Swindon keeper - Rivals now playing for second
Michael BaileySwindon Town will tomorrow face the team they hope to join in the Championship next season, according to goalkeeper David Lucas. League One leaders Norwich City head to the County Ground tomorrow looking to maintain their title charge after a thrilling win at Huddersfield ended the division's only unbeaten home record.Michael Bailey
Swindon Town will tomorrow face the team they hope to join in the Championship next season, according to goalkeeper David Lucas.
League One leaders Norwich City head to the County Ground tomorrow looking to maintain their title charge after a thrilling win at Huddersfield ended the division's only unbeaten home record.
City sit seven points clear of second- placed Leeds and 12 ahead of Charlton and Swindon, third and fourth respectively, and Lucas - who joined the Robins from Elland Road in the summer - thinks the race is on for who will join the Canaries in the second tier in August.
'Yes, to be honest no one is even mentioning Norwich but we've said second place is achievable,' said Lucas. 'I don't think anyone is that misty eyed to think we could win the league, but Saturday is a big game for us and if we could sneak a win it would be magic.
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'The combination of Norwich being in the position they are and the actual team they are, you can't really see them losing too many games between now and the end of the season - especially because they haven't lost too many games during it!'
The 32-year-old former Preston stopper played in Town's drab 1-0 defeat at Carrow Road, in October, but a hamstring strain in the recent win at Brighton saw Lucas sit out Swindon's excellent 1-0 victory with 10 men at Southampton in midweek.
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In fact, Town have lost just twice in 18 league matches - one being the shock 4-0 home defeat by Bristol Rovers.
Lucas is hoping to be back in training today and available for Norwich's visit - the side he believes is the best in League One.
'We are all on a high around the club after midweek,' said Lucas. 'Just around the club, everyone feels more relaxed and everyone enjoys training a bit more off the back of two good wins, and hopefully the win at Brighton is just as important as at St Mary's.
'I think even when we played Norwich at Carrow Road earlier on in the season, most of the lads were in agreement that they were probably the best team we'd played up to that point, and even since then with the football they've played I would say they are in a deserved position.
'But especially with us at home - apart from the Bristol Rovers game, where it was just one of those days - we've beaten Huddersfield, Southampton and Leeds here, so we've done probably as much as you can do at home to give yourself confidence.
'I think we usually tend to be at our best against the bigger teams, so hopefully that will continue. It will be a great atmosphere and things are going well. We're being mentioned with the automatic promotion contenders and perhaps with a bit more optimism than 10 days ago when we'd lost a couple of games.
'But at this time of the season all games are equally important and you've got to keep on it, otherwise you can come a cropper.'
Lucas moved as a free agent from Leeds in the summer and admits he hopes his former team-mates, at one time seemingly destined to be runaway champions, end up blowing their season.
'Yes, but only from my own personal selfish reasons, not for any detrimental reasons for Leeds - just because if they do we can be the team that capitalises on it,' he said.
'There's absolutely no nastiness associated with that, it's just I want my team to go on and achieve something.'
And Lucas believes Norwich's closest title challengers will be looking over the shoulders after their indifferent form, rather than to closing the gap on City.
'To be honest it's human nature to be worried if you do stutter or start to lose games, and it's the exact opposite if you're winning games like Norwich are at the minute,' said Lucas.
'Norwich are probably used to winning every week, whereas if you're losing every week it can affect your whole mindset - and it can be twice as hard to get out of.'