Blow as Barnett is banned for an extra two matches

Norwich City defender Leon Barnett has been handed an additional two-match ban following his sending-off against Portsmouth earlier this month.

The 25-year-old has already served a one-match suspension for being shown two yellow cards against Pompey, missing the 2-1 win at Coventry, but his reaction – throwing the ball at referee Simon Hooper – has landed him with an additional punishment for improper conduct.

Barnett admitted the charge and was given a personal hearing by the FA yesterday.

He apologised to the Wiltshire official – and manager Paul Lambert – immediately after the game but the FA regulatory commission's decision means he will miss the next two games, scheduled to be the trip to Crystal Palace on Boxing Day and the game against Sheffield United at Carrow Road next Tuesday.

When he returns to action, he will also be one booking away from a further ban as he is currently on four yellow cards.

Barnett, who has made 18 appearances for the Canaries, has been a revelation since arriving on loan from West Bromwich Albion in August, prompting City to set up a permanent deal which will be concluded when the transfer window opens in January.

Michael Nelson replaced him at Coventry, making his first appearance for four months after being sidelined with an ankle injury, and is expected to keep his place against Palace.

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Midfielder Andrew Crofts is back in training as City prepare for the Christmas and New Year programme.

Crofts missed the 2-1 victory at Coventry with a bout of flu, but should be fit for the Championship game against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park..

'He's OK, he'll be training this morning,' said manager Paul Lambert yesterday. 'There are one or two lads who were feeling it a little bit but not as severe as Crofty was.'

The Canaries were training at Carrow Road yesterday but defender Russell Martin and forward Wes Hoolahan were not involved. Both players suffered thigh injuries at Coventry.

'They won't train until maybe later on in the week so we just have to wait and see how they are,' said Lambert.

On-loan midfielder Henri Lansbury is fit despite suffering a knock on his ankle in the challenge that earned Coventry's Aron Gunnarsson a red card.

Full-back Adam Drury and defender Zak Whitbread are also training after calf and hamstring injuries, respectively, but Drury is unlikely to be risked just yet after more than two months on the sidelines.

'Adam's training which is good but he's been out a long time,' said Lambert.

City will train on Christmas Day in preparation for the Palace game and travel the same evening, but Lambert admitted the training schedule was reduced slightly because of the prospect of four Championship matches in nine days.

'The lads will still be in but you don't need to train as we normally do.

'There are a lot of games in quick succession,' he said.

Ground staff and supporters have been clearing snow from the pitch covers at Selhurst Park in preparation for Sunday's game.

The ground sheets are said to protect the playing surface to minus three or four degrees and Palace are hopeful the match will go ahead.

'Assuming there is no snow we are quite hopeful,' said a club spokesman.