City boss Paul Lambert has admitted that he’ll be in for a rough ride from the Colchester United faithful on his return to the Weston Homes Community Stadium tomorrow.
The Scot made the short trip north in August and hasn’t looked back since, transforming the Canaries from a club in crisis into promotion favourites in a matter of months.
But despite the U’s supporters’ ill-feeling towards him, and the well documented needle between the clubs, he clearly has no regrets. Lambert is loving life in Norfolk.
“I think this is an absolutely brilliant football club,” he said this morning, speaking at a busier than normal Colney press conference.
“The fan base is extraordinary, it’s a footballing city. It’s going really, really well at the minute but we know how quickly football can change.
“Am I concerned about the reception I will get? No. I know what to expect. I’m looking forward to the game.
“I’m not going to be the most well-liked man in Colchester, that’s for sure. But this is a brilliant football club to be at.”
With so many aspects to tomorrow’s fascinating derby clash, it promises to be a fiery affair. But the Canary chief hasn’t given much thought to the remarkable 7-1 scoreline between the two clubs in August.
He was, of course, in the other camp that day, but Lambert is a fully-fledged Canary now. He’s not too fussed about the past.
“I never think about it to be honest. This is my club now and it’s the only club I’m interested in. We’re doing terrifically well and playing at the top of our game as everybody knows.
“Tomorrow is a game that we’ll try and win. It’s the game tomorrow which is important – we’re going to try and win the game and if we play the way we have been, hopefully we’ll win it.”
Despite the obvious impact the former Celtic hero has made, Lambert insisted that it’s the Canary squad that deserve all the praise.
And he promised a much better City showing than the last time these two East Anglian sides locked horns. Put it this way, it won’t be 7-1 again.
“It’ll be a different team that plays against Colchester tomorrow, I’d like to think it is a different club,” he added.
“The lads have done it – they are the ones that play the game. The players and the fans are the most important people at the club. I always take that view.”
As for those players, Lambert couldn’t be more delighted with the way they are going about their business. 10 wins from their last 12 makes for pretty good reading.
And with confidence high on the pitch and in the dugout, the Scot revealed that title favourites Leeds are in their sights. This Norwich side mean business.
“I’ve always had great belief in the players that they’ll go and win games for us. We’re second at the moment, of course you’d like to be first but we’re not.
“All we can do is eat away at Leeds’ lead if we can. We’re a threat, there’s no doubt about that. We’ve got lads who can make goals and players who can score them.
“Every unit in the team has performed really well and that’s a big compliment to them because they were relegated last season and a lot happened at the start. To turn it around in such a short space of time, they’ve been exceptional for me.”
For more from Paul Lambert, including tomorrow’s team news and the Scot’s thoughts on his ex-U’s players, log on to www.myfootballwriter.com/norwichcity this evening.