Lambert's men face test of their promotion credentials
David Cuffley League One leaders Norwich City can prove they are a cut above their promotion rivals if they complete a notable double over Millwall tomorrow (3pm). The Lions were beaten 2-0 at Carrow Road on Boxing Day but their formidable home record provides a potential obstacle to Paul Lambert's men as they bid for their ninth successive league win.
League One leaders Norwich City can prove they are a cut above their promotion rivals if they complete a notable double over Millwall tomorrow (3pm).
The Lions were beaten 2-0 at Carrow Road on Boxing Day but their formidable home record provides a potential obstacle to Paul Lambert's men as they bid for their ninth successive league win.
Millwall have suffered just one home defeat this season, at the hands of second-from-bottom Wycombe Wanderers, while promotion contenders Leeds, Colchester, Huddersfield and MK Dons have all been beaten at The New Den.
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Kenny Jackett's team have not been beaten since their Christmas trip to Norwich and a run of three straight wins has propelled them into the play-off places, in sixth spot.
City, unbeaten in 16 League One games and the Football League's leading scorers, know they are in for a battle as they bid to succeed where their fellow promotion hopefuls have failed.
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Skipper Grant Holt (inset) is missing again, completing his three-match ban for a sending-off against Brentford, while full-back Adam Drury is out for several weeks with a torn thigh muscle. Debut goalscorer Michael Rose is set to continue at left-back in a miserly back four whose contribution to City's success is not always fully appreciated.
"The defence has done a terrific job, although the goalkeeper and back four seldom get the headlines because of the form of our front players," says Lambert in his Evening News column tonight.
"We have conceded only three goals in our eight-match winning run and that shows how well they have all played.
"Fraser Forster has been absolutely terrific in goal and the back four has been very consistent. They have had to defend with their lives at times and have worked tremendously hard."
Defensive pair Jens Berthel Askou and Michael Spillane both returned to action for City Reserves against Wycombe on Tuesday, but are not ready for a senior recall. January signing Zak Whitbread will be in the City squad against his old club tomorrow, but is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench. The Canaries will be backed by 3,000 travelling fans but London has not been a happy hunting ground in recent seasons.
City have won just once in their last 24 visits to the capital - last season's 1-0 success at Queens Park Rangers. Their last victory at Millwall came in 2003.