Lambert's pat on the back for Cody

Striker Cody McDonald earned a pat on the back from manager Paul Lambert after scoring for the third time in five days to help League One leaders Norwich City set a new club record.

Striker Cody McDonald earned a pat on the back from manager Paul Lambert after scoring for the third time in five days to help League One leaders Norwich City set a new club record.

McDonald's equaliser in the 2-1 home win over Hartlepool followed his late winner as a substitute at Walsall last Tuesday, and a goal for City Reserves in their 2-0 victory at Stevenage the following night.

After starting a league match for the first time since Lambert's arrival, in the continuing absence of skipper Grant Holt, the 23-year-old headed his fourth senior goal of the season to set up his side for an 11th straight home victory.

“He's not played much football, so tiredness will have crept in, there's no doubt about it, but his contribution in the last two games has been huge,” said Lambert.

“He's got a terrific willingness to try to learn. That's what's good about Cody. He never really gives you a problem and he wants to try to be a footballer.”

McDonald's goal, a fine header from Russell Martin's cross, came just a minute after Neil Austin had given Hartlepool the lead. Five minutes later, debutant Michael Rose scored what proved to be the winner.

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“It was a terrific ball from Russell and it's a terrific header. It puts you on the front foot again and galvanises you and the second goal was great, it settled us down a little bit, albeit Hartlepool were still well in the game,” said Lambert.

The City boss accepted his side were not at their sparkling best, but was delighted with nine points from a testing week. He said: “You can't play well every time and you have to give Hartlepool credit. They came here and played really, really well.

“We've had a really tough week with the Brentford game and going away to Walsall on a heavy pitch and then coming here again. And expectancy levels are on us again to win another game.

“I never really sit back and think what they've done because you expect them to keep churning out results and they keep on doing it.

“The lads have been great. They're the ones that do it, week in, week out.

“It's not easy when the demand is on you to win every single week. People on the outside looking in might think 'They'll do this and do this and do this'. It doesn't work that way. You have to give other teams a lot of credit for the way they play.

“Nobody's going to give us anything on a plate so I think the lads' effort since we have come in has been extraordinary.”

Austin's goal shook City out of a below-par start and they were soon 2-1 ahead.

“It probably gave us a jolt, really,” said Lambert. “They came here and showed they are a decent side so the goal was disappointing but then we had to kick on. I think the response was great, going up the park and scoring soon after and then Michael coming up with the second goal.

“The football we've played since we have been here has been absolutely terrific, but sometimes these games tell you a bit more about people, what they're really like, to see games through.

“Sometimes the results are every bit as important as if you are winning 5-0 or whatever the case may be.”

Lambert refuses to take anything for granted though City's position at the top was further strengthened when third-placed Charlton slipped eight points behind them with a 1-1 home draw against Tranmere.

“The players know where they are in the league, they know exactly what is going on around and about them. They can be proud of what they have done, they have been terrific,” said Lambert.

“Leeds still have games in hand and they're a really good side. Charlton are still a really dangerous side but I've got enough to worry about not to look at somebody else.”