Paul Lambert has insisted his City side won’t alter their approach for tomorrow’s clash with free-scoring Huddersfield, as Lee Clark prepares for his first return to Carrow Road.
The fifth-placed Terriers have been finding the back of the net for fun this season, hitting Wycombe for six in recent weeks.
But Lambert is staying positive, claiming that while City are in such a rich vein of form, it’s up to them to win the game. He did, however, warn the public not to necessarily expect a 5-5 thriller.
“They play in an open manner, so that’s great for us. But sometimes people’s expectations in games like that can build it up,” he told the press at a wintry Colney this morning.
“Sometimes in tight games it does not go that way but the lads are playing well. We won’t be changing our play for them – with our form we can win the game.
“Any win is a win. We will go out to win any game this season that’s the important thing. But Huddersfield are up there on merit and it will be a good game.”
Tomorrow’s encounter marks Lee Clark’s first visit to Carrow Road since he was swiped from Glenn Roeder’s City management team exactly a year ago. And he’s certainly made a great start to life in the hot-seat – a fact not lost on the Canary boss.
“It’s tough. You have to deal with the media, players that have problems and you become a social worker – you become everything. But Lee has done a great job.
“It’s hard for a young manager to come in, they are expected to get results straight away – it’s the same at this club after all that’s happened. What I know of Lee he is a really nice lad and is doing a good job.”
With much of the country – especially East Anglia – being hit by a cold snap, the team have been forced to train in the Colney dome. But with Carrow Road enjoying undersoil heating, it is not thought the game is in doubt.
It isn’t, however, the perfect preparation for such a crucial clash.
“The weather is not ideal. We will be in there [the dome] today and it’s like a snowstorm out there at the moment.
“I just hope it’s better tomorrow for the fans to get in and for the game. Saying that, I have not seen a forecast.”
The visit of the Terriers represents a terrific opportunity for City to bounce back after Tuesday’s St Mary’s JPT disappointment, when despite being 2-1 up in stoppage time, City conceded a late, late equaliser.
We all know what happened in the resulting penalty shoot-out but the Norwich chief put it down to one of those nights. When your luck’s out…
“I would rather be in it the competition than not, that’s for sure. Sometimes you need the luck but that night we did not have it.
“I think it was there for everyone to see we were the better side on the night. And I still believe that it should have been our free-kick [in the incident which led to Southampton’s leveller] as well.”
But whatever happens tomorrow, Lambert is more than satisfied with the progress made since his arrival in Norfolk. With just one point upon his appointment, for the Canaries to be riding high in third place is some achievement.
“I have always said that if you said to me when I came to the club that we’d be in the top six at this moment, I would have taken it,” continued the Scot.
“What we need to do now is keep pushing on, get past the New Year keeping in the pack. Then we can push on, hopefully catching the top two. But like I say, it’s a massive achievement to be where we are now.”
In team news, Korey Smith (thigh) and Jens Berthel Askou (foot) are the major doubts – with Stephen Hughes possibly back in contention after a calf strain meant he missed the midweek JPT trip to Hampshire.
But Lambert isn’t about to panic about who may or may not play, despite many believing Askou’s presence in the backline is the main reason for their stubborn form.
“I thought Doc [Gary Doherty] and Michael Nelson were fantastic on Tuesday night and I have great belief in the other players. They will do the best they can for me.”