City boss Paul Lambert hammered home his title message today, insisting that his promoted Canaries side would be going all out to end the campaign on a winning note.
Despite promotion to the Championship being wrapped up with that 1-0 victory at Charlton last weekend, they still have one more point to earn if they are to be crowned League One champions.
But with relegation-threatened Gillingham the visitors to Carrow Road tomorrow, you’d fancy Norwich to be celebrating the top prize come 5pm.
And with a strong end to the season – Bristol Rovers (a) and Carlisle (h) are next up – comes plenty of momentum going into the second tier in 2010/11.
“You want to finish as strongly as you possibly can,” said Lambert, speaking to the media at his weekly pre-match press conference.
“Whatever happens, it won’t detract from what the lads have done because they’ve been brilliant for me. But I want to win the last three games.
“I don’t just want to look for the point to get us there. I want to win the last three games, get as many points as we can and, more importantly, win the league. That’s my main aim.
“We have to win the game, nothing changes from the other weeks. I don’t think Gillingham are safe so we have to try and keep them down there, aim to do it right and try and win the game.
“The job is to win the title. I want to win it and we’re in an absolutely brilliant position to do it. I hope the players think the same.
“They were terrific in training yesterday, at the same level as we have been. They know they’ve still got something to do and it’s not just going to be given to you, you have to earn the right to get it and hopefully they play the way they can and we’ll win the game.”
With ‘only’ 3,200 members of the Canary Nation able to witness last Saturday’s promotion celebration at the Valley, it will be good for all concerned to be able to party on terra firma tomorrow.
And Lambert admitted that it should be a wonderful occasion. After all, it’s not every day you have the chance to win some silverware in front of your own supporters.
“It will be nice to do it at Carrow Road and I’m not sure if that has happened recently. The club has been hurt and people have got to remember that this club has had four years of disappointment.
“Now, all of a sudden, we’ve got a chance to do something at home and my advice would be to go and enjoy it. If you win something, you’ve earned it and you go and enjoy it the best you can.
“I’m pretty sure the fans will come tomorrow absolutely buzzing with the whole thing and they’ll roar us on. I would say to them to enjoy it because not many teams have success in football – it very rarely comes knocking on your door and if you’re going to win something, make sure you remember it.”
Unfortunately for Lambert, he has to serve a one-match touchline ban for the Gills clash, after the Scot was charged with misconduct for being sent to the stands in the Good Friday defeat at Tranmere.
Not that he’s too fussed; it’s all about the players and supporters according to the City chief, speaking to reporters at a gloriously sunny Colney.
“It doesn’t matter about me – it’s about the players and fans,” he continued. “Whether I can go on the pitch afterwards I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter.
“As long as the players and fans can enjoy it, that’s the main thing. I’d be more concerned [with the ban] if I couldn’t go in the dressing room but I can and you’ve just got to take the pill and swallow it.”
In team news, there are no new knocks to report and the Canaries could welcome back two popular faces as Gillingham arrive in Norfolk desperate for the points that could see them avoid the drop.
Grant Holt is a certain starter after completing his two-match suspension and Lambert revealed that Korey Smith has returned to training after missing the Addicks success with an ankle knock. Wes Hoolahan, however, could be forced to wait a little longer before making his return from a thigh strain.
“Korey’s been training and Wes is just jogging at the minute – so we’ll just have to wait until after today. He’s responding to treatment and, as I said, he’s jogging but it might be too early for him. I’ll have to wait and see.
“I’m sure in his own mind Wes would want to get back out there as quickly as he could and try and finish it off. But you can’t rush anyone back if they’re still feeling it.”
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