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Iwan Roberts: Why I never wished my striker rivals well...

PUBLISHED: 10:59 09 November 2017

Iwan Roberts and, in the background, Zema Abbey. Picture: Archant

Iwan Roberts and, in the background, Zema Abbey. Picture: Archant

Like many of you after the team’s very impressive eight-game unbeaten run in the Championship, I got a little bit carried away as Norwich sat in a credible sixth position, thinking that the play-offs were a real possibility this season.

However, after three consecutive losses they have plummeted to 13th and are now four points off a play-off position.

This international break couldn’t have come at a better time for Daniel Farke and his players as with no game for two weeks they can get some serious work done on the training field at Colney – working on all those good habits that enabled the team to get some very impressive results, especially on the road in the last six or seven weeks.

Scoring is a massive problem for the team and it has to be addressed as soon as possible. With only the three Bs - Burton, Birmingham and Bolton – with a worse attacking record than Norwich, people have been asking me to dig my boots out and get myself down to Carrow Road... things aren’t quite that bad yet!

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The fact of the matter is that the team have scored less than a goal a game in the league and that, quite simply, is not good enough.

With Nelson Oliveira injured the main responsibility for scoring goals lies on Cameron Jerome’s shoulders. Unfortunately, the big man is really struggling right now and once again took some heavy criticism after the defeat against Bolton when he missed a really good opportunity early on to put Norwich ahead.

In his last two seasons in this league Cameron scored 34 goals in 81 games, which isn’t too shabby in my opinion, and, yes, he’s struggled this season for one reason or another. But he never leaves anything out on the field, which can’t be said of everyone.

He reminds me of myself – I needed at least three chances to score and if players created those three or more chances for me I’d fancy myself to bag at least one! Well apart from my first season at Norwich when I couldn’t hit a cow’s backside with a banjo!

I read a very interesting article by Spurs and England left-back Danny Rose earlier in the week about how he’s had to seek help from a psychiatrist to get over the anger and jealousy he’s had towards his Spurs team-mates after the success they’ve had while he’s been out injured. I can hear people saying that he should be delighted that his team-mates have been doing well without him, but I can totally see where he’s coming from.

When I was out of the team, whether I was injured or dropped, I never wanted the player who took my place to do well. Of course I always wanted the team to win. However, from a totally selfish point of view I never wanted whoever played up front to score. In fact, I’d be delighted if they had a complete stinker as it meant that I might get my place back in the next match.

I remember being dropped by Nigel Worthington as I hadn’t scored for about five games and big Zema Abbey being given the nod in front of me and I was furious.

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Zema was a great lad and someone I got on with very well, but did I wish him good luck before the game? Well, I probably did. But I wouldn’t have meant a word of it. It probably would have been a token gesture of a hand shake with Zema and that would have been it.

The best result for me that day as I sat on the bench hoping the big fella wouldn’t perform as I knew he was capable of would have been us winning 1-0 with, hopefully, one of the opposition players scoring an own goal – then me coming on for Zema, performing well while I was on the field, and retaining my place in the starting XI.

Just to finish I’d like to take this opportunity to wish Wes and his Republic of Ireland team-mates all the very best in their two legged play-off games against Denmark tomorrow night with the second leg on Tuesday night in Dublin.

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