Pilko happy with City spirit

The Canaries came from behind to beat 10-man Queens Park Rangers at

Loftus Road yesterday, where Rs captain Joey Barton scored after

just 11 minutes and was then sent off for an apparent headbutt on

Bradley Johnson. While Barton’s dismissal may have caught the

headlines, Paul Lambert’s men chalked up a second away win to put

more distance between themselves and the bottom three. Lambert made

five changes yesterday to the starting XI – including a first

Premier League appearance for former St Mirren midfielder Simon

Lappin – and is expected to bring in a couple of new faces to help

the current group, who have all impressed on their step up to the

top flight, many for the first time. Former Huddersfield winger

Pilkington, who scored the equaliser on Monday, his fifth goal of

an impressive debut Premier League campaign, feels should Norwich

steer clear of a relegation dogfight, it would be a real team

effort. “We have got a great squad and whoever comes in does really

well, and it is up to them to keep the shirt,” Pilkington told

reporters. “We changed the team again and it worked brilliantly.

Everyone is working together and there is a great team spirit in

there. “All the boys and all the staff, we are working really hard

to get our aim at the end of the season.” After being outclassed by

Tottenham at Carrow Road on December 27, Norwich netted a

stoppage-time equaliser to draw 1-1 with Fulham ahead of

yesterday’s victory, sealed by a late strike from Wales forward

Steve Morison. Lambert’s men probably now need around another five

wins from the remaining 18 games to help them pass the fabled

40-point mark. Pilkington, 23, feels results like the one at Loftus

Road could prove priceless come May. “It is massive – hopefully at

the end of the season we will look back at these wins and that is

what has kept us up,” he said. “Any win away from home in this

league is huge and against one of the teams that are going to be in

or around us come the end of the season. “We are pulling away from

the pack now. Hopefully we can keep picking up points, and I am

sure we will be sitting nicely come May. “That is all we are

looking for, is to be in this league next season.” Norwich again

failed to keep a clean sheet yesterday, and Lambert is expected to

look to strengthen his defence in January. However, the return to

fitness of Daniel Ayala, signed from Liverpool, after a knee injury

has come as a timely boost. “Daniel was outstanding again. For

someone of just 21 years of age he was terrific on the ball and

hopefully he keeps progressing at this club and has a great

future,” said the Norwich manager. “We have [defender] Elliott Ward

and [striker] James Vaughan to come back as well and that should

make us even that bit stronger.” Norwich will be in FA Cup action

next weekend at home to Burnley. Lambert accepts he may have to

give some of his players a breather. “We have got another hard

programme coming up after the cup tie, so I might do [change

things],” he said. “Whatever team I pick I think will be able to go

and win a game, so I am not going to disregard the FA Cup, because

we will have too many people coming to watch us. “We will try to go

through, but I also know the league is vital to us.”