Lambert: Norwich City have the stomach for fight

Paddy DavittNorwich chief Paul Lambert is confident his men have the stamina to last the League One promotion course. The Canaries' will look to retain top spot with victory at the Banks's Stadium as long time leaders Leeds return to league action at Swindon after their FA Cup heroics.Paddy Davitt

Norwich chief Paul Lambert is confident his men have the stamina to last the League One promotion course.

The Canaries' will look to retain top spot with victory at the Banks's Stadium as long time leaders Leeds return to league action at Swindon after their FA Cup heroics.

Lambert's battlers defied their numerical disadvantage against Brentford on Saturday to produce a heroic second half display capped by Chris Martin's match-winning strike while Walsall settled for yet another watching brief.

Cup commitments and a prolonged winter cold snap have restricted Chris Hutchings' play-off chasing side to just one outing since December 19 - but Lambert insists the Canaries are ready to go to the well once again.


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"The fitness levels are certainly up there now," he said. "If it wasn't we wouldn't have done what we did do on Saturday. The effort right through has been massive to go from second bottom to put yourself in with a shout. We knew on Saturday that we had another game on Tuesday and so you also have to try and protect people a bit. I hope it doesn't have an effect with the amount of effort we had to put in against Brentford.

"We're winning games at the moment and it will be another really hard game for us at Walsall. Chris has got a good side up there, no doubt about that, it's a hard league and this will be no different. It was a tough game at our place and Walsall played really well that day so we'll have to play well but we're on a run and we want to try and keep it going."

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Dependable right back Russell Martin (hip) is Lambert's major injury concern for the trip to the Banks's Stadium. Zak Whitbread is in line to deputise after Lambert praised the American's impact on his home debut.

"We need to see how Russell is because he came off with a knock at half time that he picked up early," said Lambert. "He's is the only one at the minute but hopefully we'll be okay. He just got a bang on his hip really early on. Zak came on and was great and I thought the back three were excellent, considering Zak hasn't played for a long time, but we got on the front foot from the beginning of the second half and we started to create problems. We had to get that goal which is why we went three at the back and my view hasn't really changed from the weekend in that you have to win more games than not."

City's battling Brentford, display a week on from the emphatic Colchester rout, only served to underline Lambert's belief his squad share a collective sense of purpose.

"They don't surprise me but they seen to have a really great desire at the minute within themselves," he said. "The ability is always there, they have terrific ability, but it's getting the two of them together. If you get that and you can get the hunger then you can drive on - it's amazing where it can take you but for anyone at the game on Saturday the crowd were amazing as well.

"They play a big part because what happens sometimes in adversity is they get right on your side and you seem to find that extra bit. I think that's what happened on Saturday. The lads have turned it around themselves, no one else, they are the ones that go out and play every single week. As long as you can get effort from people then that is all I can ask."

Walsall officials are confident tonight's game will finally go ahead at the fourth time of asking. Temperatures were forecast to drop to freezing overnight but there has been a prolonged spell of wet weather across the West Midlands.

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