Selection headache for Norwich City boss Lambert
Manager Paul Lambert must decide whether to stick or twist as Norwich City bid for their second away victory of the Premier League season tomorrow.
The Canaries take on Everton at Goodison Park (3pm), where the big question for most travelling fans is whether Lambert, pictured right, will again opt for the twin spearhead of Steve Morison and Grant Holt, each with six goals so far this season.
The two strikers were paired for only the third time in the current campaign – and very successfully – in the 4-2 home win over Newcastle, when Holt scored twice and Morison once.
It was the fifth game in a row in which Lambert changed his starting eleven, after a previous spell of six successive matches when City were unchanged, and now he must decide whether to stick with a winning formula against what is likely to be a much tighter Everton defence.
Seven Premier League games at Goodison this season have produced only 16 goals, just seven of them for the hosts.
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After a promising start on their travels, 10th-placed City have taken just one point from a sequence of four very tough away matches, when substitute Holt’s second-half equaliser earned a draw across Stanley Park at Anfield.
Two away games in four days, with the trip to Wolves coming up on Tuesday night, will determine just how healthily the Canaries are placed before they end the year – and reach the halfway point of the Premier League season – with successive home games against Tottenham and Fulham. Lambert was set to give an update on his players’ fitness at Colney today. Defender Ritchie de Laet has missed the last two matches with back trouble, while Russell Martin suffered a whack on the shin from the challenge that earned Newcastle’s Dan Gosling a red card, but still played out the last 25 minutes.
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Everton boss David Moyes has worries over England international Jack Rodwell, sidelined by a hamstring problem, and midfielder Leon Osman, out since October with an ankle injury.
But Dutch international Royston Drenthe, on loan from Real Madrid, could return on the left side of midfield after missing three games with a foot injury.
“Hopefully he can be fit enough to play some part in the next two games,” team-mate Phil Jagielka told evertontv.
“He gives us that bit of flair and spark so I hope he can play a big part and score a couple or set up a couple over the next couple of weeks.
“It’s hard to know where he is going to pop up but we need that unpredictability because sometimes it’s been a bit too easy to mark us. Offensively he adds a massive threat with his ability, his pace and his shooting.”
City have been beaten on their last four trips to Goodison – two Premier League defeats and two FA Cup exits – and were doubled by the Toffees in 2004-05.
Everton revealed last night that United States international Landon Donovan has agreed to join them on a two-month loan from MLS side Los Angeles Galaxy.
But the deal has not been completed in time for him to be in contention to face the Canaries tomorrow. He is set to join Everton over the Christmas period and would be eligible for the first time to face Bolton on January 4.
The agreement was reached yesterday following recent discussions between Everton, LA Galaxy and Major League Soccer. The loan deal would last until after the derby against Liverpool on February 25.