Paul Lambert guarded over Norwich City skipper Grant Holt
Paul Lambert was once again keeping his cards close to his chest over the fitness of skipper Grant Holt ahead of Norwich City's highly anticipated East Anglian derby clash at Portman Road on Thursday (7.45pm).
City's leading scorer played through the pain barrier with a slight hamstring tear in the 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest, an injury he suffered in the previous 2-2 draw at Watford.
And while most expect Holt will be fit to face Ipswich Town, who Holt scored a hat-trick against in November's 4-1 win, Lambert was intent on keeping City's arch rivals guessing.
'Don't know, wait and see – well I'm not going to tell you, am I?' said the City boss when asked about his 22-goal striker.
The game could also be the last of Sam Vokes' loan spell from Wolves, after manager Mick McCarthy suggested he may recall the forward to help out his Premier League strugglers – something he can only do after Thursday.
However, Lambert is yet to take a phone call from his opposite number at Molineux.
'I haven't heard anything from Mick,' said Lambert. 'Sam is Wolves' player and if Mick phones me there is nothing I can do. You've got to respect what they want to happen and Mick's been good enough to let him come in the first place.
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'I don't have a problem if Mick calls me whenever, that's what happens when you loan players. We needed somebody and Sam fell in our lap.'
The good news is Chris Martin played in a behind closed doors friendly during the week and could be considered for a return to the bench after two months out with a hamstring injury.
'He's only played 70 minutes the other day in over two months, so it's a big, big ask that (for him to return), but he's doing OK,' said Lambert. 'I think he's fully recovered from it, it's just a lack of matches that's a bit of a concern.'
Lambert reiterated there is no chance either Leon Barnett and Aaron Wilbraham will be seen again this season, as they continue to recover from long-term injuries.
However, Oli Johnson has returned from a loan spell at Yeovil, where he scored three goals in 17 appearances – although it would be a surprise if he was involved at Ipswich – while Tom Adeyemi is back at Colney receiving treatment for a thigh injury, but is set to continue his loan at Bradford before the end of the season.
'You know he can play the game, Oli, and he did really fine at Yeovil – that was the main objective, to get him games,' added Lambert.