Barnett hopes for leniency from FA

Paul Lambert is hoping that Leon Barnett's good character will spare him the wrath of an FA tribunal today.

The Canaries central defender has already served a one-game suspension after being sent off against Portsmouth earlier this month. He will today be punished for the separate offence of improper conduct – to which he has pleaded guilty – having thrown the ball in frustration at referee Simon Hooper as he walked off having been shown a second yellow after conceding the penalty which sealed a 2-0 defeat.

Barnett apologised to the official – and Lambert – immediately after the game, and the City boss is hoping that his contrite attitude will help his case, even if a ban of some sort if almost inevitable.

'He was apologetic, as everybody knows,' said Lambert. 'He's not a malicious player at all, but sometimes you have to take your medicine and accept what is going to happen and hopefully they will see that he apologised and hopefully that will go in his favour.

'He is not a dirty player – even the penalty wasn't a malicious challenge, but the referee deems it the way he did and obviously Leon knows he shouldn't have thrown the ball, so we have to wait and see.'

Barnett was brought to Carrow Road on loan from West Bromwich Albion after Michael Nelson was injured, and such was the success of his partnership with Elliott Ward that City agreed to make the move permanent in the January transfer window.

With games at Crystal Palace on Sunday and at home to Sheffield United two days later, it may be that Barnett won't be seen again until the big New Year's Day home clash against leaders Queens Park Rangers.

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But any extra time Barnett and his team-mates get off over Christmas will be down to them.

'There will be days when we think we can give them extra days here and there,' said Lambert. 'I will just look at their body language and see how they feel.'

Four games in eight days means the Championship promotion picture could be much clearer in a short space of time, but Lambert is refusing to treat the Christmas period as anything out of the ordinary: 'When you get to Easter they always say the exact same,' he said. 'Every period of the season is critical I think because you just try to win each game as it comes along. We have to wait and see what's going to happen – but if we keep the form we are in at the minute then I'll be more than happy with that.'