Lambert looks forward to Colney comforts

Chris LakeyPaul Lambert will look forward to a week working on the pristine training pitches of Colney after admitting that the events of the past couple of weeks took their toll on his players on Saturday.Chris Lakey

Paul Lambert will look forward to a week working on the pristine training pitches of Colney after admitting that the events of the past couple of weeks took their toll on his players on Saturday.

The Canaries racked up a club record 11th successive home win by beating Hartlepool 2-1, but it was hardly the tale of the tape against a side that came with the odds stacked against them - and were never very far from causing an upset.

'I knew it would be tough considering the week we've had, so I'm delighted with them,' Lambert said.

'I'll take one performance in whatever it is - you can't play well every time and you have got to give Hartlepool credit, they came here and played really, really well.

'We have had a really tough week with the Brentford game and going away to Walsall on a heavy pitch and coming again.

'And expectancy levels are on us again to win another game - it's tough, but I am delighted with them.'

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Two weeks ago City were winning 5-0 on a bog of a pitch at Colchester, last weekend they played 50 minutes without only 10 men after leading scorer Grant Holt was sent off, and on Tuesday had to claw their way to victory on the gluepot of a pitch at Walsall.

Three games, nine points - and Lambert has discovered something about his players as well.

'There is no doubt it takes its toll,' he said.

'The great thing about it is the football we've played since we have been here has been absolutely terrific, and sometimes these games tell you a bit more about people, what they are really like, to see games through, and that's what it showed.

'When things are not going the way they have been for the last few months you sometimes have to grind out a result - and they are every bit as important as if you are winning 5-0 or whatever the case may be.

'They know where they are in the league, they know exactly what is going on around and about them.

'They can be proud of what they have done, they have been terrific.

'It's not easy when the demand is on you to win every single week, it is not an easy thing to do.

'People on the outside looking in might think, 'they'll do this and do this and do this' - it doesn't work that way.

'You have to give other teams a lot of credit for the way they play. Nobody is going to give us anything on a plate so I think the lads' efforts since we have come in have been extraordinary.'

City's record breaking game was watched by the biggest crowd of the season - 25,506 - which was better than four Premier League crowds and was beaten in the Football League only by the Derby v Forest derby and Leicester v Newcastle.

'It's brilliant,' said Lambert. 'When was the last time - 1985 or something? So the group of lads, what they've done will go down in a wee bit of history hopefully for them and they deserve it, they deserve everything that has come their way.

'The turnaround from the lads has been extraordinary.

'I never really sit back and think what they've done because you expect them to keep churning out results and they keep on doing it.'

It needed Cody McDonald's third goal in a week - after his winner at Walsall and a reserve team strike at Stevenage on Wednesday - to draw City level just 63 seconds after Neil Austin had put the visitors ahead with a stunning strike from outside the area, before debutant Michael Rose grabbed the winner five minutes later with a fierce shot of his own.

'It was a terrific ball from Russell (Martin) and it's a terrific header (by McDonald).

'It puts you on the front foot again and galvanises you and the second goal was great, it settles us down a little bit, albeit Hartlepool were well in the game.

'It probably gave us a jolt really. They came here and showed they are a decent side so the goal was disappointing and then we had to kick on.

'I think the response was great going up the park and scoring soon after and then Michael coming up with the second goal.

'He (McDonald) hasn't played much football, and tiredness will have crept in, there's no doubt about it, but his contribution in the last two games has been huge.'