WHEN Paul Lambert confidently breezed into an expectant press conference unveiling him as Colchester United’s new manager a decade ago, he quickly made his intentions clear.

“What we will try and do is instil a belief to go and win football matches – I will bring drive and enthusiasm,” said the Scot, as he addressed the media for the first time as U’s boss.

“I don’t want to come here and have a decent settling in period – I want to hit the ground running and everyone has to step up to plate – myself included.”

Back then, he was a fresh-faced young boss in a hurry, still climbing his way up a managerial ladder that was to later take in the likes of Norwich City, Aston Villa and Wolves.

Ten years on and a lot of water has certainly flowed under the bridge, for both Lambert and Colchester alike.

Yet although his spell at the U’s lasted less than a year, the sentiment of his rhetoric essentially remains the same.

Now, just over the county border, the Scot is tasked with dragging the U’s neighbours Ipswich Town out of the Championship mire they currently find themselves embroiled in.

Earlier this week, Lambert spoke about throwing everything he's got into his new job.

If his short stint at Colchester is anything to go by, Lambert will waste little time in stamping his mark.

That’s probably just as well, given his new employers’ current perilous predicament.

He set about making alterations on and off the pitch as soon as he arrived at Colchester.

The away team dressing room walls at a then brand-new Community Stadium were duly painted battleship grey, while the South Stand was quickly marked out as the U’s ‘home end’.

A few months later, at the beginning of 2009, the club’s scouting team was disbanded and changes were afoot on the field, too.

The likes of Jimmy Walker, Marc Tierney and Simon Hackney were drafted in and although Colchester ended up finishing in mid-table, it was the impact Lambert had in his first close season for Colchester that proved most telling.

Players such as Ben Williams, Kevin Lisbie and David Fox arrived while others such as Phil Ifil and Johnnie Jackson were left out of a pre-season trip to Germany; there was little hint of sentiment.

But Lambert’s summer exertions paid off in spectacular fashion with one of the most memorable wins in the club’s history, an astonishing 7-1 opening-day win at Norwich.

That incredible result also ultimately paved the way for his controversial exit from the U’s.

A few days later, he was gone.

Many Colchester supporters have still not forgiven him for walking out on the club for the Canaries; his appointment as Ipswich’s new manager is hardly likely to soften their scorn.

But there are others who feel he was on the verge of something special when he left the U’s.

We will, of course, never know.

But as Lambert embarks on what he has described as another 'challenge' in his eventful managerial career, beginning with a vital home clash with fellow strugglers Preston North End tomorrow, he is once again unlikely to waste much time in embracing what is arguably his toughest task yet.