Big four can't complain - Lambert
David Cuffley How are the mighty fallen - and none mightier in League One than Leeds United. But as Norwich City bid to extend their unbeaten run to six league games in Monday’s televised match at Elland Road (7.45pm), manager Paul Lambert believes none of the division’s former Premier League outfits can grumble about their current status, and that includes the Canaries.
How are the mighty fallen - and none mightier in League One than Leeds United.
But as Norwich City bid to extend their unbeaten run to six league games in Monday's televised match at Elland Road (7.45pm), manager Paul Lambert believes none of the division's former Premier League outfits can grumble about their current status, and that includes the Canaries.
Leeds' fall from close to the summit of English football has been most dramatic of all. Champions League semi-finalists as recently as 2001, they were still in the top flight in 2004, and were a Championship club until 2007.
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Two seasons in a row they have failed to get out of the third tier - beaten in the play-offs on each occasion - but they have given themselves a head start in their bid to make it third time lucky this season, as the only unbeaten side left in the four divisions after 11 games.
Lambert acknowledges that Leeds are top of the table on merit, and that Simon Grayson's team will present “really, really tough” opposition for the sixth-placed Canaries, but says League One's best-supported quartet are where they deserve to be on the football ladder - even if fans regard them as too big for third-flight football.
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“You could say the same about Norwich, Charlton and Southampton,” said Lambert. “They are massive, massive football clubs who have found their way into effectively the third division of English football. So yes, it's a fall from grace.
“But you are where you are for a reason, not through anything else other than things that went wrong in that particular time - Leeds United, Norwich City, Charlton, Southampton, huge, huge football clubs in League One football.
“Things have happened previously and the current managers just try to do their best to get them back into the top flight.”
Leeds, beset by injuries, are bidding to sign striker Sam Vokes on loan from Wolves in time for Monday night's game.
United are understood to have bid for the 20-year-old forward after losing Luciano Becchio to an ankle ligament injury at the start of the month.