Saturday media watch [04.05.13]: Norwich press previews
The Sun: Paul Lambert insists he does not care if his old club Norwich are relegated — after he was snubbed by huffy club chiefs on his last visit. The Aston Villa boss was not shaken when Canaries directors churlishly refused to personally greet him before a Capital One Cup clash earlier this season. But he has been stirred ahead of today's relegation crunch at Carrow Road. And despite his respect for Norwich fans, following three hugely successful years with the Norfolk club, Lambo says he does not give a damn if City lose the top-flight status he delivered to them in 2011.
Daily Mirror: Paul Lambert is not sentimental and is ready to push his old club Norwich closer to a Championship return. Lambert enjoyed three superb seasons at the Norfolk club until last summer when he quit for Aston Villa. He guided the Canaries into the Premier League from League One with successive promotions and took them to 12th last term. But the Scot walked out of Carrow Road after falling out with chairman Alan Bowkett and chief executive David McNally. An away win today will lift the Villans above Norwich and push City nearer the drop. And when asked if he would prefer both struggling clubs to survive, Lambert replied: "No. It's all about us now. I have nothing but gratitude to the club but there's no sentiment in football."
Daily Express: Paul Lambert goes back to Carrow Road today expecting a rough ride from the crowd and the cold shoulder from directors, but is not worried about pulling Norwich into the relegation fight. Lambert revealed that board members would not shake hands with him when he was at Norwich with Aston Villa for a Capital One Cup tie five months ago. Villa won 4-1 and a repeat win would send the Canaries flying into the relegation mix.
Guardian: As Paul Lambert prepares to face a hostile reception at Carrow Road, the Aston Villa manager has admitted that he is not bothered whether Norwich City survive in the Premier League and also insisted that he has no intention of toning down his goal celebrations in a crucial relegation battle against his former club. The Villa manager, whose side are one point behind Norwich, enjoyed three successful years at Carrow Road during which he won back-to-back promotions and finished 12th in the Premier League.
Daily Star: Paul Lambert isn't bothered if he plunges his old club Norwich deeper into the relegation dogfight today. The Aston Villa boss is hardly expecting a welcome mat when he returns to Carrow Road. Lambert was hero-worshipped there after leading Norwich into the Premier League with back-to-back promotions. But his Aston Villa side can leapfrog the Canaries and drop his old club right in it if they go home with all three points. Lambert knows he could be in for some stick after his controversial departure to take over the Midlands outfit. He is less than happy with the reception he got earlier in the season, when his side thumped Norwich 4-1 in the League Cup. And while he admits any celebrations will be muted, out of respect, whether Norwich survive or not is not uppermost in his thoughts.
ESPN: Paul Lambert admits he is still smarting from being given the Carrow Road cold shoulder as he prepares to make his second return to Norwich as Aston Villa manager. The Scot quit Norfolk amid acrimony last summer to take over at Villa and was unimpressed by the welcome back he received behind the scenes when his new club won handsomely there in a mid-season Capital One Cup tie. And, in the build-up to this weekend's League meeting of the clubs, he has made it clear he is indifferent to whether Norwich win their own Premier League survival fight.
The Sun: Aston Villa legend Peter Withe reckons the club has waited more than 30 years for a player like Christian Benteke. But this time Benteke's goals could be the key to survival, not silverware. The Belgian is just two shy of becoming the first Villa player since Withe to score 20 league goals in a season. That was in 1981 — the year Villa last won the league title. Now Benteke's goals may be saving Paul Lambert's men from relegation.
The Sun: Seb Bassong is backing himself in today's heavyweight battle with Christian Benteke. The clash between Norwich defender Bassong and Villa's £30million-rated Belgian star could decide the winner of the crucial relegation six-pointer. But Cameroon international Bassong is confident 22-goal Big Ben will not be striking again at Carrow Road.
Daily Star: Norwich defender Seb Bassong is backing himself in his heavyweight battle with Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke. The clash between Bassong and the £30m-rated Belgian star could decide the winner of today's crucial six-pointer between the relegation rivals. But Cameroon centre-back Bassong is confident 22-goal Benteke will not strike at Carrow Road.
Daily Star: Steve Clarke is happy to defy some diehard supporters who want West Brom to lose at home today. Clarke's men can do hated rivals Aston Villa a massive favour by beating relegation-haunted Wigan. Bashing the Latics would give Villa a huge lift in their fight to stay in the Premier League. But the Baggies' boss is quite happy to give some of his fans the hump and pocket three points.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.