Ipswich Town have endured a disastrous start to the season and have struggled without the experienced Mick McCarthy, under who The Tractor Boys finished in the Play-offs in 2015 and never finished bellow 16th in his six years in charge at Portman Road.
Paul Hurst was appointed as McCarthy’s successor in the summer, after guiding Shrewsbury Town to the League 1 play-off final against the odds last season, but it did not work out for Hurst at Portman Road, as he struggled to adapt to the Championship alongside a host of new signings with limited experience in the English second tier. Ipswich also lost their top four scorers from last season, with Martyn Waghorn, Bersant Celina, David McGoldrick and Joe Garner all departing. That has led to a poor start to the season, which has seen Ipswich collect just one win and 10 points from 16 matches leaving them bottom of the table.
Hurst was sacked after his sides defeat at Leeds United last week and The Tractor Boys lost their first game without him 3-0 at Millwall. Paul Lambert has been appointed as Ipswich’s new manager and will have a difficult job on his hands to keep his new side in the league, with Ipswich five points adrift of safety and in danger of being cut adrift if they don’t start winning matches very soon.
Lambert could also face a difficult task to win around some of Ipswich’s supporters, having spent three years in charge of rivals Norwich City, where he secured back to back promotions from League 1 to the Premier League before departing for Aston Villa in 2012.
The 49-year old has endured mixed success since he left Carrow Road, he managed to keep Aston Villa in the Premier League, but his three-year spell in charge ended with Villa in poor form and in the relegation zone in 2015. He then had short spells in charge of Blackburn Rovers and Wolverhampton Wanderers, managing to stabilise both clubs and secure 15th placed finishes for both in the Championship in 2016 and 2017 respectively, before leaving both clubs at the end of both seasons.
Lambert’s most recent managerial spell was at Stoke City at the end of last season, where he replaced Mark Hughes with The Potters in the relegation zone, and he was unable to prevent Stoke’s relegation to the Championship winning just two of his 15 games in charge, before departing by mutual consent at the end of the season.
He will have another difficult task on his hands to avoid another relegation on his cv this season at Ipswich. However, Lambert crucially has experience at Championship level and has managed both secure promotion from the division with Norwich, and demonstrated an ability to stabilise clubs near the relegation places and keep them in the league at Blackburn and Wolves.
Lambert’s immediate task will be to improve both Ipswich’s limp attack, with The Tractor Boys scoring just 12 goals in 16 games so far the joint lowest in the division, and their porous defence which has conceded 26 goals so far the joint third most in the league.
Ipswich were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Preston on Saturday in Lambert’s first game in charge, despite taking the lead and Preston going down to 10 men after Chris Maxwell was sent off and Paul Gallagher went in-goal for the final minutes. The Tractor Boys travel to Reading next weekend, for another match against a fellow struggling side, and Lambert will need to secure a positive result against to prevent Ipswich from being dragged further adrift of safety. There were signs against Preston that Ipswich can improve at both ends of the pitch under Lambert, but immediate results are needed to avoid the season ending in relegation.