Ipswich boss Paul Lambert has this message for the EFL as talks over Sunderland's 2020/21 start date continue

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Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert believes starting the 2020/21 season behind closed doors could leave some clubs in ‘real trouble’ – particularly if games continue in front of empty stadiums for an extended period.

The EFL held their AGM on Monday, with the start date of the 2020/21 season one of a number of topics discussed.

League One and League Two clubs have called for a provisional start date to be confirmed in order to facilitate their planning for the new campaign, with clubs currently unsure when they are likely to return to action.

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But Lambert is taking a more cautious approach, and feels that the decision should take into account when fans can return to stadiums.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has a message for the EFLIpswich Town manager Paul Lambert has a message for the EFL
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has a message for the EFL

It is widely expected that the 2020/21 season will begin behind closed doors, or in front of limited capacities, given the government’s current rules around social distancing.

Some clubs are taking steps to plan for the worst case scenario, with League Two side Newport County confirming last week that they have budgeted for games being played behind closed doors until the end of the year.

And Lambert has concerns about the plans to play games in front of empty stadiums – fearing that it could leave lesser-backed clubs struggling in the short-term.

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“We are fortunate, we have a good owner in Marcus [Evans] and with the money he puts into the Club,” said Lambert, speaking to Ipswich’s club website.

“It could easily be a big problem if he wasn’t here and I do fear for other clubs.

“The game needs the fans. It’s not the same game without supporters in the stadium and the longer that goes on, the more clubs less fortunate than ourselves will find themselves in real trouble.

“If we go back and start playing again without supporters, then we will get on with it like everyone else but the most important thing is that it’s safe for the players and staff to return and then when fans do come back, they feel safe and secure coming back into stadiums.”