Norwich City boss Lambert to fight fire with fire
Norwich City boss Paul Lambert has ruled out any inferiority complex when his Canaries bid to dent Championship leaders QPR's promotion bid today at Loftus Road.
Lambert is fully briefed on the challenge that lies ahead in west London against a home side:
• Six points clear of second placed Cardiff
• 13 points from a possible 15 points at home this season
• Yet to concede a league goal in front of their own fans
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The Canaries' chief insists his men can draw strength from their own 3,000 strong travelling army for a game even the understated Scot acknowledges is a bit special.
'It is a big match,' he said. 'You don't need to be a rocket scientist to say that when you see where they are sitting and the way they have played. They are on the top on merit. It's an incredibly tough one but I'll keep saying it, we've earned the right to be in this league although I'm under no illusions. Once we get nearer the ground we'll all sense it's a big game. They haven't conceded this season in the league at home, but we know we can't sit and defend. We have to go and attack and that is the way I've always played since I have been here.
'We have an unbelievable crowd ourselves going to the game and we have to give them something to get everything going. I always think we have to go on the front foot. We'll try and play our game. Yes, we'll have to defend for our lives and take the chances that come our way but I have great confidence in the lads that we will give as good as we get.'
Lambert knows he faces a worthy adversary across his technical area in experienced operator Neil Warnock.
'He's done a brilliant job and for me he has been a brilliant manager right the way through and the clubs he has been at,' he said. 'He's been in the game a lot longer than I have but you can't fault what Neil Warnock has done in his managerial career. He knows this league and what it takes to get out of it. They have the financial backing and all that sort of thing but you still have to get them up there and that is what he has done.
'I'm not envious. It's everybody's prerogative and you can only work with what you have got. With the group of lads we have got, one thing is for sure they have a great desire to try and win a football game and if we get the spirit and the workrate right we'll be okay.'
Warnock was able to recruit an array of attacking talent during the summer with Adel Taarabt, Rob Hulse and Tommy Smith all boasting top flight experience but Lambert's own signature signing Simeon Jackson continues to impress. The Canadian followed up his Bristol City brace with an eye-catching strike for his country in a 2-2 friendly against Ukraine during the international fortnight.
'Strikers feed off goals for confidence and you could see it in training when he came back. He is flying right now,' said Lambert. 'The two goals against Bristol were top class and to go away and score for the international team was great. We're only ten games gone in this league so it's hard to say if he has handled the step up. I know he has had to be patient because of the way Chrissy (Martin) and Grant (Holt) have been playing. It was hard for him to get in but he has taken his chance.
'He is different because he is one with a bit of pace we can play up there. Chrissy is an unbelievable finisher and Grant takes the hits so they are all different. Oli (Johnson) can also come on and be unpredictable and do something different. We have quite a good mix.'
Lambert confirmed both Jackson and Welsh midfielder Andrew Crofts emerged unscathed from international duty. Adam Drury (hamstring) has also been passed fit after picking up a niggle in the warm up at Bristol City. Longer term absentees Michael Nelson and Zak Whitbread are making progress.
'They are in the gym training but we are not going to rush them back,' said Lambert. 'Adam is okay. He has trained since and seems okay. We couldn't risk him at Bristol because if we had he could have been out for a number of weeks.'