Lambert - I can perform at top

Saints striker certain he can perform at top level

Rickie Lambert: Confident he can perform at the top level

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Rickie Lambert is confident he can carry his goalscoring heroics into the Premier League as Southampton bid for promotion this season.

The striker was on target with his third hat-trick of the campaign on Saturday as Saints climbed above West Ham into pole position in the Championship after a 3-0 win at Watford.

That took his tally to 19 league goals this season and Lambert hopes to recreate that form should Southampton go up.

He told The Sun: "Yes, I am more than confident I can score at that level. I do understand it is going to be harder but I think I can deliver.

"I have full confidence in my ability, especially playing in this team with the attack-minded players we have. It makes it easier for me.

"There were times early in my career when I didn't think I would get the chance to play in the Premier League.

"There were some dark years where I thought it was the last place I would be so it's nice to have turned things round."

Nomination

The 30-year-old's solid form for Southampton this term has earned him a nomination for the Championship's player of the year award, along with team-mate Adam Lallana and Cardiff midfielder Peter Whittingham.

While flattered by the nod and full of praise for Lallana, Lambert insists his sole focus is helping Saints to promotion.

He added: "It's nice to get the recognition but my job is to get promotion - that is my only goal.

"I think Adam is the best player in this division. He's the best I have played with.

"Early on, I realised he was special and I think he has improved. He's brilliant, very professional and so determined to win every game."