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Norwich V Aston Villa at Carrow Road : Match Preview
Published : 12 May 2012 14:01:24
Drury hails Lambert's achievements.
Veteran Norwich defender Adam Drury has just about seen it all during his 11 years at Carrow Road but feels the achievements this season under boss Paul Lambert have been "unbelievable". The 33-year-old hopes to be fit from a groin problem for the final game of the Barclays Premier League campaign against Aston Villa, with a place in the top flight again already secure. Drury captained the Canaries to the First Division title under Nigel Worthington in 2004 ahead of what was a brief stay among England's elite the following year, and remained loyal to the club when they were relegated to League One in 2009. Since the arrival of Lambert just a few weeks after his then Colchester side had thumped Norwich 7-1 at home on the opening day of that campaign, it has been a whirlwind ride up through successive promotions. The performances this season from a well-organised side have seen a famous victory at Tottenham and also last weekend's thrilling 3-3 draw away to Arsenal. Drury, signed from Peterborough in March 2001, feels it is just reward for hard work throughout the club. "This has just been an unbelievable season," Drury, doubtful for the game with a groin injury, told Canaries Player. "If you had said that going into the last game, we could be looking to finish as high as 12th, people would have thought you were joking. "Everyone involved has done a fantastic job and hopefully everyone has enjoyed it. "The job the manager has done here in the three years has been unreal. "To stay in the Premier League is probably the biggest achievement because of the gulf in money." Drury is set for a testimonial against Celtic at Carrow Road later this month and could yet be offered a new deal for next season. He added: "If you had said to me a couple of years ago when we were in League One that I would be playing Premier League football again, I would have said you are crazy. "It has almost been like a dream and to enjoy it as much as we have has been fantastic." Lambert may have performed a minor miracle in keeping the Norfolk club up on a limited budget but the Scot knows perhaps a bigger challenge lies ahead in 2012/13. He said on BBC Radio Norfolk: "If you accept that you are in a comfort zone there is only one way you are going to - and that is back down. "If everyone thinks like that, there's only one way Norwich will go. "As soon as you start to think you have arrived or achieved anything that is when it goes belly up." Lambert added: "That is why all the great players and great teams are where they are because they want to keep winning, they want to keep improving the players."
Under-fire manager Alex McLeish admits Aston Villa will look to sign more quality players this summer after a season of under-achievement. Villa only made sure of their Barclays Premier League status for another campaign after last weekend's 1-1 home draw with Tottenham. McLeish has struggled to win over the Villa fans after his controversial switch from Birmingham and knows there has to be an improvement in fortunes. He said: "It's about getting more quality in the squad and getting a team that can get further up that table and a team that wants to win badly. "We need to get a winning mentality. That's what we'll try and change. "I am anticipating change this summer. We have to bring in some added quality to the squad. "If you look at the back-up this season, we could have easily been four or five players short of real quality and experience. "We can certainly look to make sure next season is a more productive season than this one." McLeish knows the expectation levels of Villa supporters but points to a lengthy injury list, including #18million record signing Darren Bent, in mitigation. He said: "We have underachieved for Aston Villa in terms of past history and in terms of the name Aston Villa. "People expect us higher up the table. This is not the Aston Villa team of 1982 (when they won the European Cup) and people have to realise that. "But sometimes there are reasons for that not being the case and losing four or five players at crucial moments of the season has not helped. "We have missed Darren Bent for 19 games now. I would have expected four or five goals in those games at least which would have made things more comfortable for us." Striker Emile Heskey and defender Carlos Cuellar are likely to make their final appearances for Villa after indicating they will be leaving this summer when their contracts expire.
Norwich V Aston Villa - view commentary, squad, and statictics of the game live.