Stuart Watson: ‘They may have Jordan Rhodes’ heart now, but Lambert is soon to be a blue’
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images
Paul Lambert looks set to cross the East Anglian divide. Town chief football writer Stuart Watson gives the view from across the border.
From #newera to #taketwo.
Lambert is the man Ipswich Town have turned to get them out of this mess.
Would he have been my choice in the summer? No way. Is he, out of all the realistic candidates out there now, the best man for the job at this juncture? You bet.
Forget his Norwich City past and those two East Anglian derby thrashings in 2010/11. That's a long time ago now and, quite frankly, the Blues can't afford to be picky.
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Talk of long-term plans have, sadly, got to be put on hold. This is a relegation fight and, just like in 2012, a proven firefighter is needed.
Lambert is certainly that.
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It was him who, against the odds, kept Aston Villa treading water in the Premier League during a turbulent time. Their relegation followed his departure.
He stabilised a Blackburn side at a time of peak supporter unrest and off-field issues.
Then he got Wolves going in the right direction again following a succession of poor appointments and may well have stayed on had it not been for the mega money takeover and desire to bring in Nuno Espírito Santo.
It was a CV that persuaded Premier League side Stoke to come calling back in January. Lambert couldn't prevent them going down, but that was always going to be a mammoth task.
Mission one: Keep Town up. Mission two: Build something for the longer-term, just like he did north of the border with those back-to-back promotions.
Just imagine if it turns out to be him who finally ends Town's near decade-long wait for victory in the derby when the Blues visit Carrow Road on February 10.
They may have Jordan Rhodes' heart now, but Lambert is soon to be a blue.
• As an added aside, I also like the idea of Town having a former top-class midfield maestro in charge given that the club has lacked one of those for such a long time. Lambert won the Champions League with Borussia Dortmund, every domestic honour going at Celtic and was capped 40 times by Scotland (yes, I know, it didn't work with Roy Keane).
Talking of Scotland, Town do have a strong connection with that nation. Sir Alf Ramsey's top-flight winners had a strong Scottish flavour, then followed the likes of John Wark, George Burley and Alan Brazil. Some Braveheart spirit would do nicely.