City boss Paul Lambert has lavished high praise on his Tottenham counterpart Harry Redknapp, with high-flying Spurs next up at Carrow Road on Tuesday night.
After a run of three Premier League matches without defeat -a home success over Newcastle followed by two draws at Everton and Wolves – the Canaries will go into the contest with plenty of confidence running through their veins .
But this Spurs outfit are a little bit special in 2011/12 and Lambert is well aware of the task facing his team next week.
“Spurs are a top side and I think they’ve got an absolutely brilliant manager,” Lambert said, speaking to the club’s official website at Colney this morning.
“The way he man-manages and tells it like it is gets the best of them. Even if you have a squad of world class players – which Harry does – you’ve still got to get the best out of them and he does that. The team that he has assembled there is top class.
“Every team he’s been at has been right there, including West Ham, Portsmouth and Southampton, and he’s taken Spurs from the relegation zone up to where they are now.
“They had a fantastic run in the Champions League last season, beating some fantastic teams, and they’ve brought in more players which has strengthened their hand.
“Spurs are on the coattails of the two Manchester clubs chasing the title and we’ve got to take them on. I’m pretty sure the atmosphere around Tottenham is really vibrant at the minute but we’re at home and we’ll do everything we can to try and win.”
In all fairness, the Norfolk atmosphere is pretty vibrant at the moment as well, with City sitting ninth in the Premier League.
And Lambert has come away from the Canaries’ two recent away trips feeling pretty content with life, even if they did let a lead slip on both occasions. This is the top flight after all; you’re not going to get anything on a plate.
“This league is extremely tough and if you can keep picking up points here and there, hopefully we’ll be alright.
“Our main objective is to stay in this league. If we do that, it will surpass anything we’ve done so far. The club has had some terrific highs while we’ve been here and the lads have been brilliant for me. We’ll continue to drive it on and see where it takes us.”
In team news, on-loan defender Kyle Naughton will be missing through suspension – even though he was ineligible anyway given that City are playing his parent club. However, there are no fresh injury concerns.
Fellow loanee Richie De Laet is doubtful with the back injury which has kept him out in recent weeks but Lambert did offer the Belgian a glimmer of hope, especially with a full-back slot up for grabs. James Vaughan and Elliott Ward are still on the sidelines.
“We’ll need to see how Richie is and how he’s feeling. He’s not trained for a couple of weeks but we’ll see how he is and hopefully he’ll be OK.”
The third-placed visitors do have injury worries, however, with key men Rafael van der Vaart and Aaron Lennon the latest players to hit the treatment table.
Van der Vaart could be sidelined until the New Year with a hamstring injury after being substituted at half-time during Spurs’ 1-1 draw with Chelsea last night, and winger Lennon may miss “weeks” after suffering a similar complaint last weekend.
With the North Londoners fighting hard to prove that they are genuine title contenders, this double setback could hit them hard, with Redknapp admitting that Lennon, in particular, will be a big loss.