Lambert takes first award in his stride

IT TOOK Paul Lambert just three full months in charge at ever-improving Colchester United to scoop his first ever manager-of-the-month award.

Carl Marston

IT TOOK Paul Lambert just three full months in charge at ever-improving Colchester United to scoop his first ever manager-of-the-month award.

Lambert was yesterday named the League One manager-of-the-month for January, on the back of an impressive three wins and two draws from five fixtures.

It is a marvellous achievement for the Scotsman, who only took over the managerial reins at the Community Stadium in mid-October, at which point the U's were wallowing in the relegation zone.

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Now the U's are up to 11th spot, just seven points adrift of the play-offs, and they will leapfrog into the top 10 if they can beat visiting Stockport County tomorrow.

Surprisingly, although Lambert enjoyed two successful seasons at his former club Wycombe Wanderers, taking them on a memorable FA Cup run and also to the League Two play-offs, he never won a manager-of-the-month award during his time at Adams Park.

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But it hasn't taken him long to break his duck with the U's. He was short-listed for the December accolade, only to miss out to Leicester City's Nigel Pearson, but this time he pipped Pearson to the January title. Scunthorpe's Nigel Adkins and Paul Trollope, of Bristol Rovers, were also on the shortlist.

“I've never been one for personal accolades. It's the team that is the most important,” insisted a modest Lambert. “The players have been nothing short of brilliant, and so have the fans.

“Ian Culverhouse (assistant) has also been a major guy. I trust him 100%.

“I had some great times at Wycombe, but I never won the manager-of-the-month with them. I was nominated a couple of times, but always missed out.

“So this is my first time. The players and the fans are the most important people at any club, and that's what has happened here. The new lads coming in have helped, especially as they have all gelled very quickly,” added Lambert.

U's striker Clive Platt paid his own tribute to Lambert, on behalf of the team.

Platt said: “The gaffer thoroughly deserves this award. He might say that it's down to us, as the players, but as always there is a lot of give and take.

“We would not be where we are now, without him (Lambert) at the helm. But we also have to get behind him to make it work,” added Platt.

Target man Platt will return to the squad this weekend, after missing the 2-0 win at Carlisle through suspension, but it's midfielder Kem Izzet's turn to serve a one-match ban against Stockport, as punishment for accruing five bookings.

The trio of Steve Gillespie (hamstring), Johnnie Jackson (shoulder) and Chris Coyne (knee) all remain on the sidelines, although Coyne has been back training and Gillespie is hoping to start again next week.

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