As the race for those coveted automatic promotion places hots up, boss Paul Lambert is just concerning himself with all things Norwich City.
Saturday’s impressive 3-0 win over fellow hopefuls Huddersfield, coupled with Charlton’s 4-4 derby draw with Millwall, meant that the Norfolk club closed the gap on the Addicks to just four points.
But with over four months to go until it’s all won and lost, the Scot just wants to keep his head down and keep churning out those wins.
And another three-point haul against Millwall on Boxing Day in the 12.45 sell-out would certainly be a nice way to celebrate festivities.
“We can’t affect what goes on at Elland Road or Charlton. All we can do is keep winning our games,” he told the press this morning.
“But it was a good result for Millwall at the weekend, especially with them going down to ten men as well. But these things can happen. You get results where you think ‘I never saw that coming’.
“It was never going to be a case of Charlton turning up and beating them because Millwall are a decent side. Nothing surprises me.
“I don’t think it will have taken that much out of them and I’m sure they will come here fit and ready that’s for sure.”
It would be fair to say that all Norfolk eyes will be on a top two finish and if they’d have started 2009/10 in this manner, City would be pushing Leeds hard at the summit.
And Lambert is honest enough to admit that has to be the target. The play-offs are just too risky…
“To be beaten in the play-offs is horrible but if that’s your only option, you’d take it. Ideally you want to get up at the first time of asking.
“The play-offs are great for the public who come to watch but you want to do it the first time rather than have to rely on that method.”
In the goalkeeping department, Fraser Forster has been nothing short of outstanding in recent weeks. But at the other end of the spectrum, forgotten man Michael Theoklitos has again been linked with a return to his native Australia with Melbourne Heart.
“We did have a call but Michael doesn’t want to go back there. He works hard in training and he’s never given me any problems but he doesn’t want to go back to Australia so he’s here at the minute.
“He’s an experienced goalkeeper but with what happened on the opening day and the Gillingham thing (when he missed the team bus) he’s found himself out of the side. And Fraser Forster has been incredible for us.”
But on the incoming front, Lambert did admit that he will need to strengthen yet again when the transfer window repoens on January 1st – if only to keep up with the Jones’.
“I know the players I want. If we can do something then fine but we’ll have to wait and see if we can get them in.
“Everybody else at the top end will strengthen I think so I’ve got to try and look to do the same. But people can sometimes panic in January.
“What we’ve got to do is get people in who, when called upon, can come in and play. They’ve got to be able to hit the ground running.”
In team news, despite the Boxing Day Lions clash still being four days away, the Canary chief has a defensive headache with Gary Doherty missing through suspension and Jens Berthel Askou still struggling with his foot injury.
The Dane might well be another week or two and Korey Smith is another absentee; the young midfielder is still out with a thigh complaint.
Elsewhere, Stephen Hughes is a good bet to come into the midfield to replace Tom Adeyemi, after the Scot’s impact when coming off the bench against the Terriers.
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