New injury blow as Lansbury and Ward are ruled out ‘for few weeks’
Norwich City boss Paul Lambert is getting to grips with a fresh double injury blow as he prepares his side to face Championship leaders Queens Park Rangers.
On-loan midfielder Henri Lansbury (hamstring) and defender Elliott Ward (calf) missed yesterday’s 4-2 home win over Sheffield United and both will be out for “a few weeks”.
In Lansbury’s case, his absence could well force him to miss the whole of his second four-week loan period from Arsenal, which runs out on January 16.
With Leon Barnett completing a two-match ban in the home game against Rangers on Saturday and Simon Lappin picking up his fifth yellow card against the Blades and now ruled out for the same match, Lambert is grateful for the return to the squad of left-back Adam Drury and central defender Zak Whitbread, both of whom were among the substitutes yesterday, while Jens Berthel Askou was recalled to the starting eleven alongside Michael Nelson.
“I don’t care if you are Norwich City or Manchester United – you lose those and it is a big dent,” said Lambert. “But you have to give Nelson and Askou and Lappin a lot of credit for what they’ve done.”
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He admitted it was a stop-start performance from City but said: “We have set a really high standard of late. I have a lot of players out at the minute and you have to give the lads credit for coming in. That was a tough, tough game.”
Lambert described hat-trick hero Wes Hoolahan as “brilliant, different class”.
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He said: “It was a brilliant hat-trick. It doesn’t matter if it was penalties or not, you’ve still got to hold your nerve and stick them in, which he did. Grant (Holt) did great for the last goal but he’s got to be in a position to score.”
Sheffield United acting manager John Carver said he was “livid” with referee Phil Crossley, and argued that six big decisions went against his team, including City’s first penalty, awarded for a foul by Nick Montgomery on Holt.
“The first one Holt actually said to Montgomery ‘I had to go over’. That’s great sportsmanship, isn’t it?” said Carver. “The second penalty happened so quickly. It’s not as if Kyle Bartley took his hand to the ball. His hand is down by his side and the ball hits his arm.”
Carver added: “Just say I really wanted this job as manager and I am fighting for my life and I have been affected by what has happened out there today – it makes the chairman and the owner think more. One win and two defeats, can we give him the job?”
Lambert sympathised with Carver, admitted the first penalty was harsh and said the Blades might have had two spot-kicks.
“The first one, if it was given against me, I think I would be a bit annoyed,” he said. “John will be disappointed. Sometimes it evens itself out, which it might well do.”