History is no concern for Lambert as Canaries eye points
Chris Lakey Paul Lambert could be in for a red-hot reception when he steps out at Edgeley Park this afternoon - because of something he said 18 months ago. The City boss, then in charge at Wycombe, upset Stockport supporters - and their then manager Jim Gannon - with comments attributed to him after the first leg of their League Two play-off semi-final, which ended 1-1.
Paul Lambert could be in for a red-hot reception when he steps out at Edgeley Park this afternoon - because of something he said 18 months ago.
The City boss, then in charge at Wycombe, upset Stockport supporters - and their then manager Jim Gannon - with comments attributed to him after the first leg of their League Two play-off semi-final, which ended 1-1.
Lambert reportedly said the prospect of heading to Stockport for the second leg "didn't scare him" and that he used to play for a club that had "more people watching training than Stockport would have in their ground".
"When I got asked the question, 'were we going to get intimidated by Stockport's crowd?' I said 'no', because a lot of the lads played against that small team at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea, and 40,000 so that's what I said, that they wouldn't be intimidated because they've played in front of big crowds before so it didn't faze them to go up there and play in front of 8,000 or whatever it was. So that's what I said."
The former Celtic midfielder admitted last week he wasn't Mr Popular at Wycombe or Colchester - and doesn't expect Stockport fans to be any more forgiving this afternoon.
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"That's not a great place for me at the minute," he laughed. "I don't expect to get a Christmas card that's for sure - I don't mind, it's part of the game. You'll get the odd shout - I don't think it will be, 'how're you doing? - but I've heard it all before."
However, with City riding high in League One, Lambert is unlikely to be bothered by the attention.
"As long as the team win it doesn't bother me," he said.
The statistics would appear to back his belief that City have a conviction that defeat is not on their agenda. Stockport's away record is better than their home form, where they have won just once in seven attempts and scored just half a dozen goals, while conceding 14. No other club has a worse defensive record and only bottom side Wycombe have scored fewer on their home patch.
It's the sort of form which suggests City should be in confident mood: nothing new there then.
"I think they have got a belief they are good enough to go and win, but they have got to earn the right," said Lambert.
"We are not just going to turn up and think yep, because it's Norwich City. It is never going to be like that. They are going to have to win the battle first before you win the war. Every game we have played in and done well in we have virtually won all the battles and in the end we have virtually come out winning it, apart from Leeds and MK Dons, where MK Dons everything went against us regarding injuries and Leeds you saw what happened there.
"The other games they have been terrific and if you can keep that going you don't know here it's going to take you. I feel confident at the minute every game we play because of the way the lads are playing.
"They're the ones that do it week in, week out. The game is all about players and the people who come and watch - we'll take up a terrific following again and if we play the way we have been then hopefully we'll win the game."
The build-up to the trip to Lancashire has been overshadowed at times by the FA Cup draw, which pitted City against minnows Paulton Rovers in seven days' time. But Lambert insist it's first things first.
"You give that the respect it deserves after the Stockport game," he said. "It has never really crossed my mind. I saw the draw and all that sort of thing, but it doesn't really enter my head until after the Stockport game."