Norwich City boss Lambert boosted by Ward return

Norwich boss Paul Lambert revealed a double injury boost on the eve of his side's Premier League trip to Everton with long term absentees Elliott Ward and Korey Smith both ready to re-join training.

Ward has yet to feature in the Canaries' top flight campaign after injuring his knee on the club's pre-season tour to Germany. Young midfielder Smith was forced to undergo ankle surgery that was set to sideline him until the New Year, but Lambert confirmed at his Friday morning pre-match press call the the duo are now poised to return. The latest positive injury bulletin comes with striker James Vaughan currently in America to step up his rehabilitation work on a cruciate knee ligament injury.

The City chief reported no fresh injury concerns for the trip to Goodison Park with only Ritchie De Laet (back) again ruled out from the squad that beat Newcastle 4-2 at Carrow Road last weekend.

'Zak (Whitbread) had no reaction to playing in that game so he is fit and fine,' said Lambert. 'He was just really tired, which we thought he would be after not playing for such a long time. I thought he did really well for us, just fatigue set in which is why we took him off. Ritchie hasn't trained so it will be next week before he probably starts again. He is doing okay. Wardy, hopefully, will start on Monday. Korey is doing alright and he will start next week as well so we are starting to get one or two back now. Russell (Martin) took a whack (against Newcastle) but he is okay.'

Lambert has to factor in potentially juggling his playing resources for two games in the space of three days with City heading to Wolves next Tuesday after tackling the Toffees this weekend.

'We might have to do that. It's a possibility that I am pretty sure will happen,' said Lambert. 'Then after those two we have to play Tottenham and QPR. It's an incredible hard time that to turn things around so I am pretty sure we will have to utilise everybody.'