Norwich's staggering form earns 41 points from 45

Michael Bailey Norwich City's staggering recent form has seen the team build a near perfect run in their charge to the top of League One.Since Fraser Forster's last minute blooper saw the Canaries slip to a 2-1 loss against then-leaders Leeds at Elland Road, Paul Lambert's side have not only avoided tasting third tier defeat, but taken an incredible 41 points from a possible 45.

Michael Bailey

Norwich City's staggering recent form has seen the team build a near perfect run in their charge to the top of League One.

Since Fraser Forster's last minute blooper saw the Canaries slip to a 2-1 loss against then-leaders Leeds at Elland Road, Paul Lambert's side have not only avoided tasting third tier defeat, but taken an incredible 41 points from a possible 45.

That is 13 wins from 15 games, with the miniscule blotches coming in comeback draws at Southampton and Yeovil - a period in which City have scored 37 times, conceded just nine and kept nine clean sheets.


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It is a remarkable turn around considering the way Norwich started the season, with one point from their first three games, and comes alongside the best ever start to a managerial career at the club for Lambert (inset).

Alongside getting wins, the Scot's other goal has been to get his squad fitter.

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As Colchester manager last season, Lambert kept his squad back two weeks are the season had ended to do strength and conditioning sessions. Within weeks of his move north in August, he was on a similar mission at Colney.

From August to December the City management team bemoaned a string of training ground injuries as they tried to juggle improving fitness levels and keeping City ticking over on the pitch.

But that hard work seems to be paying off. Lambert has a sizable and virtually fully fit squad to pick from - last night's reserve win at Stevenage was the club's first game in the Combination since October and probably had a queue of City squad members dying for some proper game time.

There are signs City's fitness is where Lambert would want it to be.

Saturday saw Chris Martin's strike 13 minutes from time ensure City's superb effort playing with 10 men for 50 minutes was rewarded with three points against Brentford.

And if further proof were needed, three days later they turned out on a bog of a pitch and made the final 13 minutes count again, turning a 1-0 deficit into a

2-1 victory at Walsall.

As Lambert acknowledged on Monday, the results prove his players' fitness levels are where he wants them. He said: "It's certainly up there. If it wasn't I don't think they'd have done what they did on Saturday.

"Their effort has been absolutely fabulous, it's really been terrific. It has been a massive effort to have gone from second bottom or wherever it was to being right up there and putting yourself within a shout, because you've got some really good teams up there."

Martin, who scored the equaliser at the Saddlers, has seven goals in his last eight matches - two away from being the youngest Canaries striker to notch 20 in a season since another 'Super Chris', Chris Sutton, hit 25 goals in the Premier League as a 21-year-old in 1993-94.

Should Martin join Holt in breaking the 20-goal barrier in all competitions, it would the first time two players have reached the milestone in a season since Ted MacDougall (24) and Phil Boyer (21) in 1974-75. Iwan Roberts (23) and Craig Bellamy (19) went close in 1998-99.

The current season is threatening to rewrite a few records; a win against Hartlepool United at Carrow Road on Saturday would be a record breaking 11th successive home league success in the same season.

It would also be City's eighth league win on the bounce and 16th undefeated - closing in on the respective records of 10 (1985-86) and 20 (1950-51).

The Canaries have never scored 100 goals in one league campaign but with Tuesday's win taking their total to 62 in 28 games - an average of 2.2 goals per game - City are on course to break that barrier.

But despite all those possibilities, in truth the only statistic most fans will care about come May 8 is the League One table.

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