Lambert plays guessing game

David Cuffley SLIDESHOW:Manager Paul Lambert insisted there were no clues to his preferred first-choice eleven or formation as Norwich City kicked off their pre-season programme with a 3-0 win at Dereham Town.

David Cuffley

Manager Paul Lambert insisted there were no clues to his preferred first-choice eleven or formation as Norwich City kicked off their pre-season programme with a 3-0 win at Dereham Town.

Lambert fielded a different eleven in each half against the Ridgeons League side at a scorching Aldiss Park on Saturday as a first-half goal from Michael Nelson and two more after the break from Cody McDonald gave the Canaries victory.

But though the line-up for the opening half had more of a first team look to it, the City boss said it was no indication of how his side might look when the Championship season gets under way in less than four weeks' time.


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“It meant nothing at all. I wouldn't really give much away until it's for real. The main thing is to get players fit. That's the object of it,” he said.

“It's a good run-out for the players. It was warm but you've just got to get through it, and no matter how much running you do in pre-season, the games are where you'll get your real fitness.”

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Lambert fielded five of his six new signings, with defender Elliott Ward the most notable absentee from the 24 players on duty. “He just had a little bit of a problem with his Achilles so there was no point taking a risk on him,” said Lambert. There was no sign of midfield pair Matthew Gill and Owain Tudur Jones, nor defender Rhoys Wiggins, while goalkeeper Declan Rudd is away on England duty for the European Under-19 Championships. And not all those on duty at Dereham were included in the party that flew to Germany yesterday for a week's training camp. “The squad is really big at the minute and the one that will go to Germany are the ones that were mainly here,” said Lambert. “Not everybody here will go - I have to narrow it down.”

City will be based at Hennef Sportschule near Bonn and are scheduled to play one match, against SV Bergisch Gladbach 09 of the North Rhine-Westphalia League, next Saturday. “One game is enough. It's a game in the training camp. It's just for our eyes, really. We'll try to get more game time under our belt and get them fit,” he said. Lambert admitted he was no nearer securing the one missing man in his summer recruitment drive - believed to be Gillingham striker Simeon Jackson.

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