Lambert pleased with versatility of his squad
Paul Lambert praised his players for adapting to different formations as the Canaries took another step towards promotion at the weekend. The City boss has been forced into changes in midfield because of Darel Russell's three-match suspension.
Paul Lambert praised his players for adapting to different formations as the Canaries took another step towards promotion at the weekend.
The City boss has been forced into changes in midfield because of Darel Russell's three-match suspension. At Boundary Park he started with a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Chris Martin right, Anthony McNamee left and Wes Hoolahan playing just off leading scorer Grant Holt.
Later in the game McNamee went right, Hoolahan left and Martin moved alongside Holt in a more traditional-looking 4-4-2. And then, with City a goal up and a late Oldham charge on the way, he increased the level of resistance by taking off Hoolahan, pushing Simon Lappin wide to the left and switching Russell Martin into midfield. When the final whistle came, perhaps tactics were the last thing on people's minds as the prospect of an instant return to the Championship increased. But Lambert is working with relatively meagre resources - and they're taking up the challenge.
'We changed it,' he said. 'We changed Wes, he came out where Chris was, and vice-versa, and we changed it again,' he said. 'The lads can adapt - it showed me they can adapt to different formations, which is great.'
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Perhaps the biggest question was whether or not Hoolahan and McNamee could play in the same team - the way they combined to set up Holt simply confirmed that they could.
'I always keep saying we have to try and win more games than not and the best way I think is to try and attack people and I thought the two of them did fine,' said Lambert. Satisfyingly for him, the changes are coming with a squad relatively short on senior numbers.
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But he always maintained his squad 'needed a bit of help' - and his own signings are slotting in seamlessly.
'When you look at the squad it's littered with a lot of young ones, and Macca (McNamee) coming in and Russell Martin coming in and Oli (Johnson) coming in - we don't have the same amount of money due to what's happened at the club, but what we do, we try and make the best of it, allied to the lads already here and as a team we have been terrific,' he said.
Victory came with Grant Holt's 53rd-minute goal, his 25th of the season, aided by a quality late stop by Fraser Forster and Korey Smith's goal-line clearance.
'Grant was terrific,' said Lambert. 'He gets back on the goal trail and it will do his confidence the world of good again. I've been delighted with Grant throughout the whole season.
'It's a tough place to come and difficult conditions. I thought we had a few chances in the first half to maybe finish the game, but we never took them.
'When Grant scores you're hanging on at the death and Fraser makes a great save - but it's another big one.
'If we took our chances in the first half we might not be in that position, but I'm delighted with the lads,' added Lambert.