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After a long journey from a beetroot factory to the top flight, the 30-year-old insists that he has no intention of letting Southampton drop back down to the Championship

Southampton striker Rickie Lambert has stressed his desire to keep the club in the Premier League ahead of this Saturday's clash with QPR at Loftus Road.

It has been a long journey to the top flight for the Liverpudlian. At 19 he was released by Blackpool, before taking on a job at a beetroot factory.

The 30-year-old slowly worked his way back into a professional football career, but it wasn't until he hit 59 goals in 139 starts for Bristol Rovers that he began to be taken seriously. That record earned him a £1 million move to Southampton in 2009, and he has since helped the Saints to two promotions in a row.

And now the target man has spoken of his desire to help his side remain in the country's top division, starting with a win over Mark Hughes' struggling Hoops on Saturday.

"[Getting to the Premier League] has been a long time coming and this might be my only season here," he told the Guardian.

"I don't want to play in any other league, even the Championship, so I'll be doing everything I can to make sure I'm in this league next season.

"My job is to score goals and that is what I will be trying to do on Saturday. We know it is a big game [against QPR], we know the circumstances of both teams, where we lie and how big three points will be for either side.

"We're still playing some fantastic attacking football and I'm fully confident we will create chances on Saturday, and for me it's about putting them away."

SAINT RICKIE
15/2 Rickie Lambert is 15/2 with Paddy Power to score first against QPR

Lambert has four goals to his name in the Premier League this term - including strikes against the two Manchester clubs - but has struggled to find the net of late.

And with Southampton leaking goals at an alarming rate, the forward admits that losing has been hard to get used to.

"We're used to winning at Southampton and all of a sudden we've hit a bad patch and are in danger of falling behind," he continued.

"We all know how important the next few games are; it's important we get the points we need.

"One clean sheet, one good display, one win can turn it back around. And that's what we're capable of, putting a few results together. It's just getting that first one."

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