Paul Lambert - No Premier League points target set for Norwich City’s survival

Paul Lambert is refusing to set a 40 point Premier League target for survival - but the City boss has done his sums ahead of the run-in.

Lambert's immediate priority is plotting Newcastle's downfall in Sunday's televised encounter. Norwich go into the weekend on 36 points - currently 14 points clear of the bottom three - and Lambert is prepared to concede the strugglers below the waterline face a major uphill battle to overhaul his men.

'We don't know if that is going to be the mark this season,' said Lambert, on Friday morning at his pre-match press briefing. 'You could see last season it was around that figure because the bottom teams were close to the middle teams. This year there is a bit of daylight. With ten games to go there will be points won and dropped all over the place. We've dropped a few points recently but that is not a major crisis for me. We've got a really healthy lead and you look at the games that some teams have to play there are some really tough games. We are no different to anybody else.'

Midfielder Jonny Howson returns to the squad after missing last weekend's Wigan draw with a virus. Defenders Marc Tierney and Daniel Ayala are poised to return to first team training next week but injured striker James Vaughan (hamstring) is still ruled out. Lambert expects a trip to the north-east to be every bit as hard as last weekend's battle against Wigan.

'The reason I said about the Wigan game (being tough) is because of where they were sitting. I knew it would be tough game and that is how it proved to be,' he said. 'I knew the expectancy level would be high, but that is not how football works. Sunday is a different game. No-one probably expects us to go up there and win. The lads are looking forward to it, it's a massive crowd. We've been to big grounds before and we're not going to be frightened by it, that is for sure. It is a really passionate football crowd. They will get right behind their team and we have to try and turn that right around.'