Nobody can say we didn’t go to Carrow Road and give them a game. We were arguably the better team.

“They beat us by three goals, but we were well in the game. That came could have gone any way.

MORE: Norwich boss Daniel Farke reflects on handshakes and winking following derby day brawl

“They scored at the right moments, they are at the top of the league and the momentum is there with them. Whether they do it or not I don’t know? There is a long, long way to go. It’s whether they can hold their bottle.

“It’s the same for us down at the bottom. We’ve got to play with bottle.

Trevoh Chalobah and Luke Chambers, pictured during Sunday's 3-0 East Anglian derby defeat at Norwich City. Photo: PagepixTrevoh Chalobah and Luke Chambers, pictured during Sunday's 3-0 East Anglian derby defeat at Norwich City. Photo: Pagepix

“I don’t think anyone can complain about the way we’ve tried to go and get results.”

Calling upon his team to show the same sort of fight and passion over the remaining 15 games, Lambert said: “We have to. We’ve had a chat with the lads. Everybody knows we have to be like that. It will be a difficult game tomorrow (against Derby), a difficult game on Saturday (at home against Stoke), but if we play like that again...

MORE: Lambert won’t rule out free transfer addition following Sears’ long-term injury

“To be fair, I’ve been really happy with the way we’ve been playing in a lot of games. We just haven’t had the breaks or much luck. We’ve dominated games without getting the reward. There is a lot of good things I’ve seen.”

He continued: “You can never give up. You have to have that passion and drive.

“The football has been great. Top end and back end has cost us a little bit. If the team was mid-table to top I’m pretty sure more chances would be going in. It’s because the lads are so anxious to turn it around.

“The effort and the commitment, that’s one thing I don’t think anyone can level at us not having.”

Town fans were, once again, in fine voice at Carrow Road from start to finish.

MORE: ‘I’d have to live with being the captain who took us down... so I’d want to lead us back’ - Chambers on Town future

Talking about the new ‘Blue Action’ group of supporters who have made so much noise in the North Stand, Lambert said: “They have been great, they really have. Non-stop they are at it.

“The biggest compliment I can give is that it’s not a normal situation for a team to be bottom of the league and still getting support like this week-in, week-out.

“It must be hard for them. I’ve had chats with them and they’ve been brilliant. I’m glad they are at the club. The atmosphere they generate is great. Hopefully they keep on doing it.

“If you’re paying a lot of money to come and watch a game I wouldn’t just want to sit there and be critical, I’d get tired of doing that. I’d rather come and have a bit of fun and enjoy the atmosphere – especially in the traditional singing end.”

Opposition lowdown

Last five finishes: 6th, 9th, 5th, 8th, 3rd (all Championship)

Derby County manager Frank Lampard was interviewed for the Ipswich Town job last summer. Photo: PADerby County manager Frank Lampard was interviewed for the Ipswich Town job last summer. Photo: PA

Manager: Frank Lampard (May ‘18): P37 W17 D11 L9

Away form: P6 D3 L6 F20 A20

Last game: W 2-0 Hull (h)

Last away game: D 0-0 Preston

Margins of victory: 1 (x9), 2 (x6), 3+ (x2)

Margins of defeat: 1 (x5), 2 (x2), 3+ (x2)

Most league starts: 30: Keogh; 27: Carson, Tomori; 26: Mount; 24: Bogle

Top-scorers: 11: Wilson; 10: Marriott; 8: Waghorn; 6: Mount; 4: Lawrence

Derby County celebrate Joe Ledley's opener in a 2-0 win against Ipswich Town last August. Photo: PagepixDerby County celebrate Joe Ledley's opener in a 2-0 win against Ipswich Town last August. Photo: Pagepix

Last meeting

Derby County 2 Ipswich Town 0

Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Town lost at Pride Park for the first time in nearly 12 years as new Blues boss Paul Hurst’s winless start to the season went on.

Joe Ledley (59) and former Town loanee Tom Lawrence (68) both scored with deflected second half strikes.

Ipswich Town team news

• Freddie Sears faces up to a year on the sidelines after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury in Sunday’s 3-0 defeat at Norwich.

• Collin Quaner could return to the squad after sitting out the East Anglian derby with a hamstring problem.

• Luke Chambers played in that game with a broken wrist and a foot injury. He faces a late fitness test.

• Paul Lambert says this game has come too soon for James Collins (hamstring) and Gwion Edwards (groin), though the latter could be in the squad.

• Grant Ward, Emyr Huws, Tom Adeyemi, Ben Folami and Ben Morris remain long-term absentees.

Derby County team news

• The Rams looked a more balanced side when right-back Jayden Bogle returned from suspension for last weekend’s 2-0 home win against Hull.

• Kelle Roos has performed well in goal in the absence of injured veteran Scott Carson.

• January signings Ashley Cole and Andy King made their debuts as late substitutes.

• Former Town striker Jack Marriott (ankle), Mason Mount (hamstring), Craig Forsyth (knee), Curtis Davies (Achilles) and Marcus Olsson (knee) are sidelined.

Opposition key man

Harry Wilson

The Liverpool loanee has scored several superb free-kicks with his wand of a left foot. His direct running causes problems down the right side.

Odds

Ipswich Town 19/5

Draw 13/5

Derby County 15/16

Referee

Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire)

Games: 19, Yellows: 51, Reds: 1

Stuart’s prediction

Ipswich Town 1 Derby County 2

Even with Sunday’s fight it’s hard to see beyond another loss.

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