Lambert seeks more goals
Rickie Lambert is hoping his strike against Fulham last weekend can be the trigger for a goalscoring run as Southampton look to continue their fine start to the season with a trip to Stoke on Saturday.
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The 31-year-old forward has scored three times for Saints this season, as well as two for England, although last week's goal against the Cottagers was only his second for the Barclays Premier League club since the opening day of the season.
It also marked his return to the starting line-up after he was a substitute for the draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford.
However, Lambert is unconcerned and he told the club's official website: "I have seen some reports but I've had that all my career. And I know that as soon as one goal goes in more seem to follow, so I'm hoping that's the case this time," he said.
"I'm also hoping that people are seeing what kind of role I'm playing because it's not the same role that I've been playing in the last few years, it's changed.
"I'm working a lot harder defensively and I hope people are seeing that, but I'm absolutely enjoying it.
"I want to score because I think that's the best way to help the team and I am trying, but I'm hoping I can go on a bit of a run now."
Southampton travel to the Britannia Stadium in pole position to improve on last season where both games ended in draws, although they snatched a last-minute equaliser in the 3-3 outcome in the Potteries after being two goals adrift and down to 10 men.
Mauricio Pochettino's side sit fifth in the table while their hosts are fourth from bottom, outside the relegation zone on goal difference alone.
Lambert recalled: "We did really well last year and we were unlucky not to win there.
"It was a great game and to be fair to them when they got on top and the fans were on top, it was a great atmosphere, so I'm hoping it's going to be a great atmosphere again on Saturday."
Of their opponents, he added: "They've changed a little bit.
"They still play to their strengths, but they try and play a little bit so we've got to go there to win.
"They were unlucky on Saturday [against Manchester United] not to win, let alone draw, and we know it's going to be a hard game so that's what we're up for, and to try and take three points.
"We're not really focused on what anyone else thinks or what usually happens.
"We're just going to go about it in our own way and we're not thinking about where we're going to finish, we're just thinking about Saturday, that's all we're doing and hopefully we'll take three points from there."
While Pochettino on Thursday was adamant his side would not be distracted by the attention they are now receiving, on Friday he turned his attention to the effect it would have when Dani Osvaldo and Steven Davis return to full fitness in the near future.
Club record signing Osvaldo missed last weekend's win with a nerve issue down his side while Davis was unavailable due to a knock, and the pair will be assessed ahead of the match.
"It's a good problem to have," he told reporters.
"In the game against Fulham, the players that did come out played as a team and we got the win - that's the most important factor.
"It just shows me that the 23, 24 players that I have available all play for this team and do well for this team. Then it's just down to me as the manager to make the decisions of what players will actually be starting."
Of Osvaldo, he added: "I think this is the best league, the toughest, the most competitive, and especially for strikers I think the period of adapting to this league is quite difficult. He is still in the process of adapting.