Norwich news

Strength of character pleases boss

July 8, 2011

Paul Lambert feels his Norwich squad will prove their doubters wrong and stay in the Premier League.

Paul Lambert
GettyImagesPaul Lambert achieved back-to-back promotions

Lambert has been quick to bolster a squad which won successive promotions up from League One, securing six additions already.

However, the likes of ex-Huddersfield winger Anthony Pilkington, Wales international Steve Morison, former Leeds midfielder Bradley Johnson and winger Elliott Bennett from Brighton are hardly household names, while young Belgian defender Ritchie de Laet, on loan from Manchester United, and ex-Everton striker James Vaughan do not possess a wealth of Premier League experience.

Lambert, though, maintains Norwich's first top-flight campaign since 2004-05 will be just as much a test of personal resilience as a severe test on the pitch.

''I am delighted with the group which I have assembled. They are not just good players, they are good characters, which is important,'' he said. ''There will be times when disappointment sets in, but as long as they stick together, we will be fine.

''It is new for everybody, but I do not think there is any fear or trepidation whatsoever. They have earned the right to play against the best teams. The new lads have settled in really well and the lads who were already here have been as good as they have been in the last two years.

''For us to try to get a foothold in the league, we will need everybody to gel together to try to perform the best they can.''

Lambert rejected suggestions a lack of top-flight experience among his squad would be a handicap.

''I don't agree with that, when people say they have never played in the Premier League before. If it was the case, then I am better not being here because I have never been in the Premier League either,'' the former Wycombe and Colchester boss said.

''I don't have any fear whatsoever. Everybody needs an opportunity to try to go and perform. The lads are hungry to do well. Let's wait and see. Time will tell.''

Lambert has almost filled his 25-man squad quota for next season, but is expected to add another defender. Norwich have been linked with a move for DR Congo international Herita Ilunga, who is keen to play in the top flight again following West Ham's relegation.

''We will try to bring someone else in, there might be one in the backline that I am looking at, but we will have to wait and see,'' Lambert said.