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City pressure just like the Old Firm says Lambert

PUBLISHED: 23:54 15 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:16 06 July 2010

It may be a long way from home, but Paul Lambert says he sees a reminder of life with Scottish giants Celtic here in Norfolk.

Lambert made almost 200 appearances for the Bhoys, between 1997 and 2005, winning four SPL titles, two Scottish Cups, two CIS Insurance Cups and a Uefa Cup runners-up medal.

It may be a long way from home, but Paul Lambert says he sees a reminder of life with Scottish giants Celtic here in Norfolk.

Lambert made almost 200 appearances for the Bhoys, between 1997 and 2005, winning four SPL titles, two Scottish Cups, two CIS Insurance Cups and a Uefa Cup runners-up medal.

Norwich's trophy collection is altogether different, but Lambert sees comparisons on and off the field - especially as he summed up Saturday's win over Tranmere.

“The biggest thing I can say is, the demand is like at Celtic. That's exactly what it's like, where teams come and they bed themselves in, and the crowd get a bit agitated,” he said.

There is also a mater of bravery, which he says his players have in abundance.

“It takes big players to go and take the ball every time, and to be fair to everyone, they never hide,” he said. “That's when you can label criticism, if somebody hides from the ball. I always stress to them, never hide, always go and take it, because people talk about bravery going into a challenge, but you have got to be brave to take the ball at any given moment. All credit to them.”

It took City an hour to break through, but when they did it was Wes Hoolahan who was involved both times, scoring from the spot after Adam Drury's shot hit John Welsh on the arm and then setting up Gary Doherty for a second 10 minutes from time.

The spot-kick took the Irishman's tally to eight, five of them in the league - more than welcome support for strikers Grant Holt and Chris Martin who have 14 and nine respectively.

“I am delighted with them all,” said Lambert. “I think it takes a big player to take a penalty at any given moment, to have the nerve and you know you have got to score to keep your noses in front.

“I think him, Grant and Chrissy have got 30 goals between them, along those lines, which I think is an extraordinary return, but I think they will be the first to admit that they need the lads behind them to supply it.

“Wes does a bit of both with his supply and his finishing, but I'm delighted with the group - the group has been brilliant.

“They have been great. The expectancy level on us is high because of what we're doing at the minute and the fans come in their drives - 25,000 which is incredible, expecting us to win and that's all we can do, try and beat what's in front of us, but the level of performance and consistency level has been terrific.

“I'm delighted to win; it keeps the run going and keeps everybody pretty happy I would imagine.”

Lambert had predicted a difficult afternoon, and he wasn't wrong, with the visitors' rearguard action stifling City at times.

“I said it was going to be a really tough game because of the position they were in the league and the weather wasn't great, but we overcame it and stuck at it, which I'm pleased at,” he said.

If there was controversy it was the manner in which City went ahead, with Tranmere insisting Welsh's handball for the penalty was accidental.

“I couldn't see,” said Lambert. “The ball was going really quickly so it was hard for me. We have had ones against us which I never thought were penalties, so we take ones that come your way. If I was to moan at penalties then there are the ones at MK Dons which still haunt you at times.”

Lambert named keeper Michael Theoklitos on the bench, with Declan Rudd having picked up a knee injury in training. It's a problem which Lambert admits “might well be” more than a minor irritation, and with Jed Steer missing the Academy game in the morning because of a wrist injury, he is down to two keepers. Fortunately for him, number one choice Fraser Forster appears to be in rude health, producing a superb save just before half-time to prevent Paul McLaren giving Tranmere the lead.

“It's a world class save, an absolute world class save,” said Lambert. “I think he is only just 21 so he's got one hell of a career in front of him if he keeps progressing and listens to people and is always humble about his career.”

Forster's loan from Newcastle ends in January and Lambert was coy about the possibility of him staying on, saying: “You'd better ask the people with the money.”

Lambert may need extra resources in the new year if City are to maintain their momentum.

“We don't know yet - a lot depends on different factors and finance and things like that,” he said. “We have really good players and the fan base helps us an awful lot, but we might need a bit of help if we can do it. The current group need a bit of help from elsewhere.”


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