'The best pound-for-pound signing I ever made' - Lambert on Shrewsbury reunion
- Credit: Focus Images/Steve Waller
Paul Lambert is looking forward to a reunion with former striker Aaron Wilbraham at Shrewsbury this weekend.
The Shrews’ assistant manager was signed by Lambert when he was Norwich manager in 2011, with the target man playing a part as the Canaries won promotion to the Premier League later that year.
Lambert was glowing in his praise of Wilbraham and, while hoping to disappoint him when the two sides take to the field, is looking forward to seeing his former player.
“I know big Alby there, he played under me, and was probably the best pound-for-pound signing I’ve ever made. He was absolutely brilliant,” Lambert said.
“He’s a proper man, a proper bloke and everything a manager could ask for in how he performed for me.
“I’m happy for him but hope he loses tomorrow. It will be nice to see him.
“He’s a credit to himself. He played until he was 40 and he’s a credit to himself and his family, an absolute dream to work with.”
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Wilbraham joined the Shropshire side alongside Steve Cotterill in December, taking on extra responsibility in recent weeks while Cotterill has been hospitalised with coronavirus.
“My best wishes go to Steve and I hope he recovers from this incredible virus,” Lambert said.
“They won’t have any great expectation levels on themselves. Steve knows the game but we have to go and win the game.
“They’ve picked up some good results so it will be a tough game.”
Shrewsbury have beaten Sunderland and Peterborough in recent weeks, with Cotterill still playing a central role on matchdays despite remaining in hospital.
“I am in contact with the gaffer every single day and he's had a tough week,” Wilbraham said.
“The hospital has decided to give him a three-day course of high dose steroids intravenously. They are hoping that will give him a boost so he can kick on and recover.
“He's having that done and that will hopefully send him in the right direction. He'll still be in the hospital for the rest of this week and hopefully next week he can come home. We have to wait and see how he recovers.
“It's incredible how much he's putting his body on the line for the club. Other people in his position would take time away to recover but he's not like that - he's constantly on it. He's been looking at footage of Ipswich and he's doing everything he can to help.”
On Lambert, Wilbraham said: “I know he’s a great manager, I know he’ll have them fired up, I know he has high standards.
“I know how good he is, I know he’ll get it right if he feels like things haven’t gone well.
“I know his assistant Matthew Gill from playing at Norwich, I know they are the right men in charge.
“He was one of the people who told me to get my coaching badges does back then. I remember him saying ‘I think you’ll be brilliant if you get into it’. He said football is all about trust and you are trustworthy.
“He was probably the first one to put it in my head so I thank him for that. He gave me the chance to play in the Premier League at the age of 31 when I thought my chance had passed.
“I can’t thank him enough for taking a gamble.”