It’s Dressing Room United at Norwich City

Paul Lambert has given a revealing insight into what makes for a happy dressing room – and how character references play an invaluable part in his recruitment policy.

The City manager says he is wary of becoming a 'social worker' with problem staff, and admits that the dressing room at the Colney training centre is the players' sanctum.

Lambert takes his side to The Den tonight where strong minds will be needed in front of a vocal home crowd, although the comeback draw against Burnley on Saturday proved the players have that in abundance.

'I have never had that feeling where I have thought they are not going to go right to the death,' said Lambert. 'It's a strange feeling – it is great for a manager to have that, when you know that lads, no matter what, will go to the well for you.

'I think if you get that it's half the battle, or collectively if they are having a hard time, touch wood, they don't capitulate, which they have never ever done. On Saturday it took big players to go and turn it around, and sure enough they did it.'

Making sure the dressing room is packed with those characters is half the battle, and Lambert's recruitment policy in the 15 months he has been at the helm has met with pretty much all-round approval.

However, all is clearly not what it seems with some players whose names have been bandied around.

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'I have had names thrown at me at this club for the best part of a year and you think, 'good players', but trying to keep reins on them wouldn't be great, I don't think. Maybe having them for a couple of months rather than a couple of years you might get away with it, but I don't see the point.

'You start to become a social worker with these type of players; you are having to see whether they're in their house at night or out in Norwich in a nightclub or something.

'There is no point in bringing bad pros to the club. There are a million and one out there that might want to come in and have an easy ride and maybe disrupt what I have got.

'The dressing room I have got is brilliant, they are a great group. I don't have any egos. A lot of them are young, but they are not bad pros or bad people.'

With a playing career that includes former European champions Borussia Dortmund and Celtic, Lambert knows the importance of a united dressing room.

'I was fortunate enough to be in some really powerful dressing rooms,' he said. 'When I was younger and growing up and the upbringing I had, I had really unbelievable dressing rooms, lads that are hardened pros and they bring you on and they play jokes on you and that sort of thing, but you have to ride it and accept it and then you become a bit more experienced yourself and then you start to do what you had done to you when you were young.

'Then you get into winning dressing rooms – I was lucky enough to play abroad where it is a different thing, but the winning mentality was huge and then you go and have great years at Celtic and some really big, strong characters.

'If you look under Martin's (O'Neill's) era we had a really strong manager and if you stepped out of line you knew you were getting it.'

The dressing room rule is code of conduct – and while Lambert rules the roost, his reluctance to interfere in certain aspects is how he builds team unity.

'I don't pop my head in the dressing room every single minute because it's their room and what they say and what goes on in there is their business,' he said. 'I just don't look for Grant (Holt).

'There are ones in my own head that I think might lift the whole thing if we're in a bit of adversity because the younger ones might need the older ones to pull them through, but again it's a collective thing; there is no point leaving everything at an older lad's door.

'The young players have got to pull together with them and to be fair they do. They get on well I think – they are a very good group.'