PAUL Lambert is trying to bring some ‘big hitters’ to Blackburn Rovers.

But his attempts to sign Danny Graham is being stalled by Sunderland’s busy start to the New Year.


And the Rovers boss has again stressed that it will not be until the summer that the club will feel the full benefit of exiting its Financial Fair Play embargo.

“The big thing for this football club was to come out of the embargo; we had to come out of it to give ourselves any sort of a chance,” said Lambert, who made versatile winger Elliott Bennett the first permanent signing of his Ewood Park reign on Tuesday night.

“In my own head the big window is going to be the summer one. That’s where we have to make our mark.

“But in this window we can make little movements without going majorly overboard. That’s what we’re trying to do.

“The amount of people I’ve tried to bring in… it’s been on, it’s been off, it’s been on, and it’s been off. That’s the market.

“If you can go out and buy somebody, it makes it a bit easier. This window we have to watch what we’re doing but the biggest window for Blackburn Rovers will be the summer.

“My job is to try and make this club stronger. We have identified people and they are people who, if we manage to get them, will surprise a few because they’re big, big hitters and big players. They will be fantastic for us.

“I don’t think you’ll get anywhere if you’re going to keep experimenting and experimenting. You’ve got to try and hit the ground running.

“If the club has got ambition, which it has, it has got to go out and get people who can perform.”

One of the ‘big hitters’ Lambert refers to is Sunderland striker Graham, the Championship’s top scorer in 2011.

The Black Cats’ former Rovers boss Sam Allardyce is willing to let the 30-year-old, who has six months remaining on his current contract, leave the Stadium of Light.

But with Sunderland facing a run of three matches in a week, which starts with an FA Cup clash at Premier League rivals Arsenal tomorrow, Lambert looks likely to have to wait to get Graham.

“Sunderland have got three games in a week and obviously Sam is trying to do everything he can to keep them afloat in the league,” said Lambert, whose need for a new frontman has heightened after injury sidelined Fode Koita and Nathan Delfouneso.

“I know Danny’s name’s been mentioned all over the place but there are many others I’ve looked at and many other managers I’ve spoken to. They all say the same – ‘I’ve got three games’.

“And nobody is going to let anybody out who they are not going to need.

“But we do have to get a bit more experience, people who are streetwise in this division, and I’ll continue to try and do that.”

It is understood that Rovers are confident they could come to an agreement with Sunderland over Graham’s wages.

But, with the club determined to avoid going straight back under an embargo, Lambert said: “Obviously the level of money in the Premiership is a lot more substantial than at this level and you’ve got to hope clubs can give you a hand in certain ways and, first and foremost, the player wants to come.”

Lambert, who has not received an enquiry for any member of his squad, is also setting his sights on a creative attacker.

But Blackburn-born Cardiff City winger Anthony Pilkington, who he signed when he was in charge of Norwich City, is not on his shortlist.