City boss Paul Lambert has admitted that Craig Bellamy’s ‘homecoming’ is a big boost for the Championship.
The former Canary trainee completed an eye-opening loan move to his hometown club this week from Manchester City and Cardiff have immediately been installed as title favourites.
And Lambert is a fan, even if he conceded that all second tier eyes will be on him for his Bluebirds debut at home to Doncaster tomorrow.
“I knew him from when he came up to Celtic; he is a terrific lad and great player,” said the Norwich chief, speaking at Colney this morning.
“His family is down there and his home is there – it is his choice where he wants to play his football. It is great for the league as well, the expectancy level will be huge on him and it’s a terrific signing for this league, there are no doubts about that.”
Another Welsh club are also in Lambert’s thoughts, with Swansea the visitors to Carrow Road tomorrow. And the City chief praised the way Brendan Rodgers’ men go about their business.
The Swans were a stubborn outfit last season when Paulo Sousa almost squeezed them into the play-offs, but Rodgers has a reputation for liking the ball on the deck. Don’t expect the Canaries to change their game-plan though – it’s just another game and another opportunity to pick up some valuable points.
“They definitely play football in the right way and this is a really tough game. They will be happy to pass it and we have to be ready for that and also implement our own game.
“They are a terrific passing side and you can’t allow them time to do it, if you allow them time then they will just do same to us as they did the Preston last week.
“But I never really worry about the opposition – they are all tough games. They got an excellent result last week and this will be a tough game for us.
“But as I have said before, we are in this league for a reason and with the hard work from last year we have earned our right to play them.”
One player who has continued from where he left off last season is Wes Hoolahan and Lambert had some words of praise for the Dubliner, who gave Scunthorpe all sorts of problems in last weekend’s win at Glanford Park.
In ‘the hole’ behind Grant Holt and Chris Martin, he has found his natural home. And Lambert is hoping his excellent form can continue for the foreseeable.
“Wes is in top form at the moment and he is hard to play against. Long may his form continue – he is a top player,” continued the Norwich chief at his pre-match press conference.
“But I always say you are only as good as the person next to you. You have to have a team around you that can do different things. That is why you have successful teams because if everyone pulls together, everybody knows their job in the team and that helps them.
“Wes can do things that other people in the football club can’t, but that is the nature of the game. He also knows there are people who have to go and do the other side of the game.
“To be fair to Wes he has worked hard and not many people realise he has been getting back. You are not going to ask him to win every tackle he goes in for but he has to do things for me higher up the pitch.”
In team news, the smart money is on an unchanged line-up, with Zak Whitbread and Steven Smith still unavailable. Lambert did reveal, however, that summer signing David Fox was unlucky to miss out last weekend, with Korey Smith’s extra ‘legs’ being given the nod.
“I think David was a bit unfortunate to find himself out because he has been excellent. I just thought the team needed something different. Whether I change it again I’ll decide later on. We were excellent last week but that was a totally different game to what this one will be.”