Norwich City seeking yet another best
Norwich will have to achieve a season's 'first' if they are to guarantee they go into the final game of the season in the driving seat.
The Canaries occupy the second automatic promotion spot, one point ahead of Cardiff City, thanks to a run of three wins in a row – which equals their best winning run of the campaign.
If they win at Portsmouth tonight it will be their best run of victories since the middle of last season when they turned the screw on the League One leaders Leeds and, on the back of eight consecutive wins, hauled back an eight-point deficit to go from third in the table to top by the end of January – a position they did not relinquish.
Only once before this season have the Canaries won three on the bounce – when they beat Coventry, Sheffield United and leaders QPR at the turn of the year.
Their record of not having lost back to back games under Lambert in the same season – better than any other team in the country – has continued and has ensured they have remained in the thick of the promotion battle.
City's best run has been a nine-game unbeaten stretch – which included five wins – starting with the victory against Reading on February 12 and ending when they thumped Scunthorpe 6-0 at the beginning of April.
However, the defeat that ended the sequence – a 3-0 reverse at Swansea – is the only time the Canaries have been beaten in the last 14 Championship games.
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It leaves Paul Lambert's team second in the current form table, covering the last six games, with only Cardiff ahead of them, by virtue of five wins and a draw in their last half a dozen outings.
City failed to score in just five matches this season – that's the best record in the Championship – and share a scoring record with their closest rivals, Ipswich Town, with both teams having scored six without reply this season. City did it at home to Scunthorpe, Ipswich did it away to Doncaster Rovers in February.
Once again, it's skipper Grant Holt who figures high in the division's scoring charts – and with two games remaining he could end up top of the pile. His 20 league goals is bettered only by Reading's Shane Long (21) and Watford's Danny Graham (24).
Carrow Road's average gate this season is 25,346 – the third highest in the country but, at 97.3pc capacity, the best percentage figure, ahead of main rivals Cardiff City.
Lambert's men are the highest scorers in the division, with 80 goals in 44 games – that's 1.81 goals per game – although the goals against column is only ninth best, at 56, with 10 clean sheets the 14th best record in the division – the figures a result of the team's attacking policy.
And the resolve appears to have grown as the season has gone on – City's worst run has been two defeats in the space of three games; that has happened just twice, but not since the end of October. And of the eight league defeats, on only two occasions have the Canaries not hit back with a victory.