Preston North End are familiar first game opponents for new Ipswich boss Paul Lambert
Paul Lambert will get a feeling of deja-vu when he manages Ipswich Town against Preston North End this weekend.
Saturday’s Portman Road clash sees Lambert in charge of the Tractor Boys for the first time after succeeding Paul Hurst.
The Scotsman has been here before – twice in fact.
In November 2015, Lambert’s first game as Blackburn boss came against PNE.
A year on he took the Wolves job and North End were the opposition in his first match.
That 2016 game ended in a 0-0 draw, Lambert having overseen a 2-1 Blackburn win 12 months earlier.
Lambert, 49, is clearly the go-to manager for clubs who have reached the autumn and do not like the position they find themselves in.
Neither Rovers or Wolves were in any particular danger when he landed their jobs.
But Ipswich are a different kettle of fish – they are rock bottom after 15 games.
His predecessor Hurst had only been in post since June, Town moving for him on the back of the excellent job he had done at Shrewsbury.
Hurst was the bright young thing brought in to replace Mick McCarthy, a manager who Ipswich fans had grown disenchanted with after more than five years in the job.
Bringing in Lambert, they have now returned down the path of having a boss with more miles on the clock.
His appointment means that Preston boss Alex Neil is no longer the only Scot to be managing in the top two tiers of English football.
For a spell last season, Neil had David Moyes at West Ham United for company on the Scottish front.
But either side of Moyes managing the Hammers, Neil had flown the Scotland flag alone.
Lambert regards Preston’s visit to Suffolk as ‘huge’, so too his new side’s trip to Reading the week after.
With PNE having climbed to 20th place on the back of a five-game unbeaten run and anxious to extend that, Neil no doubt sees Saturday’s game in a similar way.
Lambert said: “These next two games are huge, every game whether you are trying to get out of the league or stay in it.
“I know the lads haven’t won many games but we have a squad good enough to win games and be better than we have been doing.
“My job is to get them doing different things and get them playing.
“We have to get on the front foot and play with an intensity, I don’t like slow football.”