Lambert ready to turn to Ward
Norwich boss Paul Lambert says he would have no fears turning to Elliott Ward to ease his defensive crisis.
Last Updated: 10/02/12 3:03pm
Norwich boss Paul Lambert says he would have no fears turning to Elliott Ward to ease his defensive crisis following the centre-back's return to fitness.
Ward has missed out on Norwich's impressive run so far in the Premier League after damaging a knee on a pre-season tour in Germany.
But he could be in line to join the Canaries' adventure on Saturday at Swansea in the clash of the two promoted clubs who have established themselves in mid-table and won such plaudits this season.
Lambert lost both first-choice centre-backs, Daniel Ayala and Zak Whitbread, to hamstring injuries in last week's win against Bolton. Ayala will be out for around a month and Whitbread is doubtful for Saturday's match.
If the manager has to turn to 27-year-old Ward, who has played just an hour in the reserves so far this season, he would have no concerns after nursing him through his rehabilitation.
Lambert said: "Wardy's been great. He's had his ups and downs like everybody else when you have a long-term injury.
"You get the rehab to a certain point then you hit the brick wall and then you go over the wall and kick on again.
"He's more than happy now to get going. I've had chats with him to keep his spirits up. He's had his bad days but you pick them up and let them go again. He's all right. He's ready if I ask him to play.
"It has been prolonged and we couldn't get to the bottom of the injury. The knee kept flaring up every time he trained. Thankfully that seems to have been dismissed now so he's ready to go.
"One thing about Wardy he won't let us down. I wouldn't have any fears about putting him in."
Lambert's side lie in ninth position, two points and a place ahead of Swansea in the Premier League table with both clubs closing in on survival.
The Glaswegian admits he has a deep respect for the job manager Brendan Rodgers has done at Swansea, a side which has been acclaimed for their passing football.
Lambert said: "I've got a lot of time for Brendan Rodgers, he's a terrific guy. They are playing really fine but we go down there with a lot of confidence.
"We have to try and stay in the league. The lads have been brilliant. Swansea had a head start on us because (two years ago) they were already in the Championship. We were in League One, got promotion and then had to go again.
"Every game is really, really tough. We'll go and give it a right good go."