City’s Testimonial favourite Adam Drury looks set for a busy spring as Canary chief Paul Lambert juggles his defensive resources over the final weeks of the season.
The Canaries play host to Everton tomorrow, before travelling to Spurs on Easter Monday – two, tough games against in-form Premier League opposition.
But with Kyle Naughton ineligible to play against his full-time employers at White Hart Lane and Marc Tierney reported to have aggravated his groin in this week’s reserve team outing, so the ever-green Drury could be back in demand ahead of his richly-deserved Testimonial Match against Celtic on May 22nd.
“We’ve only got one recognised left-back,” said Lambert, speaking to the Press at Colney this morning.
“And I know that Kyle’s done great when he’s been out there with Marc [Tierney] being injured. But I’ve got Adam [Drury] and he’s done great,” added the City chief, as the 33-year-old long-serving Canary star continues to prove his worth in the top flight.
“I had a chat with him the other day and the only time that I can remember Adam getting a hard time in the time that I have been here was against Leicester last year at home. He’s always been competitive against top class wingers – I’ve never seen Adam get taken apart in a one-v-one situation.”
Given certain individuals that Norwich are likely to face on Easter Monday, let alone tomorrow, the manager’s confidence in Drury is more than welcome – particularly given the latest injury update on the luckless Tierney.
Given the fact that he is now off to see a specialist on his niggling groin problem, it remains open to question as to whether he will re-appear before the end of the season. Ditto Daniel Ayala who alse exited early from the reserves game – this time with a knock to a knee ligament.
“Marc’s problems seem to be on-going,” Lambert reported.
“He’s going to go and see somebody next week and we have to try and get to the bottom of it. It’s his groin and it’s been since Wolves in December.
“We’ve done everything we can to try and get him back, but he’s going to have to see a specialist. He’s as frustrated as everybody else; he played 14, 15 games this season which is not a long time. We’ve tried to get him back as quick as we could, but it’s not to be.”
Ayala is the same; for now it would appear that the centre-back berths are between Zak Whitbread, Elliott Ward and the newly-arrived Ryan Bennett. Whether Lambert persists with the three centre-half approach of late that can accommodate his £3 million England Under-21 signing or whether three into two won’t go, is one for the manager to decide over the next 24 hours.
Leon Barnett is, of course, also available; Ayala, however, isn’t.
“It looks like Daniel has hurt a ligament a little on the outside of his knee, so he’s another one that someone will maybe have to see,” said the City chief.
The positive news was the fact that young keeper Declan Rudd was back in business giving Lambert the option of whether to restore one England Youth goalkeeper to the bench or stick with his other young England gun, Jed Steer.
With No1 John Ruddy being widely talked of for a full England call-up, the Norfolk club are blessed with an abundance of goalkeeping talent for a number of years to come; one less position to worry about this summer as Lambert plans for 2012-13.
“After John Ruddy, there’s nothing between those two kids,” said Lambert, as the Academy-trained pair continue to demonstrate the kind of potential long promised by the two of them.
“The two of them I think are going to be really top, top goalkeepers. Jed has come on leaps and bounds since he’s been training with the first team and Dec’s been the same – every time he’s trained or played in the first team. There’s nothing in it and I think that Norwich City for a good few years will have a right good goalkeeping choice.”
Team-wise and Lambert could call upon skipper Grant Holt again after he was forced to sit out the defeat at Fulham following his red card against Wolves and the one-match ban that followed.
Aaron Wilbraham’s first Premier League goal could keep him in the manager’s thoughts; the fact that Norwich have that big trip to Tottenham on Monday will also dictate some of his thinking for the Everton clash.