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Page last updated at 16:34 GMT, Monday, 10 August 2009 17:34 UK

Rovers defend Lambert departure

Lennie Lawrence
Lawrence says Rovers will invest some of the seven figure fee

Bristol Rovers director of football Lennie Lawrence believes the club had no choice but to let Rickie Lambert join Southampton.

Rovers have negotiated a seven-figure fee for the 27-year-old striker.

"To be fair to Rickie when it was made clear to him what was on offer at Southampton, it became impossible to resist," he told BBC Radio Bristol.

"Rickie was the highest paid player in our history, easily, and Southampton have doubled it."

Lambert scored 29 goals last season for Rovers, finishing as the division's joint-leading scorer. He has already opened his account for this season with a strike against Leyton Orient.

We've negotiated the best possible deal we can. Yes money will be reinvested

Lennie Lawrence

His departure will now free up money to make further signings.

Lawrence added: "We've negotiated the best possible deal we can. Yes money will be reinvested, but I think we can still compete and do well. The team has been built around Rickie, but now it will change and I still think we have two very good strikers."

"We're mindful of the fact the window shuts at the end of August, but we've got to use the loan market more than we have in the past."

Goalkeeper Steve Phillips could be next to leave the Memorial Stadium. He is currently in Turkey discussing a move to Super League club Ankara.

"Negotiations are ongoing but that's a very complicated scenario," said Lawrence.

"It's something he wanted to pursue so we were happy to let him go out there and talk to them. Whether anything will come of it, that's very difficult to say."



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