Striker alert for Lambert

COLCHESTER United manager Paul Lambert has revealed that he is looking to sign two strikers, not just one, in time for the new season.

Carl Marston

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United manager Paul Lambert has revealed that he is looking to sign two strikers, not just one, in time for the new season.

The U's boss also admitted that the Essex club had tried, and failed, to sign seven different strikers over the course of the summer. So far, this search has been fruitless, but the Scotsman is confident that he can still bolster his attacking line over the coming weeks.


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Lambert spoke candidly after watching his side record a 3-2 win at Tiptree in their first pre-season fixture. He was satisfied with the performance, but was looking at the bigger picture.

“I need two strikers. We've already been in for seven, and we haven't got any of them!” confirmed Lambert.

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“It's not easy. It might be that we try and get one younger striker, who is hungry to do well, and an older more experienced one. But I'm not just going to bring in a couple just for the sake of it.

“So far, we have had four players come in and three go out. But the squad is still too big, because we can't do what we did in the Championship, because we don't have the same resources.

“It's difficult, because the lads are under contract, but I need to cut the squad,” added Lambert.

Keeper Dean Gerken (to Bristol City), winger Mark Yeates (to Middlesbrough) and defender Chris Coyne (to Perth Glory) are the three recent departures from the Community Stadium. Akanni-Sunday Wasiu was also released at the end of last season.

Striker Scott Vernon turned down a chance to join Carlisle United earlier this month, while full-backs Phil Ifil and John White might be amongst those set to leave.

Shrewsbury Town hot shot Grant Holt has been the highest profile striker to be targeted by Lambert this summer, although the Shropshire club were quick to knock back the U's.

Referring to Saturday's success at Tiptree, Lambert continued: “It was a good work-out, especially after such a hard training session the previous day.

“I want the team to be playing at a high tempo next season, which means getting the fitness right and also the powers of recovery.

“You need to be able to recover quickly from a major run of games, especially when you're playing Saturday, Tuesday and then again the following Saturday.

“Last season, I felt that we weren't able to sustain this high-tempo at all times. The squad was not big enough, or good enough, so I wasn't able to give some of the lads a break when they got tired.

“If the team is winning, and the players are doing well, then the team will virtually pick itself, but I didn't have the options last year to change it when things weren't going so well.

“Steve Gillespie could have scored three or four goals. If he stays fit, he will always get the chances, and I thought Clive Platt also looked very strong and fit.

“Simon Hackney was sharp, delivering some good crosses, and Ben Williams (debutant keeper) almost saved the penalty. He's only been with us a couple of days.

“So the nucleus of the side is there. We just need a bit of help up top, and we'll be continuing to try and get some strikers in,” added Lambert.

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