Lambert may need to bolster defence
PUBLISHED: 12:55 14 February 2011
Archant Â© 2011
AUDIO: City boss Paul Lambert may decide to look for defensive reinforcements after centre-back Leon Barnett suffered a hamstring injury in the dramatic 2-1 home win over Reading.
Barnett pulled up sharply 11 minutes from time as he chased striker Shane Long and was immediately replaced by Zak Whitbread.
“I’ll see how he is come Monday or Tuesday,” said Lambert. “I don’t know until he goes for a scan but it will be a blow if he’s missing.”
If Barnett is out, it leaves Whitbread and Elliott Ward as the only experienced central defenders available for next Saturday’s trip to Leeds.
Michael Nelson was sold to Scunthorpe on the last day of the January transfer window, while Jens Berthel Askou has one more match left of his loan spell at Championship rivals Millwall, but has been out of favour for most of the season. Another loan signing is a possible solution.
“Maybe if I have to go out and get somebody I will,” said Lambert. “I might possibly look at it, but even though the money is there, teams are not going to let their better ones out.”
Lambert said he was not surprised by yet another stoppage-time goal as skipper Grant Holt scored with less than 10 seconds of the four added minutes remaining.
“I’ve just got a belief that the lads have a great desire and spirit to go to the last kick of the ball,” he said. “It’s not luck, that’s for sure. It’s definitely not. I think it comes from within the individual and it comes collectively. They’ve got a terrific never-say-die attitude – that can take you a long, long way.
“Grant deserved the goal, the amount of chances he had. Sometimes when you see the whites of the goalkeeper’s eyes it’s not as easy as a lot of people think but his goal was excellent.”
The City boss tried to play down just how big a team effort the winning goal was after chief executive David McNally, in the directors’ box, and Lambert both helped get the ball back in play quickly as City waited to take a throw-in.
“It’s nothing to do with me throwing it or anything like that whatsoever, so I don’t want anyone to bring that up. It’s got nothing to do with me. It’s the players that do it,” he said.
Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici won praise from Lambert – “Without him we’d have won convincingly” – but he had no sympathy for Jem Karacan, sent off for a wild challenge on David Fox.
“It was a red rag to a bull – it was a stonewaller. You can’t go in with your foot as high as that and the lad did it to Korey Smith in the last game as well,” he said.
Lambert was too involved in the game to notice that some supporters chose to slip out of the stadium rather than wait for four minutes of stoppage time.
“Maybe they’re going to that fish and chip shop down the road,” he said. “I don’t see it, to be honest. My attention’s on the game, but the majority of people don’t leave this stadium, which is testament to the fans and to the players. I’d like to know when they last had a feeling that Norwich weren’t going to score with the last kick of the ball.”
Paul Lambert post-match