All Lambert wants for Christmas is three more points
Chris Lakey The two most potent attacking forces in English football go head to head at Carrow Road this afternoon.City and Huddersfield have each scored 45 league goals this season, putting the multi-million attackers of the Premier League firmly in the shade.
The two most potent attacking forces in English football go head to head at Carrow Road this afternoon.
City and Huddersfield have each scored 45 league goals this season, putting the multi-million attackers of the Premier League firmly in the shade.
Grant Holt leads the way for City, with 13 in 21 starts - and 19 in all competitions - while Ipswich reject Jordan Rhodes will be hoping to add to his tally of 11 in 19 starts and 15 all told.
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If the formbook is true, then it promises to be a pre-Christmas cracker - but Canaries boss Paul Lambert would swap the promise of an early treat for the comfort of three more points to put into the promotion bank.
“They play open, which is great for us, and the way we play the game, we are direct every time we go forward,” said Lambert.
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“It should be open - but it doesn't matter how many times you say that it should be a cracking game, it often doesn't live up to people's expectations. That happens a lot.
“But the most important thing is if we try and keep our form and try and win the game. We are at home and the crowd will drive us on and hopefully we will win it.
“As long as we win the game, that's the most important thing.
“Huddersfield are a good side and up there on merit and we will need to play well to win, but we're playing well enough to win.”
City are third in the table and have two home games over the Christmas period which, if all goes to plan, should consolidate their play-off place.
The intention then is to sit on the shoulders of the front two before launching a Manchester United-style drive in the final quarter of the campaign.
“There was a point when we came in, now we've got 39 so if you can keep in there up until January time and then you go for the push later on, then you drive on,” said Lambert.
The promotion and play-off places have been occupied by a hardcore of arguably five teams, with another four yo-yoing in and out - and Lambert believes there will be a dark horse coming through on the rails before next May.
“You will get the odd surprise that will get through, you always do, but from my own point of view we have to try and catch the two above us,” he said.
“If we can do that then great.”
Victory for City over fifth-placed Huddersfield would give Lambert a welcome success against one of the leading sides.
City have been beaten by Leeds and MK Dons and drew at home to Charlton, although they did thump Bristol Rovers 5-1.
“To be fair the games we have played, Leeds that was just a freak, Charlton, we did great considering we were 2-0 down and they were flying at that time, MK Dons we lost three players - things have gone against us,” Lambert said.
“Bristol Rovers were in it and we beat them. It's hard to judge - the games we lost we were unlucky, I never came away thinking we deserved to get beaten.
“Do our lads have a point to prove to anybody now? No, not really.”
City's form is impressive - they are unbeaten in their last eight league games and have won their last six at Carrow Road.
And with the Johnstone's Paint Trophy exit at Southampton on Tuesday, the league is now the only competition City are in.
Some managers would prefer the simplicity of one objective, but not Lambert.
“I would rather be in it than not be in it,” he said. “Sometimes you need a bit of Lady Luck on your side and we never had it.
“I wouldn't sit here and say I'm glad I'm out of it, not at all. I want to win as many games as we can. We're out and you can't change it - but I have got a really good side, that's for sure.
“Everybody knows I think that we were the better side (at Southampton).
“I have great belief in the lads that tomorrow or whenever we play we can win most games. The confidence is high at the minute. I know confidence can quickly go, but since I've been here we have played at a really high standard of football.
“The pleasing thing is the reaction of the crowd. The fans tell you a lot, how players are performing, how they're playing.
“Whether I am here one year, two years, three years, whoever sits here next, what a club it is because of that fan base.
“It's brilliant, really brilliant.”