City boss Paul Lambert isn’t concerned about a busy Easter schedule, as the table-toppers prepare for two games in four days over the holiday period.
Easter Monday’s home clash with Stockport County comes hot on the heels of tomorrow night’s televised trip to Tranmere Rovers, but Lambert wasn’t about to moan about it – it’s the same for everyone after all.
“I’m not really looking at the Stockport game,” he told reporters this morning. “The most important one is tomorrow night and I’ll see how everybody feels.
“I know it’s a short turnaround but it’s the same for everybody. They are the rules and the Easter period is like Christmas when you play games pretty quickly; we have to keep performing.”
His side have certainly been performing of late, with last weekend’s last-gasp winner over Leeds putting them a whopping 11 points clear of the second-placed Yorkshire club.
The Easter period represents a great chance to take another two huge steps to promotion and you wouldn’t bet against them notching some more late goals, after recent heroics against Brighton, Southend, Huddersfield and the Whites.
Can Lambert put it down to anything in particular?
“I think it’s a combination of things. Yes, they are fitter but their adrenalin is also carrying them through and the lads have been exceptional.
“You know you are in a decent position to do something and that definitely drives you on. The crowd play a major part as well and they are absolutely vital for us.
“They are a big part of this football club and they always will be. We need them, there’s no doubt about that.”
City’s hosts tomorrow night are, of course, in serious danger of dropping down to the bottom tier of league football, after slipping back into the relegation zone with a 3-0 defeat at Brighton last Saturday.
But the Canary chief is expecting another tough test against Les Parry’s men, despite their lowly league position with just nine games left for the Merseysiders.
“Every game is really tough,” Lambert continued. “They’ve got their own problems and they’re fighting to stay in the league but they gave us a hard game at Carrow Road and it’ll be difficult.
“Les [Parry] has done really well up there. They were down and out but he got them on a little bit of a run and they were out of it [the relegation zone] for a while. All of a sudden they find themselves back in but I’m pretty sure they’ll be up for it.”
In team news, the Norwich boss revealed that midfielder Korey Smith is a doubt after he pulled up with a dead leg in the Leeds triumph. And while he didn’t rule the 18-year-old out completely, it looks likely that Stephen Hughes will replace him in the engine room.
Elsewhere, Jens Berthel Askou is no nearer a second comeback after suffering a foot injury in a recent reserves outing. Add that to the original foot injury suffered at Yeovil in December and the Dane hasn’t had too much luck in that department.
“Jens is still struggling with his foot. He has kicked the sole of somebody’s boot in his last reserves game and that can be a sore one.
“Korey is a little bit of a doubt at the minute, we’ll have to see how he is. He has been pretty regular for me; he missed the Leeds game at Elland Road but he’s played a lot of games and Korey’s been terrific for me.”
Another potential absentee in the coming weeks is skipper Grant Holt, with the goal machine one yellow card away from 10 for the season and a subsequent two-match ban.
But Lambert does not want the Canary talisman to change his ways. Far from it, it’s what makes him the player he is.
“I just have to let him play his own game,” added the Scot, who witnessed another Holt booking last weekend for an over-zealous challenge on Robert Snodgrass.
“If you take that side out of Grant’s game then you might lose a bit but hopefully he can last a few games without getting one [a yellow card].
“We’ll have to try and get him through it but at the same time I can’t curtail his enthusiasm for the game.”
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