Lambert wins January prize
Rickie Lambert has wrestled the PFA Fans' League One Player of the Month crown from Jermaine Beckford.
Last Updated: 03/02/10 2:19pm
Rickie Lambert is the man to finally wrestle the PFA Fans' League One Player of the Month crown away from Jermaine Beckford.
The Southampton striker, who has been in prolific form for the Saints this season, wins the January award after beating off three candidates from Leeds who had previously swept the board.
A hat-trick for Beckford and one for Robert Snodgrass means the PFA Fans' Player of the Month award was used to heading to Yorkshire but there is no denying Lambert is a worthy winner
The former Blackpool, Macclesfield, Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers man arrived at St Mary's Stadium for a fee in excess of £1m in August and has quickly fired the Saints out of the relegation zone after their ten-point close season deduction.
On his arrival in August, manager Alan Pardew said that he expected Lambert to deliver the goods and he won't have subsequently been disappointed with what he has seen.
"I feel he is the player that can get us out of this division," said Pardew at the time. "For the last two years, he has been prolific in League One and we want him to continue that. He's what I would call a marquee signing."
And after a two-goal salvo against Tranmere last year, Pardew admitted the ferocity of Lambert's shooting had blown him away.
"I don't think I've ever seen anyone hit a ball harder than Rickie," said Pardew. "He does practice in training but he's just a natural clean and hard striker of a football."
However, it was a different story for Lambert when he arrived at Rochdale after spells at Blackpool, Macclesfield and Stockport. He was renowned as a midfielder but it was former Dale manager Steve Parkin who set him on the road to being a target man.
"Steve transformed my career -- I'm just gutted I didn't start out as a striker," said Lambert. "I felt I wasted a couple of seasons when I could have been scoring goals."
Bristol Rovers boss Paul Trollope is also fully aware of Lambert's qualities and he eulogised about the striker who notched 59 goals for the Pirates before the two sides met this season.
"He gave us good service and scored some great and important goals to help our progress over the past few years," Trollope said.
"He's still banging the goals in and he's a threat from set-pieces in and around the box, which we have to be very aware of."
With 23 goals this season, including crucial ones during January, it is nice to see Lambert is finally getting the recognition he deserves.