Norwich boss Lambert ready for Cardiff test
Norwich City boss Paul Lambert insists the Canaries have 'no trepidation' ahead of their pending cross-border trip to Championship title contenders Cardiff.
Lambert was part of a nationwide television audience who watched the Bluebirds dismantle fellow newly-promoted outfit Leeds 4-0 at Elland Road on Monday to move level on points at the top with QPR. City recently emerged unscathed from a league tussle in west London and Lambert is confident his men will again stand firm.
'No, I don't have any fear going there,' he said. 'I know full well how hard it is going to be. Looking at them the other night they were very, very good but as I have said before on any given day you can beat anyone over the course of the season. I don't think there is any question they will be there or thereabouts. Cardiff look strong but I know on our day we can match them, albeit it will be really, really tough. The way our lads are playing I don't have any fear as long as they can give me every bit of effort like they have done then hopefully we will be okay.'
Lambert was responding to questioning by supporters at a midweek open fans' forum held at Carrow Road. The City chief also delivered an upbeat injury bulletin on longer term absentees Andrew Surman (knee), Michael Nelson (ankle) and Zak Whitbread (calf).
'Andrew is doing really fine,' he said. 'His injury was a freak one. He just turned and his knee gave way. He's still a few weeks away but he is going to start running shortly and that is a big plus for us because I felt he got injured at the wrong time. I thought he was excellent against (Nottingham) Forest and it was that week he picked up the injury.
'I think he is going to be a really top player, Michael is running and training with the physio and Zak is really fine. Sometimes you can't legislate for injuries. People are just unlucky whereas other players go right through their careers without really being injured. Zak Whitbread will be a top player for this club. He just needs some luck. You see it with players who have injury after injury at one club and they go elsewhere and they get an injury-free run. Adam (Drury) is also hopefully back in the next three or four weeks. They are all big players for me. We have a lot of good youngsters here, but you need that experience.'
Lambert bolstered his central defence with the short term addition of West Brom's Leon Barnett after Nelson was ruled out. The Scot conceded to fans he would love to extend the athletic defender's stay into the New Year.
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'The way he has been playing with Elliott (Ward) is fantastic,' said Lambert. 'Everybody knows Leon is here on loan but if we could do something to keep him then, absolutely, I would look to keep the lad. What he is doing is playing really well for himself, which is great, because he will get the benefit of being with us. Sometimes when you get a loan you just don't know if they really care, but one thing about Leon he has been colossal for us and if we can do something then I will certainly speak to him about it.'