Lambert aiming higher in popularity stakes

PUBLISHED: 06:00 26 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:39 10 September 2010

Paul Lambert watches on as Korey Smith evades his Swindon Town opponent at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Paul Lambert watches on as Korey Smith evades his Swindon Town opponent at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Chris Lakey

Paul Lambert admits he's left behind a few broken friendships in his short managerial career - but the love affair with Norwich City appears to be growing game by game.

Paul Lambert admits he's left behind a few broken friendships in his short managerial career - but the love affair with Norwich City appears to be growing game by game.

Another home win, another step up the League One table and another sign that Lambert is working his magic.

"I can't afford to be not popular because I'm not popular in Colchester or Wycombe, so I can't do Norwich as well - and only half of Glasgow like me," laughed Lambert.

But while everything appears to be going well on the surface, there are clearly concerns below the water-line.

Lambert is just about treading water as far as injuries are concerned, but if any more come along it could become problematic - he had Michael Nelson on the bench on Saturday, despite the defender having not kicked a ball in anger since his injury at MK Dons, which ruled him out for seven games.

Jon Otsemobor pulled out on Saturday morning because of a hamstring problem, and his replacement, young George Francomb, didn't reappear for the second half because of a thigh injury.

That meant midfielder Korey Smith had to switch - with Lambert robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Lambert has three injured right backs and, as he said, "40 midfielders".

But numbers mean nothing when you whittle it down to the players who are good enough to be considered squad members.

"I knew that from day one," said Lambert.

"The crux of the matter is it is not strong enough.

"Smith - he did great but you are taking somebody's strong point and putting them in a defensive zone and one thing about Korey is he has a great drive from the midfield and you take him out of the midfield and it's a bit of a loss of his energy."

The third of those right backs, Michael Spillane, looks set to return to training this week after suffering a hamstring injury against Bristol Rovers at the beginning of the month.

"I'm hopeful Michael might train this coming week, but other than that we don't have anybody else," Lambert said.

"Even if we did have everybody fit there are still certain areas of the pitch we have to try and address, but you can't do that if we don't have the money to do it.

"It's okay keep on going on about it but it's the loans - I was at a function the other night and the fans knew the loans thing had killed the club.

"If you could bolster it you would, but we don't have the finance to do it.

"If you go and ask all the loans they'll tell you where the money went.

"I'm pretty sure if I brought in 17 loans I don't think I'd be the most popular person in Norwich."

Right now there are few signs that either will happen, with a full house giving their backing to Lambert's cause - and the manager admitting life is treating him well.

"I am here to win games, that's the bottom line," said the former Scottish international.

"I am here to win as many games as we can for this football club.

"It is an absolute terrific football club.

"I was speaking to Peter Grant yesterday and he said the club is a brilliant football club, and Peter was here as a player and as a manager so he knows exactly what it's like - it's a terrific, terrific club.

"Whoever is in this chair now or later on in years it's a terrific club to be at.

"I love the pressure of it, I love the adrenalin of it, I love the demands of it to try and win games - if you don't you know what comes.

"The pleasing thing is you have a group of lads that win for you and that's all I ever want, just to give me everything they've got and once you've got that as a manager it's one of the greatest things you can ask for.

"The enjoyment of being at this club which I see every week at home and when we go away from home is the amount of people that come and watch us.

"It is extraordinary, the fan base is incredible, it really is."

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