Lambert on Exeter Draw: Regionalised? It's Ludicrous, Absolutely Pathetic
Friday, 6th Dec 2019 11:42
Town boss Paul Lambert has hit out at the Blues being handed a lengthy trip to Exeter City in the regionalised draw for the third round of the Leasing.com Trophy. The draw is regionalised on a north-south basis but not east-west and the journey to St James’ Park is actually further than any of the sides still in the northern section of the competition.
It’s the third time Town have been drawn at Exeter in regionalised draws in 21 years - the League Cup is also drawn on the same basis in the early rounds - while the Blues have also been handed similarly long trips to Torquay and Shrewsbury in seasons past.
“I don’t get it, regionalised?” Lambert said when asked about Thursday night’s draw. “If that’s regionalised then dear oh dear, Glasgow’s nearer.
“I don’t get it. I think it’s a shocker, I really do. I think it’s terrible to ask fans to travel that distance in midweek. It’s ludicrous, absolutely pathetic.”
Reflecting on the game itself, which will be played in the week commencing January 6th, he says it won’t be easy with the Grecians currently fourth in League Two.
“It’s a tough game and I’ll go with the young ones again,” he confirmed. “As I’ve always said it gives them the opportunity and I’ll never know if the young kids are ready or not ready to play.
“So we have to see them, but they have to have time to develop. There’s no point them thinking they’re a ready-made footballer, they’re not.
“There’s going to be so many ups and downs and so many things to take care of, but as I said little bits that show me that I can if they can do it.”
He says there was a buzz on the coach on the way home from London Road after Wednesday's on-penalties victory over Posh.
“The lads were great,” he added. “The way they handled the whole thing and the way the club is opportunity-wise. It’s a good opportunity to be a young player here because you get a chance at it.
“And they’ve never let me down which is great, it’s only a small, small step but what they did the other night was extraordinary, they had no right to win the game and that’s a testament to ourselves.”
Does he believe his youngsters can go all the way to Wembley in the competition? “Nobody knows. As I said before, it doesn’t matter if you’re young, middle-aged or experienced.
"If you can perform and you do go and do well, then it’s great for everybody, but there’s a long way to go in that competition that’s for sure.”
While League One is very much Lambert’s priority and he has admitted he is no fan of the Leasing.com Trophy, he says he still wants to win it.
“If I played you at tiddlywinks, I’d want to beat you,” he said. “It’s not going to change, everyone wants to win something.
“There’s no greater feeling than winning something. I’ve always said that. Winning is the greatest feeling in the world. It takes over everything. It takes over money and materialistic things, winning is a great thing.”
He added: "The league is the most important. The cup games we’re going to try and win and get through them and do as well as we possibly can.
"We’re still in the cups which is great, but the league is obviously the most important thing."
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