Lambert: Now is when we need you

The day football is played on paper will be the day Norwich City fans can turn up at Carrow Road and sit impatiently waiting for a win.

It did not happen when bottom side Preston left with a point thanks to 'that' Wes Hoolahan penalty. It was the same story a couple of weeks earlier, when a depleted Doncaster Rovers – who had asked for the game to be postponed – grabbed a late equaliser to leave some in a frustrated home crowd venting their feelings.

Today it is Scunthorpe United. On paper, the game has home win written all over it. The Iron have lost every one of their eight away fixtures in 2011, scoring just once, and sit firmly in the relegation mire.

Meanwhile, the Canaries have lost just once in 17 matches and are occupying the Championship's second automatic promotion spot.

But when it comes to game time this afternoon and the first of eight games that could miraculously fire Norwich City back to the big time, manager Paul Lambert wants the 25,000-odd home fans to remember their side needs them now more than ever.


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'I think they realised after the Doncaster game that if you're going to boo, then it's going to hinder us at this stage,' said Lambert.

'Don't expect Scunthorpe to just come here and lie down and let us turn them over – it's a really tough game. But I think the fans against Bristol City (Norwich's 3-1 home win on March 12) was probably one of the best there has been in my time here, the atmosphere.

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'We need it like that, no matter what, because Scunthorpe will have a bit of the ball so it's important people don't get anxious and hopefully they come the way they did against Bristol City, which I'm pretty sure they will.

'They learned that from the Doncaster game, that when you're critical of the team and it's not going well that the lads need them more than ever.

'And they will need them against Scunthorpe, they will definitely need the crowd. It goes without saying. If the two of them stick together then they have got a better a chance of achieving something than not.'

One thing today's visitors will be hoping for is a healthy dose of new manager syndrome – Alan Knill takes to the dug-out for the first time since quitting Bury, although he will not pick this afternoon's Iron side.

'I know Alan from being at Wycombe and he did great at Bury,' said Lambert. 'You'd have to ask them if it gives them a lift; we can only look after ourselves and try and worry about that.

'Sometimes you do try (and raise your game) and sometimes you get turned over by a better team, and you have to put your hands up and say you were beaten by the better side.

'We are playing really well at the minute – Scunthorpe will know that – we are at home and we are in that position where we want to try and do something. They are fighting for their lives to try and stay in it, but they will also know this is a hard, hard game for them.'

What City fans will be waiting for today is a first glimpse in yellow of loan signings Sam Vokes and Dani Pacheco, following their arrivals 11 days ago.

Both have been 'very good' in training according to Lambert, and may well feature at some point against Scunthorpe.

The excitement surrounding Spanish Under-21 forward Pacheco in particular has been palpable, but given his loan spell at Norwich is a first for the pint-sized 20-year-old Liverpool and former Barcelona man, Lambert hopes fans' expectations will come with a dollop of patience.

'He's only a kid so people shouldn't expect I have signed Lionel Messi, because I haven't,' said Lambert. 'It's his first time out on loan, so everybody has got to get it in their heads right away he's not going to come in and be this kid that is going to be a wonder.

'He has not played many games for Liverpool and in that environment, with the players you've got there, it's hard to break into their side.

'But I've seen enough to think we might get something different from him.'

Not that the Norwich boss has any worries over Pacheco dealing with the rigours of Championship football: 'None at all – he's got a bad habit of controlling the ball; he certainly can pass it and control it.

'Listen, nobody will have known him let alone be able to spell his name. Let's just let the lad go and play.'

Most Liverpool fans rate Pacheco so highly they have been disappointed not to see him add to his five appearances at Anfield this season: 'That probably doesn't help us because the Norwich fans will no doubt think the same, but nobody has seen him play, so that puts an unfair expectancy level on Dani,' said Lambert. 'People shouldn't get this perception that this lad is the major signing that is going to… he's here to give us a hand which we needed.

'Yes he'll make mistakes, like everybody else, but hopefully he'll give us something different.'

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