No surprise at Whitbread’s call-up
City boss Paul Lambert says Zak Whitbread's call-up to the US national side came as no surprise.
The centre-half has finally shaken off an injury-plagued first 12 months at Carrow Road to claim a regular starting place for the first time – thanks to a sequence of top-drawer performances.
'I never doubted Zak,' said Lambert, who signed the 27-year-old from Millwall in January last year.
'Everybody else doubted him because they never saw him play, but I knew what he was like. I knew in the back of my mind there was a chance he could get called up, I thought that weeks ago the way he was playing.
'It's like any player who gets called up – it is a great honour.' Whitbread – born in Houston, Texas, but brought up in Liverpool – has featured at Under-20 level, but the call-up for matches against Argentina and Paraguay is his first at senior level.
With Andrew Crofts on Wales duty, Henri Lansbury with England Under-21s and Simeon Jackson likely to be away with Canada, Lambert admits he has to keep his fingers crossed when so many players are away.
'You have to – that's all you can do,' he said.
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Most of the rest of the squad have a two-week break, but Lambert says the fact that any momentum could be affected is not a concern.
'I don't lose sleep on that,' he said. 'I can't change the rule, the rule is always there. It doesn't matter.'
The main concern is today's trip to Hull, where City's hosts have a peculiar record – no teams outside of the bottom three have won fewer games than Hull, who have six home victories from 18 games at the KC Stadium. Their home tally of 14 goals is the worst in the division, although only Swansea can better their goals against record – just 11 conceded. The fact Hull are still in with a shout of a play-off place is down to their away form – with Norwich, Swansea and Cardiff they have eight away victories, the best in the division.
'They are still a really good side,' said Lambert.