City boss Paul Lambert believes tomorrow’s trip to league leaders QPR is a “brilliant” game for the Canaries, as the Scot prepares to pit his wits against Championship veteran Neil Warnock.
First meets third at Loftus Road this weekend and with the West London ground a complete sell-out, there promises to be a cracking atmosphere come 3pm tomorrow.
And there is a general feeling that this particular test has come at the right time for Norwich, with many speculating whether they can sustain their challenge throughout the season.
So far, it would be fair to say that the fixture list has been kind to them. But at the present time, QPR (a) is as tough as it gets in the Championship.
“It is a brilliant game for us, we are looking forward to it,” said Lambert, speaking to the media at this morning’s pre-match press conference.
“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see how well they are playing and where they are in the league; they are top of the league on merit and it is an incredibly tough game for us.
“We have earned our right to be in the league because of what we did last season but I’m under no illusions as to how hard it is going to be. You can sense it is a big game.
“There is no point going there to defend,” he added. “We have to go and attack as that is the way I have always played since we have been here.
“We are going to have an unbelievable crowd [of City supporters] there and we have to give them something to get them going. That’s what we’ll try and do.
“l know how hard it is going to be but we have to try and get on the front foot. Yes we might have to defend for our lives and take our chances when they come, but we will give as good as we get that’s for sure.”
Lambert will, of course, come face to face with wily campaigner Warnock in the capital tomorrow and to give the former Sheffield United boss credit, he has not wasted any time moulding a talented group into a hardened Championship outfit since arriving from Crystal Palace in March.
Warnock’s record speaks for itself and it would be a surprise if Rangers are not in and around those top two slots come May. And Canary chief Lambert is certainly a fan; Warnock has been there, done it and got the t-shirt for good measure.
“I think he has been a brilliant manager right through all the teams he has been at. He has been in the game a lot longer than me and you can’t fault what Neil Warnock has done in his managerial career. It has been has been terrific.”
“He has done well at a lot of the clubs he has been at and QPR are where they are on merit. They have financial backing but they still have to get themselves up there and that is what he is all about.”
In team news, the only likely change from the side that wiped away Bristol City two weeks ago is Adam Drury for Steve Smith, with the Canary stalwart recovering from the hamstring injury that forced him off during the warm up at Ashton Gate.
Up top, Simeon Jackson looks set to keep his place ahead of Chrissy Martin after his two-goal heroics last time out. And Lambert revealed that the Canadian international’s confidence is high after a quiet start to life in Norfolk.
“Simeon’s confidence is sky high at the moment. His two goals against Bristol City were top class and his international goal for Canada [during the two-week break] was great.
“To be fair to him he has been patient, Chrissy and Grant [Holt] have been playing well. It was hard for him to get in but he has taken his chance and it is up to him to stay in the side.
“Simeon offers us a bit of pace up there but as I have said before they all offer something different. Chrissy’s a unbelievable finisher, Holty takes the hits and Oli [Johnson] is an unpredictable player who can do something to change a game. I feel that we have a good mix.”