Norwich City need to make most of home support
Manager Paul Lambert has warned of the dangers facing his team today against a Walsall side who have issued a clear challenge to the Canaries. Saddlers boss Chris Hutchings says he intends to spoil Lambert's party while his players have been queuing up to sound battle cries from the west Midlands.
Manager Paul Lambert has warned of the dangers facing his team today against a Walsall side who have issued a clear challenge to the Canaries.
Saddlers boss Chris Hutchings says he intends to spoil Lambert's party while his players have been queuing up to sound battle cries from the west Midlands.
Lambert's team are going for a rare third league win on the bounce row and expect to attempt it in front of another 20,000-plus crowd at Carrow Road.
While those very same fans will make it an away-day to remember for the visitors, Lambert insists City need to make the most of their remarkable home advantage.
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“It helps the opponents because nobody expects them to come here and win,” Lambert said.
“It was the same at Colchester, I heard this all the same - 'you're going to Norwich, a full house' and nobody expects you to win and the onus is on the home team. I know what that's like, I've been involved in that, but if you're at a football club like this you have to handle that, you have to be able to handle that as a person and as a footballer.
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“Don't get me wrong, when things are going great and you've got the crowd on your side and they are willing you on there won't be a better place to play football - but if you are not producing it then it can go the other way.
“So Walsall will come here with no fear and that's what makes it a dangerous game.
“But if we play the way we have and the crowd are right on our side we'll be ready for it.”
Hutchings recognises the possibility of new manager syndrome continuing to play its part.
“Norwich are a big club who everyone expects to be there or thereabouts come the end of the season,” he said.
“We have to go there and be positive and take the game to them. We always respect the opposition regardless of who we are up against, but we don't fear them.
“We will go there with the right attitude. Paul Lambert is still assessing his squad and has done well so far. He will be looking forward to the game; they've got some good players and there is sure to be a great atmosphere, but we will go there prepared to work hard and get at them from the very first whistle.
“There is sure to be a big crowd and Carrow Road is a great place to go and play football. I am grateful to the support we have received so far and we will need that backing again on Saturday.”
Ex-Ipswich midfielder Matt Richards is keen to renew his rivalry with City after seven years at Portman Road ended in the summer.
The 24-year-old has played in six derbies, winning three, and is relishing the chance to face the Canaries - along with team-mate and former Town player Sam Parkin.
“You shouldn't be trying to play better in one game than another but I'll definitely enjoy it, they always put a big crowd out,” Richards said.
“I was talking about it with Sam Parkin and we're going to get a little bit of stick, but I enjoy it. It gives you a little boost in the game and gets the adrenalin going.
“I've never scored against Norwich, but I've come close on a few occasions and enjoyed the games.
“They are a good strong side, all the teams that have come down are. If we can perform like we know we can, we can compete against any team in the league.”
Defender Manny Smith issued his own message: “you don't scare us”.
“They are in our league and in our league for a reason,” he said. “We're not scared against this type of teams and we can do well.
“Norwich are a good team, they have good supporters and good facilities, but we can match them all over the field and go there without being scared or being frightened.
“We can get three points from it. It's another big game and big club. We like playing the big games, so we will go there positive and get a good result.”