Lambert prepares to beat the snow
Chris LakeyIt will be business as usual for Paul Lambert this morning - but he can almost certainly forget about making further inroads into the gap between City and leaders Leeds until the weekend. City are due to face Walsall tomorrow evening, but the west Midland team have arranged a pitch inspection for this morning - and all the signs point to another postponement.Chris Lakey
It will be business as usual for Paul Lambert this morning - but he can almost certainly forget about making further inroads into the gap between City and leaders Leeds until the weekend.
City are due to face Walsall tomorrow evening, but the west Midland team have arranged a pitch inspection for this morning - and all the signs point to another postponement.
While that's the assumption, the reality is different.
'You have to prepare as if it is going to go ahead,' said the City manager.
'It is maybe highly unlikely it will go on - there are Premiership games being called off - but we have to prepare as if it is on.'
Should there be a meteorological miracle in the west Midlands, City could find themselves within three points of the leaders, who could only draw at home to Lambert's old club Wycombe on Saturday as City were seeing off a stubborn Exeter side at Carrow Road - enough to shave another two points off the Yorkshiremen's lead.
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It wasn't as easy as the 3-1 scoreline might suggest, but for the ninth time in a row at Carrow Road, City came out on top - bettering the start to the 2003-04 season when Nigel Worthington's team went on to win the old First Division title.
Do it one more time and they equal a club record set in 1985/86.
'The lads have been terrific for me, really, really good and its never easy to win home games when you've got the crowd driving you on every time,' he said.
'I know exactly what it's like, when you hear some fans grumbling that we can't get the ball, but you've got to give Exeter credit, or any team that comes here.
'They have raised expectancy levels and the crowd are fantastic, there's no two ways about it, they're a credit to their football club.'
Instead of looking down, City are now looking up, although Lambert was keen to keep 25,000 pairs of feet on the ground.
'They are still a wee bit of a distance away, but as I said after the Wycombe game, all we can try and do is eat away at the lead,' he said.
'Leeds are a really good side. One week they go to Old Trafford and beat one of the best teams in world football and then Wycombe go up there and get a fantastic result.
'They've got a few points ahead of everybody, but we're edging there.'
Exeter didn't allow City to have things all their own way, enjoying some good spells in the second half but unable to match the firepower Lambert has at his disposal, with Grant Holt, two, and Chris Martin sealing the win.
'Delighted to win,' said Lambert. 'It keeps it going and we're playing really well. I think we deserved to win the game.
'We didn't play as well as we have been, but I can't ask any more from the players, they have been absolutely brilliant. But we can't play brilliantly every single game.
'It shows you there's a bit of resilience there, and a bit of hunger and a bit of drive to win football matches.
'We were dropping off too deep for a spell, for about 10, 12 minutes, and we got the second goal and you think you're there, but football's like that, sometimes you get a knock-back with a goal against us.
'To be fair to Exeter they came out with two lads up front and gave us a game, but we are trying to do something here. Winning is not an easy thing to do, but it keeps it going, it's another three points.'
Lambert gave new signing Oli Johnson a brief run-out at the end, and the young striker almost came up with a goal after a lovely run and shot in the area.
'He was excellent,' said Lambert.
'He's an unknown quantity for a lot of people, but he could have a massive career in the game if he keeps on learning and keeps on working hard.
'He will do fine for us.'