IPSWICH Town boss Paul Lambert has hailed his club's "phenomenal" support with another bumper following expected at tonight's Leasing.com Trophy clash against Colchester United.

The Blues are bringing around 2,500 fans down the A12 to the JobServe Community Stadium (kick-off 7.30pm).

They have already sold out the North Stand and started selling out the left-hand end of the East Stand, too.

It could create the unusual situation of more away supporters in the ground than home followers.

And Lambert says the backing his team have received so far this season has been "absolutely first class".

“The support is brilliant," said former U's boss Lambert, who was in charge of the north Essex side from October 2008 until August 2009.

"The biggest achievement (since becoming manager) is the crowd coming back.

"They weren't there a few years back but now they're in a really good place for the team and club.

"That’s the main thing and it’s great.

"The support we’ve got is phenomenal, absolutely first class, and in terms of tonight's game it’s good it’s only half an hour down the road."

Town fans have been out in force this season and the figures have been eye-catching.

Some 4,014 made the trip to Peterborough United in August, out of a crowd of 10,071, and of the 10,167 at MK Dons in September 3,360 were Blues followers.

U's chairman Robbie Cowling is hoping for a similar response from Colchester fans.

“The response from the fans for the Crawley game was phenomenal and having so many of them there played a big part in getting the positive result," he wrote in Saturday's programme for the FA Cup tie against Coventry City.

"On a similar note, we have an important game against Ipswich, against who anything other than a loss should put us through to the knockout stages, and they have already sold out the North Stand and have started selling out the left-hand end of the East Stand, too.

"It would be great to see a similar response from our fans to make it a stunning local derby.”

Town are top of League One with ten wins, three draws and just two defeats from their 15 matches.

Their only losses came in quick succession, against Accrington Stanley and Rotherham United.

However, they bounced back with wins at Southend United and Rochdale, before drawing 1-1 with Lincoln City in the FA Cup on Saturday.

They will field a young side tonight and one player of note who could feature is midfielder Brett McGavin - the son of former Colchester striker and ex-Ipswich academy recruitment boss Steve.

Nineteen-year-old Brett signed his first professional contract at Portman Road in February and was an unused substitute for the last Leasing.com Trophy game, against Gillingham.

Former U's hero Kane Vincent-Young is currently sidelined with a groin injury but is highly unlikely to have featured anyway.