Lambert is ready to ring changes again

Chris Lakey Paul Lambert looks likely to change his starting line-up again tonight as he lives up to his promise to give everyone at Carrow Road a clean slate. Lambert wielded the axe on Saturday, with six changes to the side he saw lose at Brentford in midweek.

Chris Lakey

Paul Lambert looks likely to change his starting line-up again tonight as he lives up to his promise to give everyone at Carrow Road a clean slate.

Lambert wielded the axe on Saturday, with six changes to the side he saw lose at Brentford in midweek.

And while the shake-up paid immediate dividends, it's unlikely to prevent more changes for the Carling Cup second-round tie against Sunderland. Midfielder Matt Gill is carrying a knock, but Lambert has no new injury worries.

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“I have to see everybody,” said Lambert, who had inflicted some of the wounds himself when he led Colchester to a 7-1 win at Carrow Road a fortnight earlier.

“I have to see people to see what they can offer.”

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Lambert and his assistant Ian Culverhouse had just 40 minutes on Friday to get some sort of team shape established - no one could have predicted Saturday's line-up, and few would have got close to calling the final result.

“It was huge,” said Lambert, whose first contact with the players had been on Thursday.

“The turnaround has been quick - in two days with the lads you can't do much really so you don't know how fit they are, how they are feeling in their own head, whether the hurt is more severe in some lads than other lads.

“You just don't know, you just have to get a feel for it and go with your own instinct, what team you actually think will be the best team on that day.

“We did a little training drill with them on Thursday and a bit of shape work to see what was there because we didn't know any of the lads apart from those from the Colchester game.

“I just felt we had to make changes just to give it a bit of freshness because of the hurt that the football club had incurred since the Colchester game and to get a result that goes with it.

“I think if you play the game off the cuff you'll get hurt because I think people are good enough to exploit it. We have only done 40 minutes with them.”

Lambert has insisted since he walked through the door on Tuesday that it's all about the fans and the players - and he was left praising both after Saturday.

“I thought the response of the players and the fans was terrific, I really did,” he said. “We got three excellent goals but got a bit sloppy for Wycombe's goal which put us on the back foot a bit - and the second one certainly put us on the back foot. But after that the response was great considering. What I do know about big football clubs is if you have got 20,000 people come to watch it takes big players to play.

“It's easy to play in front of three and four thousand, absolutely no problem, but when you come into a football club like this and you have 20,000 people you have to perform week in, week out and if you are here that's what I expect of you.

“I was pleased for both the players and the fans. At this club you owe them something to get them going and I think they responded brilliantly to each other, which had to happen for the club to get the momentum going, so I'm delighted for the fans.”

Lambert had promised to use the younger players if he felt they were good enough and proved true to his word by giving 18-year-old midfielder Korey Smith his first home start and naming Tom Adeyemi, 17, and Luke Daley, 19, on the bench.

Smith responded with a goal - and Lambert was delighted the changes worked.

“It was brilliant, absolutely brilliant considering there were a load of changes in it, some young kids in it,” he said. “I am absolutely delighted. Everyone of them I thought were great.”

“I think we had to get a bit of freshness about it, we threw a couple of young lads to give us a bit of legs.

“In modern day football I think you need a bit of pace in your team. The young lads came in to the group, along with some experienced ones that helped pull them along.”

The “experienced ones” would include two-goal Grant Holt, who he made skipper for the day.

“He was brilliant,” Lambert said. “Holt was terrific, as was Cureton, because Jamie hasn't played since, I don't know, 1953 or something. So Cureton came in and I thought he was great. Holt is a proper player and his goals were excellent. He came I this morning and his face was a little bit swollen.

“I think it's his wisdom teeth that were giving him a little bit of a problem so if he keeps playing like that I hope he keeps having problems with his teeth.”

With regular skipper Gary Doherty on the bench, Holt was the obvious choice to wear the armband.

“I just thought he's a player's man who would drive it through as well, which is what we need at this football club to try and succeed,” he said.

“Captains don't really mean much. It's the best team I have to get out on that pitch on that given day.

“Gary may be back in on Monday - I just picked a team and obviously Gary not playing I had to give it to somebody and I just thought Grant Holt was the right one to do it.”

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