Lambert hails ton-derful Otsemobor
David Cuffley Defender Jon Otsemobor clocks up his century as Norwich City bid to maintain their promotion push at Southampton tomorrow. The Canaries' full-back is set to make his 100th senior appearance for the club in the League One fixture at St Mary's Stadium (3pm).
Defender Jon Otsemobor clocks up his century as Norwich City bid to maintain their promotion push at Southampton tomorrow.
The Canaries' full-back is set to make his 100th senior appearance for the club in the League One fixture at St Mary's Stadium (3pm).
Otsemobor completed his first full 90 minutes for nearly four weeks in last week's 2-0 home victory over Tranmere Rovers, in a season punctuated by injury problems.
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Manager Paul Lambert was pleased to see the former Liverpool and Crewe man back in action, four days after he played nearly an hour of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy tie at Swindon.
“Jon has done really well for me,” said Lambert. “Considering what happened in the first game against Colchester, when you make a mistake it can affect your confidence, but I've been pleased with him.
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“It's been a bit stop-start for him because of the injuries but he has done fine for me.”
Otsemobor, 26, who joined City on a three-year contract from Crewe in the summer of 2007, scored in Lambert's first game in charge, the 5-2 home win over Wycombe.
But he has twice since been sidelined by hamstring trouble - first when he was forced off in the 1-1 draw at Gillingham, then suffering a recurrence in the 2-1 defeat at Leeds, and has appeared in only 12 of City's 22 games in all competitions this season.
Michael Spillane and George Francomb, both of whom deputised at right-back, are currently out with injuries of their own.
Lambert, meanwhile, today extended goalkeeper Fraser Forster's loan deal to the end of the season.
Michael Theoklitos looks set to continue on the bench tomorrow with 18-year-old Declan Rudd still troubled by a knee injury sustained in training - though Lambert said the problem was not as serious as first feared and he could be back in a few weeks.
He said: “Thankfully, the news on Declan is a little better than we first thought it would be. With a bit of luck he'll be back in a few weeks.”
With no fresh injury worries from the Tranmere game, fifth-placed City look likely to be unchanged against the Saints, who were beaten 3-1 at home by Brighton last Sunday.
Leading the two attacks will be former Rochdale team-mates Grant Holt, City skipper, and Rickie Lambert - but manager Lambert does not think the contest will boil down to the battle of the two 14-goal strikers.
“I don't think that rivalry will have an impact on the game itself. Grant's main aim will be his input into the team,” said the City boss.
Still sidelined for City by injury are Owain Tudur Jones (groin strain), Matthew Gill (calf) and Luke Daley (thigh).
For Southampton, Wayne Thomas, who replaced the on-loan Neal Trotman at half-time against Brighton, could keep his place in the centre of defence.
Midfielder Paul Wotton suffered a knock in training this week but should figure in the squad, while defender Graeme Murty could force his way on to the bench after being sidelined since August by a knee injury.
The former Reading skipper played 60 minutes for the reserves in midweek and scored a 40-yard screamer in a 2-1 win over Bristol City.
The Saints, saddled with a 10-point deduction after going into administration towards the end of last season, are expecting one of their biggest attendances of the season tomorrow.
The defeat by Brighton attracted their top gate of the campaign of 21,932 and another 21,000-plus gate is expected.
The Saints' average league attendance is up more than 10 per cent on last season at just below 20,000, but is still more than 4,000 behind the Canaries.