Norwich City ready for top-of-the-table clash
David Cuffley The irresistible force meets the not so immovable object in League One's most eagerly-awaited fixture of the season at Carrow Road tomorrow. Leaders Norwich City's encounter with second-placed Leeds United (3pm) has been built up by many commentators over a period of weeks as a potential title decider, but now takes on a rather different complexion as the visitors try to avoid slipping out of the automatic promotion places.
The irresistible force meets the not so immovable object in League One's most eagerly-awaited fixture of the season at Carrow Road tomorrow.
Leaders Norwich City's encounter with second-placed Leeds United (3pm) has been built up by many commentators over a period of weeks as a potential title decider, but now takes on a rather different complexion as the visitors try to avoid slipping out of the automatic promotion places.
Leeds find themselves eight points adrift of the Canaries after squandering their game in hand by losing 2-0 at home to Millwall on Monday, and with the Lions just three points behind in third place, Simon Grayson's team desperately need to recapture the winning habit.
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City, by contrast, could open up an 11-point gap if they win tomorrow and avenge a rather ill-deserved 2-1 defeat at Elland Road in October, since when they have been beaten only twice in 24 league games.
Manager Paul Lambert is determined to keep his players' feet on the ground, however, and insisted their routine at Colney in the build-up to the game has been the same as ever.
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“What the lads have done is put us right in the mix in the closing stages of the season, but so are Leeds,” he said in his Evening News column tonight.
“Our preparations have been just the same, just as thorough as any other week, and it would be disrespectful to the other teams in the division to say otherwise.”
After 13 wins in 15 games, City had their first draw since mid-December when Swindon snatched a stoppage-time equaliser last Saturday.
Lambert has no fresh injury worries from the squad on duty at Swindon, but Danish defender Jens Berthel Askou is sidelined again by a foot injury he suffered in Monday's reserve game against Watford.
Fellow defender Zak Whitbread is available, however, despite also taking a knock in the reserve game, but forward Luke Daley is still out with a thigh injury.
Rhoys Wiggins is back from his loan spell with Bournemouth but with on-loan Michael Rose occupying the left-back slot for the past nine matches and Adam Drury on the bench in the last two games, first team football seems a long way off for the summer signing.
Leeds will be without Australia defender Patrick Kisnorbo, ruled out for the rest of the season and the World Cup by an Achilles injury, but they are likely to include new loan signing Neill Collins, from Preston.
Goalkeeper Shane Higgs is set to return from a thigh injury, but there is a big question mark over the fitness of striker Jermaine Beckford, with the injury that prevented him from playing against Millwall still affecting his hamstring and back.
Leeds have also signed Arsenal midfielder Sanchez Watt on loan until the end of the season and he goes straight into the squad for tomorrow's game.
Watt featured four times for Southend United during a loan spell in February.