Lambert hits out at Wycombe boss

COLCHESTER United manager Paul Lambert has been stung by recent criticism from Peter Taylor, in connection with the U's recent approach for defender Mike Williamson.

Carl Marston

Lambert hits out at

Wycombe's Taylor

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United manager Paul Lambert has been stung by recent criticism from Peter Taylor, in connection with the U's recent approach for defender Mike Williamson.

Wycombe Wanderers boss Taylor questioned how much Lambert rated his star centre-half, following the U's six-figure bid for the Chairboys player at the start of this week.

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An angry Lambert hit out at Taylor's cynicism yesterday, insisting that he knew just how much Williamson was worth, but did the Wycombe boss?

“Peter (Taylor) has questioned how highly I rated Mike Williamson. But I had him at Wycombe for two years when I was there,” insisted Lambert.

“And yet Peter Taylor tried to get rid of him (Williamson) to Southend at the start of the season!

“I know Mike Williamson better than Peter Taylor, so I don't need him (Taylor) to tell me how highly I rate Mike. I know what he's like.

“He was terrific for me when I was at Wycombe. He suffered a cruciate knee injury at an away game at Mansfield (February. 2007), which took him a while to recover from, but he came back strongly,” added Lambert.

The U's renewed their interest in Williamson on Monday, having had an initial six-figure bid turned down for the highly-rated 25-year-old in the autumn.

League Two leaders Wycombe dismissed the bid as the same as last November, and immediately rejected the offer. It is believed that the bid was around the �100,000 mark.

Taylor had said: “It wasn't enough first time and it still isn't.

“I must admit I was surprised. I was expecting another offer but I never expected it to be exactly the same. Needless to say we turned it down.

“Coming in with the same offer a month later is not going to make us think any differently. It wasn't enough first time and it still isn't. We want to keep Mike for our promotion campaign.

“If I was the player I would be asking myself, how much do they really rate me?” added Taylor.

It is this last remark that has angered Lambert, especially with the U's boss suggesting that Taylor himself had been keen to off-load Williamson last summer.

The chances are that former Torquay trainee Williamson will leave Adams Park during this month's transfer window, because he has so far refused to sign a new contract. His current deal expires this summer, at which point he would be available on a free transfer.

Championship clubs Birmingham City, Watford and Charlton have all been linked with him, and Taylor has admitted: “If we get an unbelievable offer for Mike in January, we will have to think about it, but I want him to stay here and help us get promotion.”

Meanwhile, Lambert insists that he is not worried about the U's recent practice of publicising their bids for players on the club's website.

Just 24 hours after news of the U's interest in Williamson, it was revealed that the Essex club had also lodged a �100,000 bid for Hibernian centre-half Rob Jones.

The Scottish Premier League club were incensed that this bid was made public. In fact, they are threatening to report the U's to the Football League and the Football Association.

“I don't mind these bids being made public. Other teams do it to us as well,” said Lambert.

“Sometimes you just have to go with it, and sometimes people will have a go at you.

“With regards Rob Jones, Steve Bradshaw (U's chief executive) has said that we received nothing from Hibernian saying that they had turned down the offer. We went through the right channels.

“I am trying to strengthen the squad this month, not just at centre-half but all over the pitch. I'm trying to get in other lads as well as the two that have been mentioned,” concluded Lambert.

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