Strike pair Martin and Jackson’s big chance
Manager Paul Lambert looks likely to revert to his summer strike force as Norwich City bid to stretch their unbeaten Championship run to seven matches at home to Portsmouth tomorrow (3pm).
Chris Martin and Simeon Jackson were paired in attack for the Canaries’ big pre-season friendlies against Newcastle and Everton in the absence of injured skipper Grant Holt, and they were up front together when the league campaign kicked off with a Friday night home match against Watford.
But not since that 3-2 defeat back on August 6 have Martin and Jackson started the same first team game – one or the other instead partnering top scorer Holt, ever-present in the starting line-up since his late 18-minute stint as a substitute against the Hornets.
Holt, however, serves a one-match ban for the game against Pompey after collecting five bookings, forcing Lambert to make at least one change to the side that won 2-1 at Derby last Saturday, and making four-goal Jackson prime candidate to make his first start in six matches. The Canaries were today set to train at Carrow Road for the second Friday in a row, but no update on the current casualty list was available before then.
Midfielder Andrew Surman is definitely out until at least the New Year with a knee injury, with absentees Adam Drury (calf), Steven Smith (hip), Stephen Hughes (ankle), Matthew Gill (calf) and Zak Whitbread (hamstring) at various stages of recovery, but it remains to be seen whether any of them will be involved tomorrow. City go into the meeting with Pompey boosted by an award from the League Managers’ Association for the Performance of the Week at Derby – judged by a panel comprising LMA chairman Howard Wilkinson, Sir Alex Ferguson, Joe Royle, Dave Bassett and Barry Fry.
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Lambert was set to receive an engraved crystal football in a presentation to be screened on Sky Soccer Saturday tomorrow.
Portsmouth are looking for a second successive away win after a 2-1 Friday night success at Swansea a fortnight ago. Their home match against Burnley last Saturday was postponed, leaving seven-goal midfielder Liam Lawrence a frustrated man.
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“I do wish we would have played Burnley and maybe got a result because it would have set us up nicely for this Christmas period,” said Lawrence, on loan from Stoke but set to sign permanently in January.
“Now we’ve got Norwich – and I am looking forward to it.
“Norwich is a tough place to go. There will be around 26,000 there and they are doing really well at the minute.
‘We have had bits and pieces on them that that are good as a team with not any real individual stars.
“They are just good as a collective team and that’s important in this league. It will be tough.”