Crook confident Canaries can compete with the best

PUBLISHED: 06:00 11 February 2009 | UPDATED: 16:04 10 September 2010

Norwich first team coach Ian Crook insists the struggling Canaries can mix it with the Championship's best ahead of Saturday's testing trip to play-off chasing Preston.

Norwich first team coach Ian Crook insists the struggling Canaries can mix it with the Championship's best ahead of Saturday's testing trip to play-off chasing Preston.

Crook is urging City's squad to re-produce the battling spirit that typified the club's 3-3 draw at leaders Wolves on their previous road trip as their bid to pull clear of the relegation zone.

“The Wolves game should be a guideline for us,” he said. “They're the league leaders, four points clear, and we were away from home but we were very competitive and for me that shows what we can achieve if our spirit and attitude is right. We can't rely on how other teams perform, or perform against us, we just have to consider ourselves and we have to believe we can be competitive with anybody.

“People interviewed in this situation always say, 'it's one game at a time', which it is, but we all look at what's coming up right through the season and we have got a tough run-in with games like Ipswich and Reading. We need to get all the points we can get and the sooner we get them the better. You want to get yourself in a position where you are safe before then.”

The City Hall of Famer spent the final two years of his illustrious Norwich career in the old second division - and believes it has become tougher.

“I think it's possibly a more physical league,” he said. “Bristol City is a good footballing side, Doncaster was a good footballing side, but the top teams all have physical presence. Wolves are a big, physical side. Reading is a strong side.”

Crook and new assistant boss Ian Butterworth are still bedding in to familiar surroundings.

“It's been very tough putting any structure in place, working on anything like shape,” he said. “We've had a game Tuesday, then recovery, game Friday, then recovery, game Tuesday again, then recovery, and a game Saturday. I'm really impressed with the boys' attitude to work on the training field and in the games. None of us can question their desire to play well. I'm a big believer that you get out what you put into it. We would have liked better results, of course, but sometimes that's the way it goes.

“Bar a couple of decisions that didn't go our way, I don't think we can argue with the fact that Bristol City were the better side but they're the only team that's been better than us in the four games. In the other games we thoroughly deserved what we got and we probably deserved more.”

Bryan Gunn's bid to run the rule over a number of City's fringe players yesterday - including new Fulham defensive recruit Adam Leijer - in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Birmingham was wrecked by the weather.

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