Doherty's presence will be missed on Boxing Day

One Christmas card too many for Gary Doherty could leave Norwich City manager Paul Lambert with a big defensive headache for the Boxing Day home game against Millwall.

One Christmas card too many for Gary Doherty could leave Norwich City manager Paul Lambert with a big defensive headache for the Boxing Day home game against Millwall.

Centre-back Doherty scored his fourth goal in three matches to wrap up the Canaries' festive gift to the fans - a 3-0 victory over League One promotion rivals Huddersfield Town.

But he also collected his third yellow card in eight days, making it five for the season and, subject to FA confirmation, a one-match ban for the sell-out game against the Lions at Carrow Road on Saturday (12.45pm).

With Danish defender Jens Berthel Askou missing the last two matches with a foot injury and Michael Spillane out of action since October with a hamstring problem, Lambert may have to field a new central defensive combination for the first of two matches in three days over the Christmas weekend.


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Askou's chances of returning are uncertain - “We just have to wait and see,” said Lambert - while Doherty's value to the side was underlined when he said: “Since he's been back in the team he's been different class. His performances have been terrific.”

Doherty's booking, for a foul on Huddersfield striker Jordan Rhodes, followed cautions at Yeovil and Southampton, and the ban comes at a time when he has been producing some of his best football, not least in front of goal.

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“It's great at the minute. I'm just happy,” he said after thumping in the third goal against Huddersfield.

“It seems to be dropping for me in the box at the minute and thankfully I'm putting them away so I'm over the moon.

“It's always nice to score in front of your home fans because the last three have been away from home so it's great to get a goal. It was the third goal so it put the cherry on the cake.

“I'm just hoping it's going to keep going because we're having a successful season at the minute. All the fans are buzzing and all the players are buzzing.”

Doherty admitted City were below par in the first half.

He said: “I don't know if it was tiredness or being mentally tired but we seemed to let them have a little bit too much of the ball.

“That was a bit of a worry but in the second half we pressed them a bit higher and forced them into one or two mistakes and that's how we got the goals.

“We struggled for some reason in the first half but in the second half I thought as soon as we got our goal we played some great stuff and ran out comfortable winners.”

Lambert admitted he was “a bit more hopeful” that midfielder Korey Smith would be available to face Millwall after missing two matches with a thigh strain, though second-half substitute Stephen Hughes' display against Huddersfield may make it harder for Smith to regain his place.

“When you're out of the team and the team wins, you have to wait and be patient,” said Lambert.

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