Lambert does it his way – Coyle
Norwich City boss Paul Lambert has been applauded for not trying to become a “clone” of the managers he played for – by the man in the opposite dug-out tomorrow.
Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle said Lambert, a former opponent from their Scottish Premier League playing days, had achieved success with the Canaries through being his own man.
Ahead of tomorrow’s Barclays Premier League meeting at the Reebok Stadium (3pm), Coyle heaped praise on his fellow Paisley-born soccer boss.
“He’s always been a student of the game. He played in that good Motherwell team when Billy Davies was there. Those type of boys together love talking football,” said Coyle.
“When the legs give up, like they do with all of us, then you talk about trying your hand at managing.
“And because he had a spell in Germany, he’s been able to look at different styles, even different attitudes towards the game. It’s stood him in good stead, he’s collated it and put it all together and ultimately put his own stamp on it.”
Comparisons have been drawn between Lambert’s style and that of his former Celtic boss, Martin O’Neill, and the similarities have not escaped the Bolton boss.
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“He worked under Martin O’Neill at Celtic so he’s taken bits and pieces from managers he’s worked under,” said Coyle.
“But he is very much his own man and that’s a mark of his intelligence. Sometimes you can become a clone of someone you’ve worked under.
“But you can’t be like that. You have got to be your own man. He has built a very good team as manager.”
Bolton, beaten 5-0 by leaders Manchester United last Saturday, will be looking for their first points at home this season, facing a City side yet to register a victory.
“They will present a difficult challenge. Their goal is to make sure they stay in the league and that creates dangerous opponents because they will be scrapping for every ball,” said Coyle.
“But they are a very good passing team. They have a goal threat from players who like to get shots away from outside the box.
“They present a whole range of threats but equally so do we. We created an abundance of chances against United but never took them. You live and die in both boxes.”
Goalkeeper John Ruddy is available again for City after serving a one-match ban for his sending-off at Chelsea, and it remains to be seen whether Lambert makes further changes or switches his system again from the 4-4-2 used against West Bromwich.
If he reverts to the diamond shape used at Wigan and for the final hour at Stamford Bridge, there could be a recall for Wes Hoolahan, while he has options in attack after just one goal from a striker so far this season.
An update was expected today on the fitness of winger Anthony Pilkington, sidelined last Sunday by back spasms, and on whether striker James Vaughan will be available after suffering a badly gashed lip, courtesy of Albion defender Gabriel Tamas.
Bolton have conceded more goals than any other Premier League side so far, letting in 11 in three games since their 4-0 win at Queens Park Rangers on the opening day of the season, but as those three matches have been against Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United, they can perhaps be forgiven that unfortunate statistic.
Of greater significance to tomorrow’s fixture could be Bolton’s ominous home record against newly-promoted teams over the past decade.
Since regaining Premier League status in 2001, they have lost only once on home territory to a promoted team, Reading winning 3-1 at the Reebok Stadium in April 2007. In 10 seasons, the other 28 home games against promoted sides have brought 18 wins and 10 draws.
Coyle has suggested he will make changes after the defeat by United and there could be places for Darren Pratley, David N’Gog and Gael Kakuta, on loan from Chelsea, in the starting eleven.
Despite scoring in the first three Premier League fixtures, Croatian international Ivan Klasnic could be one of those to make way.
Stuart Holden is finally nearing a long-awaited return to action after rupturing knee ligaments last season, and could be included in the Bolton squad.
The Canaries will not only be aiming for their first win of the season, but their first Premier League away victory since December 1994, when they won 1-0 at Crystal Palace – since when 32 away games in the top flight have failed to produce a win.