City chief Paul Lambert hit the nail on the head in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Preston North End.
“You don’t have time to feel sorry for yourself – you go again,” he said, simply.
The subject in question was, of course, Wes Hoolahan; whose dinked little penalty into the waiting hands of a bemused Iain Turner in the Lilywhites’ goal came to dominate the post-match headlines.
But with a trip to Leicester City awaiting tomorrow night, that thought could just as much apply to the Canaries themselves as they dwell over-long on another, two big home points lost following that 1-1 draw with a similarly struggling Doncaster Rovers the week before.
But such is the nature of the nPower Championship beast that fans of Nottingham Forest, Cardiff City and Swansea City could all be forgiven for a bout of finger-pointing as all three of Norwich’s nearest promotion rivals lost at the weekend.
Few would have expected Ipswich to have picked up a 2-0 win at the Bluebirds; likewise, Scunthorpe’s narrow 1-0 win at home to the in-form Swans.
The Championship continues to deliver new twists and turns with every passing game.
And nothing will change on that score between now and the end of the campaign.
“You’ve got to give Preston credit – they’re fighting for their lives and they’ve had some decent results against the teams up there,” said Lambert, the 2-2 draw away at Forest being a case in point.
If Norwich supporters are feeling a bit hard done by, Forest fans have had to suffer that 96th minute leveller by Preston and a shock, home defeat by Hull City.
There are no easy games in this league; not at this stage of the season.
“There were a couple of results that went for us,” added Lambert. “So you just don’t know – the point for us could be huge.”
There is little more than the width of a fag paper between those clutch of sides fighting for the second, automatic spot.
QPR appear to have the nous and the players to keep their grip on that title spot. Neil Warnock has been round this block too many times before to let the top prize slip out of his grasp.
Thereafter, however, and all things are possible.
“There are certain games where you think: ‘Where did that result come from?’” said Lambert, quizzed as to whether the results for Swansea, Forest and later Cardiff merely added to his frustration at a second 1-1 home draw against lowly opposition.
“So, it’ll be like that on Tuesday night. You’ll come off the pitch thinking: ‘God, how did that result happen? And how did that one happen?’
“So nothing really surprises me; who plays against eachother and what the results are – and they’re coming thick and fast. That’s football.
“And I never worry about what happens [elsewhere] because I can’t influence it. You can only try and influence what happens at your own club.
“And the most important thing for me is Norwich, not what other teams do. It’s what you do.”
The other price Norwich had to pay on Saturday was an injury to American centre-half Zak Whitbread, who fell awkwardly onto his back shortly after the re-start.
This morning and he was rated ‘touch and go’ for the trip to the Foxes.
In his stead, Lambert was able to give the on-loan Rob Edwards his first taste of first team action since his switch from Premiership Blackpool. He could be in line to make his first, full start tomorrow night should Whitbread not improve – proving once again that the Canary chief is pretty cursed luck-wise when it comes to that centre-half position.
“I think Rob [Edwards] can come in and do fine for us – I really do,” said the City chief.
“He’s seen it and done it before; he knows what it takes. It is hard to come in to a club and find your feet in one moment, but I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
The icing on the cake – in many regards – would have been for substitute Aaron Wilbraham to have bagged yet another injury-time winner with that far post effort that he sliced wide.
The manager was swift to defend the impact that the MK Dons striker had already made after opening the game unchanged with Hoolahan in that hole off skipper Grant Holt.
“Aaron won every header when he came on – and that’s what he does, he creates problems for teams,” said Lambert.
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