Lambert braced for tough test

BY foxsports • August 20, 2011

The Canaries opened their Premier League campaign with a hard-earned 1-1 draw at Wigan, battling back from a goal down before holding out for a point. However, Lambert expects another tough test against Stoke, who travel to Carrow Road just a few days after beating Swiss side FC Thun in their Europa League qualifier. "Every game you play, it is going to be tough for its own different reasons," said Lambert. "Stoke get accused of being over-physical, but you make no apologies for it because they are winning more games than not, and Stoke can play as well. "It is not set in stone the way you have to play - the game is about winning and Stoke have done that more than not. "They were a handful against Chelsea, who are one of the favourites to win the league and then got a terrific win in Europe." Lambert continued: "Stoke got to the FA Cup final and on into Europe, so that shows you the magnitude of the task we have got. "But we are at home, and we have to try to win. "We have to earn the right to play - and if you do not get hold of the ball, then we will be in trouble." It has been six seasons since Carrow Road hosted top-flight football, and only two years ago that Lambert's Colchester thumped the Canaries 7-1 on the opening day of the 2009/2010 npower League One campaign. Norwich, who recruited the Scot soon after, impressed at home last season, chalking up 13 wins on the way to second place behind QPR. Lambert believes if the Canaries are to beat the odds and stay up, then Carrow Road has to create an atmosphere to spur his team on in what are expected to be testing times. "The crowd can be a massive help to us, and can be again on Sunday," Lambert said. "You have to stick together, no matter what or you are not going to have success. "If we do that, then hopefully we will be okay." New signing Daniel Ayala could make his debut in defence, with Zak Whitbread struggling because of a knee injury. Lambert has so far brought in eight players to bolster his promotion-winning squad. "I don't think you ever stop looking," the Norwich manager said. "Whether you get them in or not is another matter, but I am happy with the group I have at the minute."

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