Croft praises City's saviour

PUBLISHED: 10:50 22 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:47 10 September 2010

Sheffield United keeper Paddy Kenny is unable to stop Lee Croft’s shot finding the back of the net to give Norwich victory late on at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Sheffield United keeper Paddy Kenny is unable to stop Lee Croft’s shot finding the back of the net to give Norwich victory late on at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Chris Lakey

Lee Croft's first goal for 10 months brought his side's first home win of the season - but admitted he couldn't have done it without David Marshall. It was Marshall who had denied Blades sub Danny Webber with a superb save just moments before Croft's injury-time winner.

Lee Croft's first goal for 10 months brought his side's first home win of the season - but admitted he couldn't have done it without David Marshall.

It was Marshall who had denied Blades sub Danny Webber with a superb save just moments before Croft's injury-time winner.

"Credit to Marshy who has kept us in it a minute before, that's won us the game as much as the goal did," said Croft.

"That was just as important. If he doesn't save them we are probably dead and buried. They score at the end of the game and our heads probably go down, but Marshy has done that so many times.

"We know what a great keeper he is and he keeps us in so many games, so it was good to put one in the other end and make his job worthwhile.

"He's a fantastic keeper and it was nice to put his work to good use and go on and get the three points."

Croft hasn't scored since last November, in a 3-1 home defeat by Watford in manager Glenn Roeder's second game in charge.

Even now, his City tally is just five in 95 appearances, although he readily acknowledges he should have been off the mark long before Saturday. But some glaring misses cost him his place and Saturday's recall to the starting line-up followed six games on the bench.

"I missed a chance at Coventry and the gaffer had a few words with me because that could have got us back in the game and I missed another one at MK Dons the game after and it kind of got to me a little bit," said Croft. "I got left out of the side probably on the back of that and it's just good to be back. I have been training well and forcing my way back in and hopefully I can stay there now. I feel good, I felt sharp from the off.

"The gaffer has been telling me once I cut in don't be afraid just to have a go. As long as I am doing the right thing - if I miss a shot he won't be bothered with that. I just took a gamble and luckily it went in the far corner.

"It was a great moment. It was great for the team to get that first three points at home and obviously I was delighted to get my first goal. It was worth waiting for and hopefully a few more will come now. Hopefully I have broken the duck, as the gaffer said to me, and I can start chipping in with a few more now."

As well as ending his own barren run, it ended City's search for a home win this season.

"It was a long time coming," admitted Croft. "We have been going on about how well we played against Birmingham. It wasn't a great performance the other night (against QPR), but we know what we are capable of and it was just great to finally get the three points, not just for the lads but for the fans as well, who have been great here so far this season.

"The gaffer had us in Thursday and Friday and said it was important how he wouldn't have any mopesey people about, he wouldn't have anyone down on the training ground and we have come here and put it behind us, and that is what you have to do and it paid dividends.

"Now we need to push on. It was a good win at Plymouth, we have had good performances at home but we hadn't won, but now hopefully that will kickstart us and put us on a good run. It completes the set. We have won both away and home and we have been picking up points away from home as well and if we continue that and make this a hard ground to come to, who knows what will happen?"

A winning goal and a good performance - but will Croft be able to keep his place for the trip to Barnsley next weekend - and beyond?

"The gaffer speaks to you individually and if he leaves someone out of the side it is an opportunity for someone else to come in," said Croft. "I think we have a good squad and there are players who are itching to get in. Wes (Hoolahan), we know he is a brilliant player and he's going to be raring to get back in. If you're not on top of your game you have a chance of not playing, so we have to be on top of our game all the time."

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