Angry boss ready to wield the axe

COLCHESTER United boss Paul Lambert has insisted that he “never once said” that his team would reach the League One play-offs this season.

Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United boss Paul Lambert has insisted that he “never once said” that his team would reach the League One play-offs this season.

But that didn't stop the Scotsman from blowing-his-top after a woefully below-par display against relegation-haunted Brighton on Easter Monday.

And Lambert is looking for a big response against even more lowly opposition, in the shape of bottom club Hereford United, this afternoon.

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The U's supremo will not be making many changes for this trip to Edgar Street, following the depressing 1-0 home defeat at the hands of the Seagulls. But that's due more to the fact that he is lacking in options, rather than any great desire to stick with the same team.

Injuries continue to sideline Paul Reid, Johnnie Jackson, Steven Gillespie, David Perkins and Karl Hawley, while Clive Platt is unavailable due to family issues and Lewis Gobern is also an injury concern.

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“Last Monday was as angry as I've been since coming to the club,” confessed Lambert, who was appointed the U's boss in mid-October.

“But it didn't really tell me anything that I didn't know, because I've known some time who I want to bring into the club, and I've got a good idea of who is going.

“Possibly some players have not taken their chance. Certainly even when we were going on our good run (one defeat in 13 league games) to be up there hovering about the play-offs, I still wasn't sure that we were good enough to make it.

“We were not good enough to sustain it (push for the play-offs). Perhaps that run only papered over the cracks.

“I never once said that we WOULD get into the play-offs,” added Lambert.

The U's boss revealed his intentions, after last weekend's 2-1 defeat at Leyton Orient, that he wanted to bring in several new players over the summer. And not just one or two!

That means a flurry of ins and outs at the Community Stadium this summer.

“I'll be telling the players very shortly who I want to go; not yet, but soon,” said Lambert.

“The buck stops with me, and if I was a fan then I would have had the same reaction as the rest of them on Easter Monday. It hurt me.

“I haven't brought that many new players in since I've been here. I've signed a few loan players, but not many on permanent deals. It's up to me to bring some in this summer.

“Robbie Cowling (the chairman) will be giving me a hand. It's unbelievable what he has done for this club. He's been terrific, and I think that comparisons with Steve Gibson (chairman) at Middlesbrough are not far off the mark!

“Robbie has been very supportive and will work to get these new players in,” added Lambert.

Ex-Wycombe boss Lambert is also not a fan of those players who tend to sit-back and relax after signing a new deal.

He continued: “Some people seem to see success as getting a two or three year contract, but that's not my idea of success.

“Instead, success means winning something, to make a club successful. I don't want to be sitting here with us in mid-table.

“The club was not good enough to stay in the Championship (2007-08), and it hasn't been good enough to win promotion this season.

“We have three games left, and we then want to build up towards next season. My team selection won't tell you a great deal, because we don't really have too many youngsters who can come in.

“I would pick them if I thought that they were ready, but they are not,” added Lambert, who watched a youthful U's Reserves team lose 3-1 to Wycombe's second string at Marlow FC on Wednesday.

In addition to Reid and Jackson, midfielder Perkins is set to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, while Gillespie is also struggling to make a return after ankle problems.

Front-runner Karl Hawley has also played his last game for the U's. The loanee will return to his parent club Preston this weekend, after missing the last two games through injury. He will not figure at Hereford.

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