Norwich City’s big guns set to return to face Cardiff

Norwich City boss Paul Lambert can be expected to bring back some of his big guns for tomorrow’s promotion battle with Cardiff City.

Skipper Grant Holt, midfielder Andrew Crofts, goalkeeper John Ruddy and centre-half Michael Nelson were all left out of the starting line-up for last week’s FA Cup third round tie against Leyton Orient, with Holt the only one to come off the bench, playing the final 25 minutes in the 1-0 home defeat.

But one would expect at least three of that quartet, possibly all four, to return for the Bluebirds’ visit to Carrow Road (3pm).

Second-placed Cardiff will be aiming to become the first side to complete a league double over the Canaries since Lambert became manager 17 months ago, with skipper and ex-Canary forward Craig Bellamy back in the side and looking for his 150th goal in club football.

Norwich, one place behind but only on goal difference, will for their part be looking to extend an impressive run of form after losing just once in 11 Championship games since the 3-1 defeat at Cardiff in October.

Further changes are possible if midfielder Henri Lansbury has recovered from the hamstring injury that forced him to miss the last three league games – with tomorrow’s match the last for which he is eligible before the end of his second loan period from Arsenal - and if Lambert decides to bring new signing Marc Tierney into his plans straightaway.

The 25-year-old left-back completed his move from Colchester yesterday and said he was “ecstatic” to have signed.

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“It’s a brilliant chance for me to ply my trade in the Championship and there are a great bunch of lads here and fierce competition for places so I can’t wait to get started,” he said.

“I just want to add to the quality that is already here and try to fight for a place. I don’t think there is any reason why the club can’t continue to keep pushing forward.

“The belief in the team is really high at the minute and long may that continue.”

Trying to explain his comment 12 months ago that he would “never in a million years go to Norwich” he told the Canaries’ official website:

“I just moved to quash any rumours that I was coming here last year that were distracting my team at the time which was Colchester and there was no truth in it.

“It got somewhat blown up, but I’m delighted to be here and delighted to put my body on the line for Norwich and I’ll do the best I can for the club.”

One of the main decisions for Cardiff boss Dave Jones will be which goalkeeper to pick, with Tom Heaten and ex-Canary David Marshall sharing duties this season.

Marshall played in the FA Cup at Stoke last week but Heaton was in goal for the first two Championship games of 2011.