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Leaky Wycombe defence face free-scoring Canaries

Wycombe Wanderers entertain high-flying Norwich City on Saturday as they enter a new decade as odds-on favourites for relegation and an immediate return to League Two.


The Canaries will arrive at Adams Park this weekend with two old faces on show - former right-back Russell Martin and ex manager Paul Lambert.

Despite being a consistent performer who defended well, regularly enhanced the attack and provided more than his fair share of assists, Russell Martin also had his critics whilst at Adams Park - one chap near me regularly reaching spectacular levels of apoplexy each time the full-back failed to meet his high expectations - but I wouldn't mind betting that he and many others now wish we had Russell back among the ranks of our creaking defence.

Lambert, although he never really forged a connection with the Wycombe supporters, will always be remembered for overseeing the Chairboys' famous run to the semi-final of the Carling Cup in 2007, but will also be held to account for presiding over one of the club's worst post-Christmas collapses later the same season, when a team which many felt was good enough to have secured promotion could only finish a disappointing 12th after winning just one of their last thirteen games.

The following season, Lambert led Wycombe to the heady heights of 7th, where after a bitter play-off semi-final defeat to Stockport County he promptly resigned citing vague dissatisfaction with the club. The haste of his departure and his lack of a satisfactory explanation to the fans will probably ensure that Lambert receives a luke-warm reception at best on Saturday, with many supporters seeing him as a cold journeyman who just happened to pass this way.

Not that a poor reception will bother Lambert. The Canaries' boss currently presides over sleeping giants who lie third in the table with 45 points from 23 games and could find themselves in the automatic promotion places on Saturday evening if they beat Wycombe and second-placed Charlton lose at Walsall.

Including their 5-2 victory over Wycombe in Lambert's first game in charge on 22nd August, Norwich have won 13, drawn 5 and lost just 2 of their last 20 league games, their two defeats coming on the road at Leeds United and Franchise.

Saturday's visitors also boast the division's top marksman, Grant Holt, who scored five times in a single game at Adams Park just 15 months ago and who has chalked-up 20 of the Canaries 67 goals in all competitions so far this season.


Wycombe Wanderers come into this game on the back of two heavy defeats - 4-0 at Yeovil and 5-2 at home to Brighton.

Second-bottom of the table with only 18 points from 24 games, the Chairboys are currently six points below safety.

Recent results have clearly exposed Wycombe's frailties at the back and have prompted manager Gary Waddock to call their performances "unacceptable" and to promise sweeping changes if he is able to attract new players to Adams Park in January.

Speaking to his club's official website, Waddock said: "I've been extremely busy. There are no cast iron certainties that people will be walking through the door once the window opens. There is a process you have to go through, you'll take knock-backs and you won't always get the targets you want."

So it looks like Saturday's game will come too early for any transfer activity to make a difference and that the Chairboys will just have to pick themselves up and try to make a better fist of things than they did over the Christmas period. Most Wycombe fans will expect to lose this one, but they won't expect to see a single player giving up until the final whistle blows.


Norwich's last five games (All Competitions)

LG1: Oldham (H)...............Won 2-0
LG1: Yeovil (A)................Drew 3-3
JPT:: Southampton (A).....Drew 2-2 (lost on pens)
LG1: Huddersfield (H)........Won 3-0
LG1: Millwall (H) ...............Won 2-0


Wycombe's last five games (All Competitions)

LG1: Stockport (H)..........Won 2-1
LG1: Carlisle (A) .............Lost 1-0
LG1: Oldham (H)............Drew 2-2
LG1: Yeovil (A)................Lost 4-0
LG1: Brighton (H)............Lost 5-2


Norwich Goal Stats (31 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total).........67
Goals Conceded (Total).....36

Goals Scored (Away)........34
Goals Conceded (Away)....19

Clean Sheets....15


Wycombe Goals Stats (28 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total).........30
Goals Conceded (Total).....57

Goals Scored (Home)........19
Goals Conceded (Home)....28

Clean Sheets....2


Norwich's Top Goal Scorers (All Competitions)

Grant Holt.................20 (inc 1 pen)
Wesley Hoolahan.......13 (inc 4 pens)
Chris Martin..............13
Gary Doherty.............5

Five other Norwich players have each scored 2 goals.

Five other Norwich players have each scored 1 goal.


Wycombe's Top Goal Scorers (All Competitions)

Jon-Paul Pittman.........7 (inc 1 pen)
Matt Harrold...............7 (inc 4 pens)
Scott Davies...............4
Chris Zebroski............2
Chris Westwood..........2

Eight other Wycombe players have each scored 1 goal.


Norwich Shooting (Top-3)

Grant Holt.............49 on-target...40 off-target...1 against woodwork
Chris Martin..........38 on-target...23 off-target...2 against woodwork
Wesley Hoolahan...30 on-target...12 off-target...0 against woodwork


Wycombe Shooting (Top-3)

Scott Davies...........18 on-target...21 off-target...4 against woodwork
Matt Phillips............15 on-target...15 off-target...1 against woodwork
Jon-Paul Pittman.....17 on-target...12 off-target...0 against woodwork


Shooting (Club)
Norwich...............203 on target...133 off target...2 against woodwork
Wycombe............129 on target...107 off target...6 against woodwork



League Form Guide

All Games
Norwich......Pld: 23...W: 13...D: 6...L: 4......Pts: 45...Pts per game: 1.96
Wycombe...Pld: 24...W: 4.....D: 6...L: 14....Pts: 18...Pts per game: 0.75


Against Top Half Opposition
Norwich.......Pld: 11....Pts: 17....Pts per game: 1.54
Wycombe....Pld: 12....Pts: 12....Pts per game: 1.00


Against Bottom Half Opposition
Norwich........Pld: 12....Pts: 28....Pts per game: 2.33
Wycombe.....Pld: 12....Pts: 6......Pts per game: 0.50


Last Five league Games
Norwich.......WWDWW - 13 points
Wycombe.........WLDLL - 4 points


Last Five League Games (Away)
Norwich............LWDWD - 8 points


Last Five League Games (Home)
Wycombe:........LWWDL - 7 points



Previous Meetings

1993/94 FAC: Wycombe 0 Norwich 2
2009/10 LG1: Norwich 5 Wycombe 2



The Man In The Middle
Saturday's referee is Pat Miller from Bedfordshire who became a National List Referee in 2005. His last Wycombe game was the 2-1 win over Dagenham & Redbridge at Adams Park in September 2008. During that game he sent off Simon Church and so far this season he's issued 29 yellow cards and 1 red in 8 games.


Prediction

Away Win





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The Journalist

Writer: Len Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday December 31 2009

Time: 3:02PM

 

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