Lambert hoping for some space to exploit

PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 February 2010 | UPDATED: 17:02 10 September 2010

Two goal-scoring machines go head-to-head at Carrow Road this afternoon when, for the first time this season, the Canaries are in the box seat in the League One promotion race.

Two goal-scoring machines go head-to-head at Carrow Road this afternoon when, for the first time this season, the Canaries are in the box seat in the League One promotion race.

Games in hand can all be won and still City won't be knocked off their position at the top of the pile, even if they fail to beat Southampton today.

City have yet to beat the Saints in two attempts this season, after a pair of 2-2 draws in the league and the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on the south coast. The big test for Alan Pardew's side is whether they can breach Fortress Carrow Road - and much will depend on a strike force which is as lauded and as dangerous as City's.

For Grant Holt, Chris Martin and Wes Hoolahan, read Rickie Lambert, Lee Barnard and Adam Lallana. Both Holy Trinities have contributed 56 goals to their respective causes - and the obvious conclusion is that this afternoon's encounter will be a classic.

Certainly Southampton's “open approach” should suit City, Hoolahan in particular.

“You'd like to think there would be a bit more space and that's the thing you have to try and exploit and they know and we know we have good players who can hurt them,” said Lambert. “We also know they have got really good players who can hurt us if we're not on our game.”

All eyes will be on the goal grabbers, but Lambert played it straight down the middle when asked the obvious: are your three better than their three?

“I know in my own head,” he said. “I have great belief in my lads that they will go out and produce what they've been doing before.

“Sometimes when people put the hype on the lads to go and produce it doesn't really happen. On this given day we have to hope that our lads will do what they've been doing throughout the season. I think they have nearly 50 league goals between them which is incredible.”

Lambert added: “We don't play defensive football. You have got to defend your goal and do all the right things. But we know we have got to try and win a game and the best way to do that is to try and get on the front foot and get the crowd behind us and that's what we will try and do.”

City haven't played at home this month and Lambert expects his side to give a full house value for money.

“We've been on the road for a spell and it's always good to play at home,” he said. “The game will raise itself, that's always the case. When you play at home and you have that amount of people watching you, you have got to try and entertain them, you have got to try and win games and you have to get them on your side.”

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