Paul Lambert’s Norwich City out to avoid first double at West Brom
West Bromwich Albion have another of Paul Lambert’s impressive records as Norwich City manager in their sights when the two sides meet in the Premier League tomorrow.
Albion’s 1-0 win in the televised game at Carrow Road in September made it the first time the Canaries had lost two successive league matches under their current boss, coming a fortnight after the 3-1 defeat at Chelsea.
Now Roy Hodgson’s men go into the game at The Hawthorns (3pm), bidding to end another record by becoming the first team to double City since Lambert’s arrival nearly 2� years ago.
However, with five points from their last three away games, ninth-placed City’s form on their travels promises to make it a difficult afternoon for a West Brom side with just two wins in their 10 home league fixtures.
Hodgson’s assistant, Keith Downing, knows the size of the task, and is full of praise for how the top-flight newcomers have performed since promotion.
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“Paul Lambert’s team have fantastic momentum,” said Downing.
“They have gone through two leagues in succession and when you get to that level you don’t believe you can get beaten.
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“It’s in your psyche because you’re winning more than you lose.
“They’ve carried that on into the Premier League. They’ve got a fantastic work ethic, they work really hard for each other.
“They’ve got a way of playing where they get it into Morison or Holt, who are both handfuls in terms of physical, then they’ve got the craft of Hoolahan and Pilkington.”
Downing said Albion’s win at Norwich had proved to be an important success.
“They were a little bit unfortunate not to get anything at their place, but having said that it’s turned out to be a good result because not many teams go there and win,” he said.
“We said when we won the game, it’s a hostile atmosphere and the crowd gets right behind them, the ball gets thrown into your box any number of times and anything can happen.
“I felt we defended very well throughout the game and we will have to do so again.
“We don’t want to talk about six defeats in nine but if we have any aspirations of doing well in this league we’ve got to try to correct the home form if we can.”
Lambert was today expected to give an update on the fitness of full-back Marc Tierney, who has missed four games with a groin injury, and on-loan defender Ritchie de Laet, recovering from a back problem.
A fit Tierney would give Lambert an abundance of choice at left-back, with both Adam Drury and Kyle Naughton performing well in his absence.
Another selection issue is whether to recall Steve Morison up front after he came off the bench to score in the last two matches, when Lambert has started with the Grant Holt-Simeon Jackson partnership.
The Baggies, three points behind City, hope to have striker Shane Long available again after a back injury, giving Hodgson the chance to reunite him with Carrow Road matchwinner Peter Odemwingie in attack. That could leave Simon Cox on the sidelines despite his FA Cup hat-trick in the 4-2 third round win against Cardiff.
“I think any manager will say competition for places is healthy,” said Downing.
“It’s healthy when they’re in form and pushing each other. I wouldn’t say Simon’s definitely going to go in tomorrow, but the guy has gone in and put a very good marker down.
“He can’t do much more than get three goals and play very well..”