Norwich City boss Lambert hails Lappin

Paul Lambert looks likely to stick with what he's got after confirming that Andrew Surman is expected to be out for at least two months following a knee injury sustained in training last week.

While Lambert brought central defender Leon Barnett in on loan to cover for Michael Nelson, who faces a similar period out with an ankle injury, he has played down the likelihood of another foray into the market.

'You never say never that's for sure, but I wouldn't go and spend money that is not there,' he said. 'We can only do what we can do.'

The presence of Simon Lappin, in whom Lambert put so much faith last season, lessens the fall-out, but Surman's absence has done nothing to help the early planning.

'He's been brilliant,' said Lambert. 'It's a blow, but Simon Lappin came in for his first game and I thought he was excellent. You just have to get on with it.'

The other big-name absentee from Saturday was goalkeeper John Ruddy, who suffered a dead leg in training, although he could be fit for the trip to Doncaster tomorrow.

'We tried him on Friday and it just wasn't there,' Lambert said.

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It may have been a bad week on the training field, but there was only one slip-up on the pitch on Saturday – and City recovered well enough to claim their third win in the last four Championship games to sit right on the edge of the top six, on identical stats as the team 'above' them, Leeds.

The slip-up was the goal that Barnsley scored on the stroke of half-time when Jay McEveley headed home, having slipped his marker to make a mockery of City's dominance. But the introduction of substitute Anthony McNamee helped swing the game City's way, and after the winger forced an own goal out of Stephen Foster, he was then involved in Chris Martin's winner 10 minutes from time.

'I think we were on the ascendancy anyway,' said Lambert. 'I thought we just needed that bit of spark, which he provided. Macca is what you see – when he gets the ball he gets people off their seats. It was terrific for the goal and made things happen when he came on.

'It was a terrific ball. The one thing about Macca is he can cross it with either foot and when he gets a run at you in a one v one, because of the way he plays the game he is very hard to mark, especially in the last third of the pitch.

'The second goal I think was worthy of winning any game. It was brilliant.I say it every single week, but he certainly knows where the goal is. If there is a situation there where you want the ball to fall to, it would be him because he knows right where to put it. He is an absolutely brilliant finisher.'

It was Martin's first goal of the season, not that Lambert was ever concerned about a 'lean spell'.

'I don't think so because his performances have been terrific,' he said. 'He nearly had a couple up at Forest. I never worry about Chris Martin. He is as confident as the day is long so I don't have a problem with his lack of confidence.'

Martin was, perhaps, at fault for Barnsley's goal, although Lambert wasn't revealing who was supposed to mark who.

'Nobody's picked him up and everybody knows who to pick up at set pieces,' he said. 'We man mark as everybody knows so if your man scores ...'

But the aberration will be forgotten when Lambert looks at the table to see City tucked nicely in sixth spot, with 10 points from five games and showing the same hunger that brought them success last season.

'I thought we were terrific from the off, I thought we had a lot of the ball, a lot of the game and we had a right few chances to get the goal,' he said. 'We took a setback right at half-time, but an absolutely terrific response, brilliant.

'We have a got a great desire to try and win games and I have a great belief in the lads to turn it around. There is an element, just a small element, of luck, but it is not just luck the way they keep going. They give me everything they have got in their body and that's all I can ever ask.

'The ability is always there, that will never leave them - it's the mental part and trying to get them to feel good about themselves and have a desire not to get beat and again they came up brilliant.'

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