Norwich City wingers give Lambert more options

Norwich City boss Paul Lambert believes wingers Anthony Pilkington and Elliott Bennett have given his side 'another dimension' this season.

Lambert sprung a surprise against Stoke City on Sunday by deviating from the diamond midfield system, which has served him so well during the club's successive promotions.

Six changes were made from the side that started at Wigan but it was the inclusions of Pilkington and Bennett, which had the most impact.

The wing duo hugged their respective touchlines and provided an outlet ball for their team-mates, giving Robert Huth and Marc Wilson uncomfortable afternoons.

And Lambert believes having two genuine wide men within his ranks has given him a different option this season.

'I didn't think we could keep playing the diamond system,' he said.

'Teams work that out and they can hurt you down the sides.

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'Elliott and Anthony coming in gives us another option to try and stretch the game and I thought the two lads were excellent.

'Pilkington, coming back from a bad injury, was excellent, and Elliott was very good down the right hand side and if you get the ball in the box then hopefully we've got strikers that can cause trouble.

'It's just another dimension – I don't think you can be one dimensional in the modern day game.

'We changed the system because we thought as a coaching staff that we had to change.'

John Ruddy also seemed to come of age against Stoke, perhaps finally laying to rest the ghost of Fraser Forster, who several fans were desperate to see Lambert bring back to the club this summer.

Apart from the penalty save, Ruddy also commanded his penalty area with the kind of assurance befitting a Premier League goalkeeper.

'That's his job to save it and it was a brilliant save – I thought his general all-round game was excellent,' added Lambert. 'He has been brilliant for me since the time he has been here. I'm sure that will help him a great deal.

'He had no chance for the goal but his general game was excellent.'

Being one of only four regular first team English goalkeepers in the top-flight Ruddy's name may even pass the lips of Fabio Capello before the season is out.

However, as long as he is playing well for Norwich it is not an issue that concerns Lambert.

'The lad is doing really fine at the minute – it's not my job to say whether he is good enough for the national team,' he said. 'It's up to each respective manager who they want to pick.

'As long as he keeps the ball out for Norwich then I don't care whether he's English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish.'

Meanwhile, Lambert has the task of negotiating City's way past MK Dons this evening in the second round of the Carling Cup.

Steve Morison is unlikely to be risked after failing a fitness test at the weekend on a groin injury he picked up during training.

'We will see how he is this morning – he did his groin on Friday.

'We left it until Saturday to see how he was but I took the decision out of his hands and said if he played and broke down after five minutes then we would have to make a substitute that I never really wanted to make.

'I think the league is too big to carry anyone with little knocks.'

Lambert offered progress reports on Elliott Ward and James Vaughan and while he insists the two are coming along nicely in their rehabilitation from knee injuries, he will have to wait until after the international break before they come into his first team thinking.

'No, Wardy won't be back – he's doing ok but tomorrow and Saturday is far too early,' he said. 'The international break might help him to give him a couple more weeks but hopefully he will be ok shortly.

'He's (Vaughan) doing great, he is not too far away and he's doing really fine. Chelsea will be too early for him as well but the international break will help him.'

By then Lambert hopes to have offloaded several members of his squad that are surplus to requirements.

Cody MacDonald has interested several Championship clubs while Stephen Hughes is being courted by SPL sides but no firm bids have been placed recently.

'There's bits of interest there but nothing concrete has come back. It's as it was a couple of weeks ago.

'It's up to the clubs that want them to try and get them. I've left it with their agents and it's up to them to try and do something.'