Southampton’s Rickie Lambert relishes prospect of reunion with Norwich City’s Grant Holt
Rickie Lambert admits the Premier League felt a million miles away when he partnered Grant Holt at Rochdale in League Two.
The Southampton striker has now emulated the City skipper's personal achievement in reaching the top flight with the Saints, after a spell together at Spotland where the duo plundered 59 league goals between them in less than two seasons.
'We were more worried about staying in the Football League than thinking about playing in the top flight one day,' he said. 'But it's nice to see how Grant's career has gone, and I'll certainly be speaking to him.
'We text each other now and again, and he's given me quite a bit of advice over the past two years. I really enjoyed my time with Rochdale because I'd come off a bad spell at Stockport. My strike partner was Grant, and we hit it off almost straight away. Since then our career paths have kind of been the same.
'I'm just so happy with how his career has gone in the last few seasons, and the way he's done in the Premier League is just brilliant to see. Perhaps we appreciate it more than most because of the paths that we have taken – I know for a fact that I appreciate where I am now.'
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Lambert expects to be fit to face the Canaries after being withdraw with a leg injury in the weekend's impressive 2-0 Premier League home win over Newcastle.
'I've always had belief we would get results,' he told the club's official site. 'Some of our performances earlier in the season were good, but mistakes have cost us. It felt so good to finally get some wins, and hopefully we can push on now. It'd be massive if we could get three wins in a row. There are a lot of teams close together, so back-to-back wins take you up a long way.'
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Current Bradford assistant boss and ex-Rochdale chief Steve Parkin was the manager who brought the deadly duo together in 2005.
'No one is prouder than me to see what they have accomplished, and the way in which they have done it,' he said. 'I am really pleased for them both and they are really good lads as well. Sometimes they have dragged teams along with the ability they have got, and it is really nice for them to have made it to the top. They both deserve it.'