Lambert prepares to bolster his squad

Paul Lambert says he will almost certainly have to raid the transfer market in January.

The Canaries boss is working under financial constraints that, he says, won't allow City to compete with many of their Championship rivals.

But he says he hopes to give his squad 'a helping hand' when the transfer window opens.

Centre-half Leon Barnett – on loan from Premier League West Brom until January– will be on his shopping list, but Lambert admits he has to plays his cards carefully.

'There are things in my head, but a lot is dictated by the finances what we can do and what we can't and we just have to see what comes available, if anything does,' he said.

'The club I am sure will help if they can but we don't have the resources to go and compete with a lot of the ones that can maybe do it and if I think somebody can come and give us a hand I will try and do it.'

Lambert has half a dozen senior players still out injured and missed Andrew Crofts through suspension in midweek – a reminder that it is unlikely he will be unable to sit back and watch come January.

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'I don't think we can, no,' he said. 'We are going to need a hand. There are too many games.

'You look at what's happening now – seven out at one time through injury or suspension. It's too severe. The team we played the other night it was alien.'

Transfer speculation will increase as January approaches – one newspaper claimed City were one of three teams interested in Hearts' Scotland Under-21 winger David Templeton, although the EDP understands he is not on Lambert's list – with Barnett's name an obvious candidate.

'He is definitely one,' said Lambert. 'He's been absolutely brilliant for us, a really top pro and a top player. He has brought out the best in Wardy (Elliott Ward) and I think vice versa.

'I think the two of them have been colossal for us, I thought the two of them the other night were brilliant, along with Simon (Lappin) and Russell (Martin).

'They are a major cornerstone because they are right in your defence line – but again a lot depends on West Brom.'

Lambert has midfielder Crofts, sent off in the home draw against Burnley a week ago, available for today's trip to Reading, although he resumes on four bookings.

'He knows himself he has to be careful, but at the same time you can't curtail his enthusiasm for the game which has put him on a platform where he is performing fantastic at the minute,' said Lambert.

It's still too early for the injured players, although centre-half Michael Nelson is back in training and Adam Drury and Andrew Surman could be joining him next week.

The art is to ensure they are brought back at the right time.

'Sometimes I might need to throw them in and hopefully they will be ready,' said Lambert. 'I have to call it and I take responsibility for what happens to them because I know the lads will be desperate to play. It is whether I decide to play them.'