Defender Elliott Ward is walking a yellow card tightrope as Norwich City prepare for tomorrow’s Championship meeting with Bristol City at Ashton Gate (3pm).

With centre-backs Michael Nelson and Zak Whitbread still sidelined by injury, manager Paul Lambert has only one recognised central defender in reserve in Jens Berthel Askou.

But Lambert insists that Ward, ever-present so far this season, will just have to play his normal game.

He said: “Wardy has been excellent since he’s been here. Maybe in the Watford game, to be fair, he hadn’t trained much and we had to throw him in.

“Since Leon Barnett’s come in he’s been excellent and if he has to make a tackle tomorrow and he gets booked for it, so be it.

“He’s vital in the role he plays. In the centre-half area you have to have contact, but I hope he comes through the game without being booked.”

Even if Ward eventually faces a ban, Lambert is not unduly concerned because he said he had more than one option for a reshuffle at the back.

“I can put Russell Martin in there if I have to, which I did against Millwall (last season). I don’t have a problem with what happens,” he said.

Lambert reported no fresh injury worries for tomorrow’s clash as the third-placed Canaries bid for their third away victory of the season on a ground where they last won in 1980, but where the Robins have taken just one point from their first four home matches this season.

After the trip to Ashton Gate, there follows a fortnight’s break from Championship action before the visit to current leaders Queens Park Rangers on October 16.

“It’s the same as it was after the Forest game. Whatever happens tomorrow will never really change my mood swing. It’s part and parcel of the game that you have to go by the rules and international breaks are important, so I don’t really mind it,” said Lambert.