Norwich City boss Paul Lambert to mix things up
Paddy Davitt Norwich boss Paul Lambert will juggle his resources again to try and conjure a Johnstone's Paint Trophy southern area semi-final success tonightat Southampton (7.
Norwich boss Paul Lambert will juggle his resources again to try and conjure a Johnstone's Paint Trophy southern area semi-final success tonightat Southampton (7.45pm).
Lambert made nine changes to his tried and tested frontline troops for the previous round's penalty shoot out victory over Swindon.
Now the City chief is poised to trust his rotation policy again with fresh injury concerns over top scorer Grant Holt and Jens Berthel Askou following the weekend League One draw at Yeovil.
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"What I have done in this competition is played lads who maybe have not been involved regularly in the league," said Lambert. "I have no problem doing that because those players are more than capable of doing it. I'll see who is available, who isn't and there might be one or two who come in.
"There are one or two carrying knocks from the weekend so it's a case of seeing how they are. I've got to balance it out. I don't have a big enough squad to go week in, week out. Matty Gill is back in training but the problem is the reserves don't have any games for a period of time so he has got to start somewhere."
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Lambert is bullish that his shadow squad can still prevail at St Mary's as he also looks to plot Huddersfield's downfall this weekend in a Carrow Road play-off match-up.
"I want to win both games this week, of course I do," he said. "So the team I put out at Southampton will be with the intention of winning that game. If you're in something you might as well go and try and win it and that has always been my view.
"The priority is the league and that has always been the case. I won't make any secrets of that. The league is the most important thing. I can't play lads who haven't really recovered from a Saturday. I've got to watch their welfare and have to protect some of them from playing a lot of games."
Rejuvenated defender Gary Doherty could be pressed into action at St Mary's with injury doubts over Askou. The Irishman appears to have firmly re-established himself as a permanent cog in Lambert's League One machine. Doherty's rare weekend brace earned City a point at Yeovil after he had appeared surplus to requirements following Lambert's arrival.
"It does take the pressure off the front lads," he said. "They get a lot of attention with the amount of goals they have scored but they need help from other areas of the pitch and thankfully he managed to chip in.
"His response is what you look for from people. There is only one of two ways it can go. Either they want to prove that I am wrong or they won't - and he and Wes (Hoolahan) have proved me wrong. They have been colossal. They didn't come close to leaving in August and thankfully at this moment no one has phoned to inquire about them for that matter."
Tonight's tie will go straight to penalties should the scores be level after 90 minutes. The winners face either League Two Hereford or Paul Ince's MK Dons in a two-legged area final.