Whitbread and McDonald out of Brighton clash

David CuffleyDefender Zak Whitbread's hopes of forcing his way into the Norwich City starting line-up have been hit by injury. The 25-year-old centre-back has made three appearances for the Canaries as substitute since his January move from Millwall.David Cuffley

Defender Zak Whitbread's hopes of forcing his way into the Norwich City starting line-up have been hit by injury.

The 25-year-old centre-back has made three appearances for the Canaries as substitute since his January move from Millwall.

But in his brief outing against his former club last week, Whitbread suffered a calf injury that rules him out of the League One leaders' trip to Brighton & Hove Albion tomorrow (3pm).

Striker Cody McDonald is also out of action with a thigh muscle injury. Both players could be sidelined for a few weeks.


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'Zak will be out for a little bit and so will Cody. Zak's got a problem with his calf at the minute and Cody's got a problem with his thigh,' said manager Paul Lambert. 'We don't know exactly how long.'

Defensive pair Jens Berthel Askou and Michael Spillane each played an hour of Wednesday's reserve match against Ipswich at Carrow Road, but Spillane - who was in the travelling party for Millwall without making the bench - appears the more likely of the two to be among the substitutes tomorrow if Whitbread is ruled out.

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'Michael has done more training than Jens and looking at Jens he is still a wee bit away. They did great but they've both been out a long time,' said Lambert.

But 23-goal skipper Grant Holt is ready to return in attack after completing a three-match ban for his sending-off against Brentford.

Lambert believes Holt's return is a 'huge' boost to the Canaries as they bid to bounce back from their 2-1 defeat by the Lions, which ended a 16-match unbeaten league run and a sequence of eight straight wins.

In his Evening News column tonight, Lambert said: 'The mood has been exactly the same in training this week as it was when we were winning those eight games in a row.

'What the lads achieved leading up to last Saturday's game was remarkable but no team on earth can hope to win every single game.'

Brighton have won just twice at home in League One this season and have scored only once in their past six home matches, but were considered unlucky not to collect all three points at home to Huddersfield on Tuesday in a game that finished 0-0.

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