Paddy Davitt, EDP Sports Writer
Friday, March 9, 2012
Paul Lambert insists confidence remains high ahead of Norwich’s bid to halt a run of three defeats in Sunday’s Premier League battle against struggling Wigan.
City headed to warmer climes in southern Spain this week to prepare for the final run-in and Lambert believes a change of scene can strengthen’s the club’s bid to avoid becoming embroiled in any late season drama at the wrong end of the table.
“Yeah, we went away. The lads worked really hard and we hope they come back refreshed and are ready for Sunday,” said Lambert. “We did it last year as well, came back and I felt it was a major help to us. I think the weather has been really poor here, they went and got some sun but they worked really hard – which is the most important thing.
“Listen, defeats can can happen. Especially in this league. We played really well against Manchester United and lost at the death. At Stoke we never looked like scoring but neither did they and that had 0-0 all over it. There is certainly no issue with confidence. We will re-group. The pressure is always here. It’s only pressure if you put it on yourself.”
Marc Tierney (knee) and James Vaughan (hamstring) remain on the sidelines, along with centre back Dani Ayala, who did travel to his homeland but has suffered a reaction to his fitness comeback from a hamstring injury suffered against Bolton.
“Daniel just felt a little thing but he did a bit of work when we went over to Spain,” said Lambert. “He is doing fine, but he is not under consideration for this one. We haven’t got any fresh injuries from the Stoke game.
“This is a tough game and no-one should be under any illusions that it is one of the hardest ones we face because everyone expects Wigan to turn up, being bottom of the league, and lose. That is everybody’s perception of the game but I know in my own head how tough it is going to be. It’s the same whether you play a team at the top or the bottom – you try to win.”
Lambert also confirmed striker Steve Morison had been struggling with a recent ankle problem which forced him to take pain-killing injections last month. The Welsh international has found himself behind Aaron Wilbraham in the pecking order over the past few weeks.
January arrivals Jonny Howson and Ryan Bennett are both available again after being part of the matchday squad at Stoke last weekend. Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson earlier this week reiterated he was hopeful of a potential defensive loan from the Canaries following Bennett’s completed London Road switch. Lambert insists City’s defensive injuries make that a non starter.
“I spoke to him a few weeks ago. I spoke to Darren and told him the situation with our centre halves, so he knows,” he said. “Loaning them a defender was not part of the deal. We never had any option to let anybody out of the door because of the injury situation and it is still the same. We haven’t got any spare players because we have injuries so who could I let out?”