Lambert proud of his golden nuggets

Marc Tierney has the stamp of a Paul Lambert player written all over him.

He's 25 years old, he's known to the City manager from a previous association where he was marked 'hungry' – and he's from the lower leagues.

Lambert has made an art form out of picking up bargains from Leagues One and Two, players whose names don't immediately trip off the tongue - and turning them into Championship class.

Russell Martin plied his trade in the lower leagues and when he reached the Championship with Peterborough, found himself unloved – Lambert stepped in to sign a player who he had under his wing at Wycombe.

David Fox was with Lambert at Colchester – now he's regular member of his midfield.

Andrew Crofts came from Brighton, a virtual unknown, but now a leading candidate to be named Player of the Season

All have proved that it's not who you are, it's what you do.

Most Read

'Obviously I knew Marc and a lot of the lads have come from the lower leagues,' said Lambert. 'But the great thing about them is they are hungry to do really well, plus they can play the game.

'Sometimes you might just need to give somebody an opportunity. If you don't give them the opportunity you will never ever learn. I am all for giving people an opportunity – you won't get every one right.

'In Russell Martin's case he did great for me at Wycombe and then went to Peterborough and did well there and then he goes up to the Championship and then because they didn't really have a good time up there people think he has failed, so people are reluctant to take a chance. Sometimes when you bring somebody to a bigger club or with better players round and about them their game tends to pick up – that's what has happened to him.

'Crofts – I think he's been a revelation here from what he's done, coming from Brighton. I know a lot of people gave him stick before he even came here, so you are being judgmental without actually seeing somebody because he's not a big name. Well Norwich have signed big names in the past and they did absolutely nothing.

'A name doesn't mean anything, neither does a reputation. It doesn't mean a thing. But they are making names for themselves. Plus, I think they have got the club at heart.

'Norwich City have signed players with names and they have come and couldn't wait to get out of the building quickly enough when they got relegated, so something tells you somewhere something was wrong.'

The wrongs are being righted, and Lambert believes there are more little gems to be discovered in the lower leagues of the domestic game.

'I do – I think there are definitely lads out there that need an opportunity or a bit of luck to fall their way so that they do get an opportunity to go and do it. You just have to go and see and watch with your own eyes to see if there are one or two out there.

'I think it is being dismissive to them that they can't do it.'

Tierney looks set to retain his place at left-back for tonight's home game against Bristol City, when a win would take City into second, three points clear of Swansea.

City are coming off the back of a fine 3-2 win at Leicester last Tuesday – and will be hoping not to make it three draws on the trot in front of their own fans.

With 10 games remaining, City's tally of 63 points is made up of 32 from Carrow Road, 31 from their travels, but Lambert doesn't believe City are a better side away from home.

'No, I don't,' he said. 'I just think it's the same. We have a lot of ball at home, but teams make it really tough, because sometimes they sit in more deeper than a lot of teams when they are away from home. The onus is always on the home team to win.

'It's easy to stand on the sideline and think, 'why has he not done that or done this', it is a different ball game when somebody is trying to kick you and not let you do what you want to do with a football. What you see from your eye view will be totally different from what I see of it, of being an ex footballer.

'When you are on the field of play the ball moves at 100mph, people trying to kick you - they are not going to let you do what you want, it doesn't matter who you are playing against.'