Lambert out to heal pain
David Cuffley Manager Paul Lambert admits Norwich City have to heal old wounds in their vital promotion encounter at Charlton tomorrow - even though he didn't experience one of the club's worst days.
Manager Paul Lambert admits Norwich City have to heal old wounds in their vital promotion encounter at Charlton tomorrow - even though he didn't experience one of the club's worst days.
The Canaries go to The Valley (3pm), scene of the 4-2 defeat that condemned them to relegation from the Championship on the last day of last season, in a much healthier state, six points clear at the top of League One with four matches to play.
A favourable set of results from the weekend programme, which gets under way when third-placed Millwall visit sixth-placed Huddersfield tonight, could even see City clinch promotion tomorrow if they beat Charlton, who are fourth in the table.
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After a second successive away defeat, at Leyton Orient on Tuesday, Lambert believes his players can bounce back in a fixture which, on paper, ought to be more difficult than their trip to Brisbane Road.
They have yet to lose two successive league matches this season - and now is not the time to lose that distinction.
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In his Evening News column tonight, he says: “Games against the top teams have brought out the best in us this season and we will have another big following at The Valley.
“The club's last visit to Charlton was not a happy occasion and I am sure the fans and some of the players there that day will reflect on what happened last year and feel we have to put it right tomorrow.
“Even though it was before we came in and a lot of the current players didn't play in that game, what happened last year still rankles with supporters and we want to put that right.”
City are likely to have four survivors from the eleven who started the game at The Valley nearly 12 months ago - defender Gary Doherty and midfield trio Darel Russell, Korey Smith and Simon Lappin.
Skipper Grant Holt, who scored a stoppage-time equaliser in the 2-2 draw against Charlton, completes a two-match ban, while influential forward Wes Hoolahan is still a doubtful starter with a thigh strain.
“He did a bit of running yesterday so we'll see how he feels this morning,” said Lambert.
“I have to wait and see how he's feeling himself - he's doing OK. I can't tell how anybody's going to heal, so we'll just monitor him.”
Charlton, meanwhile, could have striker Deon Burton back in their squad - the man who scored a hat-trick in the concluding Championship game last May, and scored again in the 2-2 draw at Carrow Road earlier in the season.