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Saturday 17 March 2012

Lambert relishing Newcastle test

Norwich boss believes players can shine at Sports Direct Arena

Norwich City recorded a 4-2 victory over Newcastle United earlier in the season

Norwich City boss Paul Lambert insists his players are full of confidence as they head to Newcastle United for Sunday's Barclays Premier League contest.

The Canaries were held to a 1-1 draw by relegation battlers Wigan Athletic last weekend to take their points tally to 36.

And Lambert says his side, who have excelled in their first season back in the top-flight, will revel in the atmosphere of the Sports Direct Arena.

"It's a really passionate football place and they'll come right behind their team"
- Paul Lambert

"No-one probably expects us to go up there and get anything," said Lambert. "Newcastle are playing really well.

"The lads are looking forward to it. There will be a massive crowd, which tends to bring out the best in people and we will do everything we can to win.

"It's a really passionate football place and they'll come right behind their team and we have to try to turn that around.

"I've got not worries about the players going up there trying to handle the occasion.             

"Everything is against you when you go up there. The onus is always on the home team to make the running but you have to make the home fans edgy.

"We have to try to get a foothold in the game and if we do that, hopefully we will be all right."

Newcastle have also had an impressive season and are currently in sixth place, two points ahead of Liverpool and five points behind Chelsea.

The Magpies were defeated 2-1 by Arsenal last time out but manager Alan Pardew says his side's display at the Emirates Stadium will give his side a real boost ahead of the Norwich match.

"We will need to win four or five games in 10 which is going to sound a lot if we don't win on Sunday"
- Alan Pardew

"We are disappointed with the result but we can be proud of the commitment and the effort we put in," said Pardew.

"We've come out of it with our dignity and confidence intact and we will take that into the Norwich game.

"It gives you confidence that you can keep your shape and discipline which we did.

"This is a very different game on Sunday and the focus will be on us to be the dominant figure and try to win."

Pardew is determined his side qualify for Europe next season and he is fully aware of how important the Norwich fixture could be to those ambitions.

"We are focusing on getting into Europe," he added. "We will need to win four or five games in 10 which is going to sound a lot if we don't win on Sunday. It's an important game.

"We've had a fantastic season. It's tough to get into Europe. You have got a team with the finance and quality of Liverpool who could run us down and we will have to hold our hands up if that happens. But we are going to give them a good fight for their money."

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Key Points

  • Paul Lambert says Norwich players are looking forward to Newcastle match
  • Norwich are looking for their first victory in four
  • Magpies manager Alan Pardew focusing on securing a place in Europe