Lambert still pushing

PUBLISHED: 10:08 22 July 2010 | UPDATED: 17:25 10 September 2010

Norwich City striker Grant Holt is one of four first team players likely to miss tonight's pre-season friendly at newly- promoted Dagenham and Redbridge through injury.

Norwich City striker Grant Holt is one of four first team players likely to miss tonight's pre-season friendly at newly- promoted Dagenham and Redbridge through injury.

Norwich City boss Paul Lambert makes no apologies for pushing his players to the limit in order to prepare for the Championship. The goalless draw at Stevenage on Tuesday was the first of five pre-season games in 12 days for the Canaries, the second of which is against League One side Dagenham & Redbridge at Victoria Road tonight (7.

Norwich City boss Paul Lambert makes no apologies for pushing his players to the limit in order to prepare for the Championship.

The goalless draw at Stevenage on Tuesday was the first of five pre-season games in 12 days for the Canaries, the second of which is against League One side Dagenham & Redbridge at Victoria Road tonight (7.30pm).

“I've been involved in loads of games in pre-season. It's never easy because you're always training hard every day,” said Lambert.

“I'm asking the lads to go again to keep pushing themselves to the limit because once it kicks off that's what really matters.”

Lambert is already having to keep a check on his casualty list with four senior players missing the Stevenage game through injury.

Skipper Grant Holt, defenders Elliott Ward and Steven Smith, and midfielder Stephen Hughes were all absent from the squad on duty at Broadhall Way. A fifth member of the first team squad, Danish defender Jens Berthel Askou, has been given time with his wife, who is due to give birth soon.

Ward missed the opening pre-season match at Dereham with an Achilles problem and Lambert does not expect any of the injured quartet to be fit for tonight's game.

“Elliott's still got a bit of a knock but he's doing OK. Grant's the same, doing OK,” said Lambert.

“Stephen Hughes got a kick a few weeks ago and that's just flared up, and Steven Smith got hurt in Germany. He seems to be the longer one out of them all - that's four big players back home. Jens's wife is due a baby and we just have to monitor that and see what happens.”

Asked if any of the missing men would be available tonight, Lambert admitted: “I'm not so sure, it may be a bit early.”

The City boss, who used 22 players at Stevenage, was pleased with the performance - and another clean sheet. City finished the match with a completely different eleven to those who started it - after one change at half-time and 10 substitutions on the hour, including the introduction of youngsters Richard Brindley and Matthew Ball.

“We have to give them game time and Dagenham will be pretty similar. Slowly but surely we're getting there. It's a worthwhile exercise,” said Lambert. “Some are only young kids. I'm delighted with the way the club's going, delighted with the young ones coming through. We have to breed our own and I hope at certain times that's what will happen.”

Lambert was giving nothing away about his likely line-up for the opening Championship game at home to Watford on August 6, should he have a full squad fit and available.

“I know roughly what's going to happen but it's not about individuals, it's about the team - the team I think is best to play and I'll do that. That's what I've always done,” he said.

Admission for City fans at Dagenham tonight is £14 for adults, £8 for concessions and under-18s.

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