Lambert - I'll hang on to stars
Chris Lakey Paul Lambert says none of his prized possessions will be allowed to leave Carrow Road this summer. The City boss has three double-figure scorers in Grant Holt, Chris Martin and Wes Hoolahan on his hands as well as a clutch of other players who have made invaluable contributions to the cause.
Paul Lambert says none of his prized possessions will be allowed to leave Carrow Road this summer.
The City boss has three double-figure scorers in Grant Holt, Chris Martin and Wes Hoolahan on his hands as well as a clutch of other players who have made invaluable contributions to the cause.
But any manager hoping the magic dust might rub off on their teams in exchange for a transfer fee can think again, with Lambert insisting that his big players are staying put.
"You can't let players leave this football club like that," he said.
"When I'm here nobody will be leaving that way."
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Strikers, like Holt, who bag 30 goals a season, don't come along very often - in City's case, not since 1964 when Ron Davies was the last player to reach the mark - and when an offer comes in it can be tempting.
"It is," admitted Lambert. "But if it does come then I have to deal with it and I won't let anybody go out of this door who I think is going to be beneficial to this football club."
Lambert has already spoken to the board about his spending power next season and his resources may be a little clearer after next week when he talks to a number of players whose futures aren't yet clear.
Of the first team regulars, Darel Russell and Gary Doherty are out of contract, while there are likely to be big questions marks over Paul McVeigh and Jamie Cureton, whose deals are also up.
"I will have a chat with the lads next week at some point," he said.
"I will let them enjoy the moment and I will let them enjoy Thursday - they deserve it."
The out tray may be easier to clear than the in-tray is to fill, although Lambert does have a transfer wish list.
"You need to bring in a few when you go up a level and we will try and give the current group a hand," he said.
"I don't think every player needs Championship experience. We can't just go and buy anybody, we definitely can't do that, but we will get players in who we think might help us and hopefully keep the club going and keep driving it on.
"It doesn't matter if they come from the Championship or League One, if I think they are good enough then hopefully they will perform."
For those who stay it's back to work on July 1 in preparation for the Championship season.
"They will get a break and they know what I expect of them when they come back," Lambert said.
"They have to do a bit of work, but not right away because they deserve the break because before you know it you will be back in amongst it and you have to go again.
"I think anything you win is a great achievement, because it doesn't come every year and you to wait, and when it's there you should always enjoy the moment. I was fortunate enough to win some things, but I am absolutely delighted for the players because they had a rough ride at the beginning of the season, they're the ones who turned it around, allied to an incredible support."
Even an unexpected defeat by Carlisle did little to dampen the spirits, with Lambert in a forgiving mood given the occasion.
"Carlisle deserved to beat us," he said. "But we did what we had to do and it's been a terrific season.
"It was always going to be difficult, but we'd done the job a few weeks earlier and the lads have been great.
"The crowd are here for the occasion and quite rightly, so they should, and we were the same.
"It's difficult to keep going every week, but we have deserved it, there's no doubt we've deserved the league.
"I can't fault them for what they have done.
"I have nothing but praise for them for the way they have done it, the turnaround has been huge, the fan base has been incredible this year, the way they are with the players.
"It must be a great city tonight for sure the way people will go from here."
Lambert had a couple of minor surprises up his sleeve: Michael Spillane didn't make the squad and Michael Nelson was rested because of a toe injury which has troubled him for some time.
But his sympathetic side was on full show minutes from the end when he brought on Declan Rudd and allowed on-loan goalkeeper Fraser Forster to accept the crowd's gratitude.
"He has been absolutely phenomenal for me," said Lambert, who will have the 22-year-old's return for at least another season high up no his "to do" list.
"He deserved the ovation he got.
"I never did (speak to Newcastle) because I didn't want to deflect from getting out of the league.
"I had a chat with Fraser during the week and I think he likes it here.
"I think the crowd love him and we'll see what can be done."