Southampton V Norwich at St. Mary's Stadium : Match Preview

27 November 2012 05:01
Southampton V Norwich - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Lambert relishes Holt reunion

Southampton's Rickie Lambert is looking forward to a dream encounter with former Rochdale striker partner Grant Holt when Norwich visit St Mary's.

The pair have had to work their up from the lower leagues and just over six years ago were playing together at Spotland in the fourth tier.

Now both are being touted as potential England internationals and face one another as Premier League players for the first time on Wednesday - something Lambert still find hard to fathom.

"We were more worried about staying in the Football League than thinking about playing in the top flight one day," the striker told the club's official website,

"But it's nice to see how Grant's career has gone, and I'll certainly be speaking to him tomorrow.

"We text each other now and again, and he's given me quite a bit of advice over the past two years.

"I really enjoyed my time with Rochdale because I'd come off a bad spell at Stockport.

"My strike partner was Grant, and we hit it off almost straight away. Since then our career paths have kind of been the same.

"I'm just so happy with how his career has gone in the last few seasons, and the way he's done in the Premier League is just brilliant to see.

"Perhaps we appreciate (playing in the top flight) more than most because of the paths that we have taken - I know for a fact that I appreciate where I am now."

There had been some concerns as to whether Lambert would be involved in the match after sustaining a leg injury in Sunday's 2-0 defeat of Newcastle.

However, the 30-year-old trained on Tuesday and should feature for a Southampton side looking for a third successive win.

"I've always had belief we would get results," Lambert said.

"Some of our performances earlier in the season were good but mistakes have cost us. It felt so good to finally get some wins, and hopefully we can push on now.

"It'd be massive if we could get three wins in a row. There are a lot of teams close together, so back-to-back wins take you up a long way."

While Lambert should return, the game could come too soon for Danny Fox after missing out on Sunday with a knee complaint. Frazer Richardson and Richard Chaplow are also expect to remain sidelined for the match.

Meanwhile, Chris Hughton knows Norwich will have to use all of their new-found resilience to extend a seven-game unbeaten run.

"Southampton are a team playing well at the moment, they are at home, and we will need to give a good account of ourselves to get something," Hughton told Canaries Player

"It is about going into our game the way we have of late, showing our confidence, and trying to nullify the quality that they have got, but also play our own game."

Hughton added: "At home they create a wonderful atmosphere and are a team playing with a lot of confidence.

"They are on the back of a good win at Queens Park Rangers, and I think they took that into the game against Newcastle, so it will be a tough one."

Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy is a major doubt for the trip to the south coast, having been substituted late on against Everton because of a thigh problem.

Norwich will definitely be without centre-back Michael Turner because of a shoulder problem, although versatile defender Russell Martin is fit again following his back injury.

England Under-21 international Ryan Bennett turned in a solid display alongside Bassong at Everton.

The former Peterborough defender knows all about the threat posed by Saints frontman Lambert.

"I played against him a couple of times in the Championship. He is a good player and I hope we can stop him," Bennett said.

"Southampton have started to pick their performances up and we know it will be a tough game.

"They have good quality in their side, which is no different to any side in this league.

"We will have a plan, and will go out there and give it our best performance. I am sure if we play well, then we definitely have what it takes to win."

Source: PA