Lambert confident Alex Neil will finish the promotion job at Norwich

Ex-Norwich boss Paul Lambert thinks Alex Neil's men will gain promotion through the play-offs, with the semi-final second leg versus Ipswich on the horizon.

Paul Lambert was the last man to guide the Canaries into the Premier League, via a second successive promotion in 2010/11. But Lambert left in acrimonious circumstances when he became Aston Villa boss in June 2012.

However, Lambert has shown this week that there is no bitterness in his relationship with the East Anglia club and he fully expects Alex Neil to complete the job of gaining promotion back to the Promised Land at the first attempt, with a victory in the play-off semi-final versus Ipswich Town followed up with a Wembley triumph.

Speaking to the Eastern Daily Press, Lambert said:  “I think they’ll win promotion. Norwich is a great club with a great fan base and they are certainly equipped to get there. Manager Alex Neil has done fantastically well. I don’t really know him but he has handled himself really well and kept the players focused."

Despite undoubted confidence at Carrow Road, the tie is finely balanced after Ipswich's Paul Anderson equalised a Jonny Howson opener in last Saturday's first leg at Portman Road. With the tie level at 1-1 and a feisty derby atmosphere expected on Saturday lunchtime, it could go either way, and Lambert is well aware how much the game means to fans and players alike.  

“The derbies have huge intensity," Lambert continued "I never knew what to expect and I was suspended for the first one when I was there, but we went to Portman Road and won 5-1 the next time and it was massive for us.

“I know how important it is for Norwich fans and Alex will know that too. It would be great to see them go up for the people there and some players who have been there for a while.”

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch