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Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Friday, 13 February 2009

Family affair for Lampards

By Simon Austin

Frank Lampard and his father Frank Lampard Snr
Frank Lampard won the 2007 FA Cup; his dad triumphed in 1975 and 1980

Frank Lampard Sr has spent the last week plotting how to dump his son out of the FA Cup.

As football consultant at Watford, the 58-year-old has been helping to prepare the Championship side for the visit of the England midfielder's Chelsea on Saturday.

Yet part of Lampard Sr would also love to see his son score the winner before wheeling away and raising his eyes to the heavens in tribute to his late mother Pat, who died suddenly from pneumonia last April.

"I'm sure Pat will be watching and she'll be supporting Chelsea and Frank, there's no doubt about that," Lampard Sr told BBC Sport.

"She would have really looked forward to this match and I think it will be a homage to her."

Lampard Sr relishing family affair

Lampard's involvement with Watford's young manager, Brendan Rodgers, began shortly after Pat died last year at the age of 58.

"Frank and John Terry had often talked about this excellent reserve-team coach at Chelsea, but I'd never met him," he said.

"We finally came face-to-face one Sunday morning at a Chelsea training session and hit it off straight away.

"Brendan asked me if I wanted to do an odd session with the reserves and I thought 'why not?'"

Lampard had not been involved with football since he and his brother-in-law Harry Redknapp left West Ham in 2001. After that, he and Pat had spent much of their time travelling around Europe following their son's exploits with Chelsea.

They always mingled with the Blues fans and their genuine, down-to-earth personalities made them immensely popular.

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Those trips have provided cherished memories for father and son and in an interview with the Daily Mail last month, Lampard Jr said: "I've had such a great journey through football and it became a great journey for my mum and dad, too.

"It opened up a world that we loved so much and it was such a nice time in their lives and now it is over; that's what hurts, seeing it all cut short."

Lampard Sr says his involvement with Watford and Rodgers has helped him to rebuild his life following the death of his wife.

The 58-year-old is a true football man, not given to outpourings of emotion, and when he speaks about his wife he does so slowly and with feeling.

"I'd recently lost my wife and working with Brendan was a release valve for me," he says. "When these things happen, they stun you, and it helped me focus on good things."

The former West Ham and England full-back did about 10 sessions with Chelsea's reserves and the partnership between the innovative young coach and his wily, experienced sidekick worked well.

So when Rodgers was appointed Watford boss last November, he called Lampard to ask him to become his football consultant.

"The agreement was that I'd go in two or three days a week and work alongside Brendan," he said. "But I've probably only missed one or two sessions, because I enjoy going in there so much.

"I'm involved in team meetings and preparation for games as well as some coaching. On match days I sit in the stand and have a chat with Brendan about his team talk ahead of half-time. It's going well.

Frank Lampard Snr
Frank Lampard Sr won the FA Cup with West Ham in 1975 and 1980

"I've really enjoyed working with Brendan. He's an innovator, using sports science and keeping up with the latest developments, but also a good man-manager with a sense of humour.

"He's got all-round ability and has impressed me."

Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho hand-picked the Northern Irishman, who was at Reading, to head Chelsea's academy in 2004, and within two years Rodgers was promoted to reserve-team coach at Stamford Bridge.

There are several similarities between the 36-year-old and his Portuguese mentor - they are both multi-lingual (Rodgers speaks Spanish and is learning Italian) and had no playing careers to speak of before moving into management at a very young age.

"Brendan is a throw-off from Mourinho," added Lampard Sr.

"Mourinho took him under his wing because he maybe saw a little bit of himself in Brendan.

"Sometimes I tell Frank about what we've done in training and he says 'Mourinho used to do that!' Brendan is an excellent coach and organiser - very professional and meticulous."

Watford are in the Championship relegation zone, but Lampard insists there have been signs of improvement, even in the 3-1 defeat by Wolves in their last match.

Brendan Rodgers is a throw-off from Mourinho, an innovator but also a good man-manager

Frank Lampard Sr

"If we can stay in the Championship, we will be happy," he said. "Then we can rebuild and push on.

"We've got some good players there - they're so keen to train and work on their games."

And what of their opponents on Saturday? Chelsea have got their fourth manager in little more than a year and there are reports of a dressing room split at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard Sr, an FA Cup winner with West Ham in 1975 and 1980, knows the Blues will provide formidable opposition, but he echoes his son's sentiment: players should focus on themselves rather than blaming their manager.

"They are still a world-class team," he said, "but if I was one of their players, I would look at myself and ask 'have you done everything you could?' It's no good hiding in a corner and blaming other people.

"Frank has played under Claudio Ranieri, Mourinho, Avram Grant and Scolari now. He's got on well with all of them because he's such a good professional."

Even though Rodgers and Lampard Sr know Chelsea inside out, they still sent a scout to their Premier League match against Hull last weekend. "That's a mark of the professionalism at the club," he said.

The former England international hopes his side can give a good account of themselves.

But if Lampard Jr does get the chance to perform his goal celebration, there's no doubt that the thoughts of father and son will both be with Pat.

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see also
Watford v Chelsea
13 Feb 09 |  FA Cup
Boss sackings add to Chelsea loss
13 Feb 09 |  Business
Chelsea confirm Hiddink as coach
11 Feb 09 |  Chelsea
Wolves 3-1 Watford
31 Jan 09 |  Championship


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