Paul Lambert has hailed City’s incredible run – eight wins in a row and no defeats in 16 – ahead of tomorrow’s showdown at Millwall.
But at the same time, the Scot warned that “human nature” would mean an off-day somewhere down the line. Let’s just hope it’s not in SE16 this weekend.
The Lions are on a decent run themselves and have moved into the top six in recent weeks. On paper, it looks like being the table-toppers’ toughest clash for some time.
But Lambert admitted that while you can’t play at the peak of your powers every week, the consistency already shown has been some achievement.
“The standards the lads have set have been huge,” said the Canary chief, speaking at his pre-match briefing at Colney.
“Someone asked me the other day if I’d seen a run like it or ever been involved in it and I’m not sure I have.
“To do it at the level they have done it, week in week out for nearly the whole 90 minutes, has been great.
“But human nature dictates you can’t play like that every week. You have to respect your opponent; they are never going to let you do what you want.
“I can guarantee you’ll go into your work one day and think ‘I can’t do this’. Everyone in this room will have days like that where you think ‘nah, I’m not the same as I was last week’.
“Things on any given day can go against you and you sometimes need a bit of luck. But the level of consistency in the performances has been so high. It’s an impossibility to do it the whole time but we keep on winning so it’s not too bad.”
It promises to be a tasty affair in south east London tomorrow, with around 3,000 fans making the trip from Norfolk.
And although he knows that the Lions will provide an extremely tough test, Lambert will be using those supporters to drive his team on.
If you’re lucky enough to have a loyal and vociferous following, you’ve got to use it to your advantage – especially with spirits running so high throughout the club.
“It’s a tough game. Every game is hard but there will be a terrific atmosphere tomorrow and Kenny [Jackett] has got a really good side there.
“He’s got them going at the minute and the onus is always on the home team to make the running in games like this.
“But our fans are incredible. You’ve got to use them and there is no doubt that they help us. You go back to Southend and Walsall, when you’re shooting towards them it definitely drives you on.
“The fan base have been incredible and if they are on your side, you’ve got a chance. You use them to your advantage and they’ve been terrific.
“Even on the first day of the season, when they were 5-0 down, they stayed with the team. That was the first time I’d seen that. Not many fans left that day.”
In team news, Cody McDonald is likely to keep his place in the starting line-up after his recent goalscoring exploits, with Grant Holt serving the final match of his suspension.
And the rest of the side should be unchanged, despite Hartlepool causing the City backline a few problems last week.
With Zak Whitbread waiting in the wings, it wouldn’t be a huge shock to see him given his full debut in place of Michael Nelson, but the smart money would be on an unchanged XI.
Competition for places is sure to hot up even further in the coming weeks though – especially in defence – with Jens Berthel Askou and Michael Spillane coming through a reserves outing unscathed this week.
“They’ve been out a long time and they only had 45 minutes each,” continued the City boss in his weekly Colney press conference.
“But the main thing was that they had to come through the game without getting hurt again, which they did.”