Stoke vs Ipswich Preview: Paul Lambert returns to ex-club in midst of struggling form
Photo: Paul Lambert

Paul Lambert will be returning to the ground where he got the sack from this past May as his struggling Ipswich Town side take on Stoke City at the bet365 stadium.

Lambert was sacked after just four months at the club after failing to secure the Potters Premier League status. In an inevitable hostile atmosphere for Lambert, he’ll be hoping to secure his first win as the Blues boss since taking over at the end of October.

Ipswich have really struggled this season, picking up only win this whole campaign, however, a win would really bolster their confidence going into the busy Christmas schedule.

Stoke, on the other hand, will be looking to build on their seven-game unbeaten stretch and back to back home wins will place Stoke in play-off contention.

It’s been over a decade since these teams last met due to Stoke’s ten year tenure in the Premier League, so you’ll have to go way back to 23rd February 2008 for the last time these teams last met. It was won by a thunderous Liam Lawrence goal for the Potters which propelled them further to promotion.

Team news

Stoke have two doubts through injury with Erik Pieters sustaining an injury last weekend and James McClean also a doubt with a foot infection. Peter Etebo is still unavailable through suspension.

Ipswich will likely to be without stalwart Cole Skuse for the clash tomorrow as he sustained a knee injury in training. Otherwise, Lambert will have a full squad at his disposal.

Predicted line-ups:

Stoke: Butland, Martina, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Edwards, Fletcher, Allen, Woods, Ince, Afobe, Berahino.

Ipswich: Bialkowski, Spence, Pennington, Chambers, Knudsen,     Chalobah, Bishop, Ward, Sears, Roberts, Jackson.

Key clashes

Tom Ince and Jordan Spence: Tom Ince is showing why Stoke signed him for £12 million in the summer after two goals from his last three games after successfully bouncing back from a Hernia operation. Coming up against arguably Ipswich’s weakest link in Spence, Ince will be looking to run at the Tractor Boys right back all afternoon if given the creative freedom to do so.

Freddie Sears & Ryan Shawcross: Sears has sprung into life since Lambert’s appointment notching four of the last six Ipswich have scored. His darting runs into central position will definitely give Shawcross a headache over 90 minutes.

Paul Lambert and Stoke Crowd: The jeering will be directed at Lambert all afternoon at the bet365 which will surely turn an already loud Stoke fanbase even louder which may have a say in the way this one turns out.

What the managers said 

Lambert had nothing but praise for his previous club when speaking to Ipswich’s club website.

“I loved my time there. It’s a terrific football club. The supporters were brilliant with me and we gave it everything we had but just fell short in the end, which was obviously really disappointing.”

Gary Rowett has warned his players not to be complacent when speaking to Stoke’s club website.

“I spoke to the players this morning and we can’t underestimate them. They have plenty of endeavour and desire they will come and play with energy and tempo.”