Norwich City V Newcastle United: Preview
Whitbread in line for Canaries return.
Centre-half Zak Whitbread is in contention to return to Norwich's starting XI against Newcastle at Carrow Road having recovered from a hamstring problem.
On-loan Manchester United defender Ritchie de Laet (back) remains out. Striker James Vaughan is on course for a return in the new year from his knee problem, along with centre-back Elliott Ward (knee). Boss Paul Lambert has called for Norwich to put their 5-1 drubbing at Manchester City behind them.
The Canaries suffered a first heavy defeat in the Barclays Premier League when they were outclassed at the Etihad Stadium. Lambert, though, wants his squad to use the experience as inspiration when they look to avoid what would be a fourth defeat in the last five games.
"Manchester City took five off Tottenham away from home, and six at Manchester United, and the way they play, they will do that to a lot of teams this year with the players they have," the Norwich manager said.
"However, you don't want to go to Manchester City, thinking it is a great day out, get hit by that amount and then think 'well, it is only Manchester City we have played against'.
"You want the feeling of having a real disappointment of losing, whether it is five, two or three, it is really sore.
"Will it make us better? Hopefully, because we don't want that again."
Lambert, however, is not expecting anything other than a firm test of the Canaries' top-flight credentials against a Newcastle side which may have been beaten by both City and Manchester United in recent weeks, but remain in contention for the top four.
"Alan Pardew has done terrifically well up there when you consider the expectancy level of that club," said Lambert.
"It is an extremely tough league - week in, week out - and this one will be no different.
"Newcastle have performed really well as a team, but we are at home, so the onus is on us."
Toon boss Pardew has defensive problems with Steven Taylor (Achilles) and Mike Williamson (broken arm and ankle) definitely out and Fabricio Coloccini (thigh) very doubtful. Midfielders Danny Guthrie (groin) and Cheik Tiote (knee) are also sidelined but winger Jonas Gutierrez is available again after suspension. Pardew has good memories of Carrow Road from a trip he made with former club Southampton two seasons ago when both were in League One.
He said: "They're a surprise in as much as they've got the results and won games. "It's very difficult to win games in the Premier League, especially for teams who get promoted. They've done exceptionally well. "The manager's done an unbelievable job there. I came up against them at Southampton not so long ago and I know what they're about, I know what it's like to go and play there. "We actually won there so hopefully we'll be looking for the same result this time around."
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