THE current Ipswich Town squad reveals Paul Lambert’s hidden strength. Ruthlessness.

It always promised to be a historic occasion.

Town’s first campaign outside the top two divisions since 1957 has got off to a fantastic start - largely thanks to boss Lambert, who is certainly doing things his way.

Both fans and players have questioned the former Norwich City manager’s squad rotation this season.

But it seems to be working, with Town recording an unbeaten start - seven wins and three draws from ten games.

There's strength in depth across the pitch.

Captain Luke Chambers, for example, with over 300 appearances in a Town shirt, used to face little competition whereas Danny Rowe, a forgotten man at the start of the season, is proof that the banished can be brought back.

Selection used to resemble a closed shop, especially for those under McCarthy’s stewardship and in an era when if you kept out the opposition and came away with a 1-0 win, your place in the team was guaranteed for the next game and perhaps the next.

The same simply cannot be said for Lambert’s class of 2019/20.

Not knowing who will make the starting XI, with a sense of surprise and excitement on every teamsheet released at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon, has been a theme.

Lambert’s willingness to axe the established and experienced is a common denominator: just ask Bartosz Bialkowski - Town’s player of the year three seasons running, who subsequently joined Millwall on loan at the start of the season.

And not forgetting Alan Judge, who has found it difficult to hold onto a regular starting berth this term, despite his undoubted quality and experience.

Lambert has shown decisiveness that some of his supposedly harder predecessors lacked.

Hurst, a purportedly tough talker, showed the ultimate weakness with his summer recruitment, signing players who were not up to scratch in a higher league.

McCarthy had his ‘favourites’ come rain or shine, albeit on a shoestring budget and a tough-to-watch style of play.

Paul Jewell was the martinet who invariably kept senior figures in his squad and instead took the easier option of axing younger players and smaller names, whereas Roy Keane’s approach was ‘trust in what you know'.

Lambert can be faulted for his loyalty to a semi-fit talisman James Norwood at times.

Otherwise, his cold-blooded decisiveness feels a guard against complacency.

The criteria may not be as simple as club form – out-of-sorts Andre Dozzell’s inclusion at Gillingham surprised some, while young Armando Dobra has impressed in cup action, grabbing himself a goal at Luton and providing two assists against a young Tottenham Hotspur team.

However, he has been unable to feature in the league as yet.

Clearly, those responsible for taking Ipswich onwards and upwards don't have an immunity against omission.

A restlessness, a search for something better, has always been apparent since Lambert and his backroom staff walked through the door at Portman Road last autumn.

From a persistent and favourable 4-3-3 formation utilised in his early days in the hotseat, the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder has gone on to experiment with 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1 and 3-4-1-2 with great aplomb this season, with two players competing for each position and quality to match.

The feeling among Town fans is that they finally have a team looking to create and make things happen on the pitch, with an attacking, passing fluidity rarely been seen since the days of George Burley’s 2000 play-off winning team.

With points on the board, the club top of League One and players buying into his tactics, it highlights how Lambert can marry civility with brutality.