No jealousy over Eriksson's riches for Norwich City boss Lambert
PUBLISHED: 15:12 08 March 2011 | UPDATED: 11:32 09 March 2011
Focus Images 2011
City boss Paul Lambert insists he would not swap places with big-spending Leicester as the two sides prepare for tonight's crunch Championship meeting at the Walkers Stadium.
The Canaries are five places and eight points ahead of Sven-Goran Eriksson’s men with 11 matches to go and, while Lambert is well aware of the financial strength provided by the Foxes’ Thai business backers, he is not envious.
“We can’t compete with that. There is no way. It’s an impossibility,” he said. “But I’m not one of these people who looks at outside influences and thinks ‘If only’ or ‘I wish I could have that’. We’re doing everything we can to give this club something back and if you ask me would I like to change positions with them, then no, because we’re above them in the table at the minute. It might change towards the end, but at the minute, no.”
Leicester have recruited a string of Premier League players on loan, including Everton striker Yakubu, Chelsea defensive pair Jeffrey Bruma and Patrick van Aanholt, Manchester City’s Ben Mee and Tottenham defender Kyle Naughton. Portuguese former international goalkeeper Ricardo is another of Eriksson’s major signings, on a free transfer.
“They’ve got a lot of good players, Leicester, and he’s a world-renowned manager,” said Lambert. “They’ve gone big on bringing people in, the new owners, so I know how hard it is – really, really tough.
“They were in the play-offs last year so you’re up against a team who just missed out and have strengthened considerably with who they’ve brought in and what they’ve done. So this is a mammoth, hard game for us. But we want to go and try to win. We don’t play another way – Leicester will know we can hurt them.”
Central defender Zak Whitbread is doubtful after lasting just 55 minutes in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Preston, suffering a bad fall on his back.
“He’ll be touch and go,” said Lambert. “It’s his back and the side of his ribs that are cause for concern. He’s been playing excellently for us so we’ve just got to see how he is.”
Rob Edwards, on loan from Blackpool, stands by for his second appearance – and first start – if Whitbread is ruled out.
Injured striker Chris Martin (hamstring) is still a few weeks away from returning, while midfielder Simon Lappin trained on Sunday for the first time since an appendix operation but is unlikely to figure tonight.
Lambert is certain his players will not be distracted by thoughts of promotion or a top six finish.
“We just go from game to game,” he said. “There are too many games still to go. It’s too far – what we’ve done is made it exciting and we’re only one or two points off second place. If you’d told me that at the start of the season, I’d have taken it.”