'Whether they're ready or not I'm not so sure' - Lambert on chances of Woolfenden and Ndaba starting season-opener

PUBLISHED: 06:00 21 July 2019

Paul Lambert not sure if Luke Woolfenden and Corrie Ndaba are ready for the Ipswich Town first-team. Picture: ROSS HALLS

Paul Lambert not sure if Luke Woolfenden and Corrie Ndaba are ready for the Ipswich Town first-team. Picture: ROSS HALLS

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Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert is keen to sign an experienced central defender given he is unsure whether youngsters Luke Woolfenden and Corrie Ndaba are ready to start for the Blues.

Corrie Ndaba prepares to cross the ball against Meppen. Picture: ROSS HALLSCorrie Ndaba prepares to cross the ball against Meppen. Picture: ROSS HALLS

The Town manager has a headache at centre-back ahead of the League One opener at Burton on August 3, with Toto Nsiala sidelined until September with a hamstring injury and Luke Chambers suspended following his red card on the final day of last season.

That leaves Woolfenden and Ndaba as the next in line but, with the duo having just four Ipswich appearances between them, Lambert is unsure whether the pair are up to the job at this stage.

As a result, Lambert would like to sign a senior centre-half, with former Lincoln man James Wilson currently training with the Blues.

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Luke Woolfenden on the ball for Ipswich against Fortuna in the first game of the Interwetten Cup. Picture: ROSS HALLSLuke Woolfenden on the ball for Ipswich against Fortuna in the first game of the Interwetten Cup. Picture: ROSS HALLS

"We've got Toto (Nsiala) injured and then Chambo (Luke Chambers) suspended for the first game and then we've got two young kids," Lambert said.

"Whether they're ready or not I'm not so sure. It's a big ask for them but that's where the club is.

"We went to Germany, had a look at everybody and then we think 'okay, who can come and who needs games out on loan'.

"Centre-half is one area where we have to look at. We need experience there with two young kids learning them game, Toto out and Luke suspended.

"We have to look at something."

Wilson played in the Blues' 5-0 win at Colchester on Friday night and should feature at Notts County on Tuesday, as he looks to earn a contract.

"The problem with James is that the lad hasn't trained and, to be fair to him, he's come down and done well," Lambert said of Wilson.

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"The feelgood factor at the club is brilliant but there has to be that realism as to where the club's at."

On Nsiala's hamstring injury, suffered during the loss to Fortuna Dusseldorf at the Interwetten Cup, Lambert said: "Toto's looking like six weeks out and that's a blow. That's football.

"I've tried Myles (Kenlock) in there and I thought he did well, so let's see."

The Blues also lost Teddy Bishop to a knee injury, suffered against Meppen, with Lambert grateful his midfielder will only be missing for three months due to medial ligament damage rather than the year that was first feared.

"Teddy was looking really good so that's a blow," he said.

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"It's probably been Bishop's best pre-season he's had in a few years but you can't help injuries like that. It's part of the game and it wasn't a muscle injury as such.

"All of the injured lads are carrying things from last season and Toto and Bishop are fresh ones.

"Thankfully it's nowhere near as bad as what it might have been. It could have been a year out with a cruciate but his strength work with the fitness lads have made him really strong, so if he'd never had that strength it might have been an ACL.

"In that way we're happy."

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