Lambert won't be taking any chances at Paulton
Chris Lakey Paul Lambert knows exactly why ITV chose to send their cameras to Paulton Rovers this afternoon - but don't expect him to be a media luvvy and grant them their wish.
Paul Lambert knows exactly why ITV chose to send their cameras to Paulton Rovers this afternoon - but don't expect him to be a media luvvy and grant them their wish.
The intention is to witness what would go down as one of the greatest FA Cup shocks in the competition's long history.
Lambert's intention is to spoil the party. Every neutral is likely to be backing Paulton, which leaves City cast in the role of bad guys. They can't win. Not even if they lose.
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For Lambert, it means not a jot.
“Look, I am not going to underestimate this game, not one bit,” said Lambert. “There is only one reason TV want to take it on so I am not going to underestimate it.”
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Lambert maintained radio silence on his team line-up, refusing to confirm whether or not Declan Rudd would start in goal in the absence of on-loan Fraser Forster, whose parent club Newcastle don't want him cup-tied.
“He might be,” said the manager.
And what about resting some of his big guns for the League One campaign?
“No. I want to win the game.”
Message received loud and clear.
“I will go strong, that's for sure.”
Cody McDonald pushed his claim for a starting role by setting up the final goal in the 3-1 win at Stockport last week, but City's isn't an easy team to get into.
“He did fine,” said Lambert. “But the team is going well at the minute, that's the thing, so he has to wait and see what team I put out.”
City are big odds on to get through, but Lambert warned against anyone expecting a cricket score - the days of the cup record 8-0 win over Sutton United appear to be well and truly gone.
“Football players, no matter what level, are well organised,” he said. “It's very rare you get scores like that - we just want to get through.
“I think they will have a belief in themselves. They have earned the right to play us and I always think if you have earned the right in a one-off game you have always got a little bit of belief that you can do something.”
Lambert and his management team have done their homework, on Paulton, on their ground, on their facilities: he doesn't expect them to be caught out and he doesn't expect City to be accused of being big time Charlies.
“Stockport's pitch wasn't particularly great last week,” he said. “We have got drawn against them so we have got to go and play them - it's the same for them. If we treat it lightly then we could get done.
“We have had them watched, we have done everything right that we can and it is a game I will never underestimate. We know what to expect - it's a small ground, not a lot of people will be there. We know what we are going into, but we will be prepared for it.”
Lambert knows that a good cup run will put some silver in the Carrow Road coffers, but bristled at a national newspaper report that he was angry with the board of directors.
“I never saw it but allegedly it said I actually slammed the board, which was nonsense,” he said. “I never once said that it was the board's fault there was no money. I said there was no money due to the loans, and it's still the exact same way. Somebody who reported it was totally wrong.
“My view is if the club gets money and it helps the club and I don't see it, then so be it. That's the nature of the game - I will continue to work with the group of lads who have worked brilliantly for me so far.”
t City sponsors Aviva are providing free flags and inflatable “bang-bang” sticks to fans travelling on the official Club Canary coaches to Paulton today.
“With the Rovers fans likely to be right behind their team we wanted to provide something for Canary fans to create a great atmosphere at the start of what we hope will be a good Cup run,” said Chris Elliott, senior sponsorship manager at Aviva.