Flexibility is the key for Norwich boss Lambert
Flexibility is the buzzword for Paul Lambert ahead of today's latest friendly test at former Championship rivals Coventry (3pm kick-off).
The Norwich City boss temporarily abandoned the midfield diamond formation which has helped carry City to successive promotions for the midweek draw at Southend. Steve Morison was deployed as a lone frontman from the off at Roots Hall with Bradley Johnson and David Fox sitting in front of the back four.
Lambert changed all ten outfield players for the second period, but persisted with the new look formation which also saw Russell Martin operate in an unaccustomed central defensive role.
The City chief is confident he now has the personnel at his disposal to keep the rest of the Premier League guessing when the real action begins next month.
'I just wanted to try something different and the lads have to try and adapt to certain things,' he said. 'They're aspects we have to work on, of course, but there were aspects I was pleased with and others I wasn't – but I was delighted with the work ethic. We don't have a lot of time to really bed a system in, a new system, and try to make it work.
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'The lads know how we have played last two years. They are the most important people at the club and it's up to them to adapt.
'Playing him (Russell) there wouldn't be my preferred choice, but we just want to experiment a little bit. Pre-season is a bit of a false dawn because you are chopping and changing all the time and you lose that little bit of competitive edge. I know because I've been involved myself.'
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Lambert believes today's trip to the Ricoh followed by high profile Carrow Road friendlies against continental opposition marks a sea change in the club's preparations for the opening day trip to Wigan on August 13.
'We will step it up against Coventry, and then when we play Zaragoza and Parma, it goes up another level,' he said. 'However, it is going to be irrelevant what happens. It is the Wigan game we have to be ready for and I am pretty sure once it starts for real, the football will become a different breed.
'I never read too much into pre-season, that is not my concern. My concern is the lads don't get injured and they are fit for that first game, and I know when the team goes out at Wigan, then that is the time to judge. We are experimenting with certain things, different formations and personnel.'
City travel to the Midlands minus injured trio Elliott Ward, James Vaughan and Anthony Pilkington. Lambert also trimmed his senior squad earlier this week with the permanent departure of Owain Tudur Jones and a short term Yeovil loan deal for highly-rated England youth keeper Jed Steer.
'He's initially away for three months, which I think will be brilliant for him,' said Lambert. 'He is a really good goalkeeper and he will benefit greatly from going there. He is too old for the youths, but he is too good for that now as well.
'He needs to go and play league football and under Terry (Skiverton) he'll do great. Yeovil and ourselves seem to have a little bit of a relationship there and I know he will be looked after and I think it's a great chance.'
Tudur Jones also had two spells at Huish Park during his Norwich career but has agreed a deal with SPL club Inverness.
'I wish him all the best,' said Lambert. 'He is terrific lad and he is in the same category as Michael Nelson and Gilly (Matthew Gill).
'Three really good lads but the nature of the game is that you try to improve your squad, but as a person and being around the place he was never a problem.'