Davies looking to extinguish faint hopes

PUBLISHED: 09:28 06 April 2006 | UPDATED: 09:20 14 September 2010

Billy Davies is promising to put the final nail in Norwich City's coffin on Saturday as he vows to ignore the teams below Preston and concentrate on catching those above them.

Billy Davies is promising to put the final nail in Norwich City's coffin on Saturday as he vows to ignore the teams below Preston and concentrate on catching those above them.

Preston's hold on the final play-off spot had long been the one that Nigel Worthington had hoped Norwich could steal, but the Canaries' fatal inconsistency has meant that a mathematical miracle is now needed to get City into the top six.

And if Preston add to their unbeaten 16-match Championship run at Deepdale on Saturday, it means the season is over bar the shouting.

Even the bookmakers aren't offering odds on Norwich doing the unthinkable, with only Wolves and Cardiff given any chance of troubling the top six.

Preston boss Davies agrees, and says his players were focussed on the job.

“They know the situation now and we've said to them that they should not look below us, but look above us and try and catch the teams that are above us, concentrate on our games, try and take care of these very difficult games that we have,” he said.

“The emphasis now is looking up and not looking down and trying to claw back the three points we have between us and Crystal Palace and the five points between ourselves and Watford and Leeds.”

Davies reckons a repeat of Preston's 3-0 win at Carrow Road in the first game of the year would be spot on.

“It certainly would be nice,” he said. “It was a great performance down there; we scored some great goals and it really was a first class performance.

“Hopefully we can go out again and play the way we can play and we certainly have got the quality here to give teams problems.

“There is no bearing on what took place at Norwich - we have to go in there this weekend and again be very positive and hopefully that will be enough to pick up the three points.”

Davies says he can see light at the end of the tunnel in terms of injuries, with striker Brett Ormerod and Brian O'Neil ready to return after missing the weekend win at Coventry.

“We are hoping they can get back into the squad for the weekend, but apart from that we are talking a couple of weeks for Matty Hill and Danny Dichio and the rest of them are all long term,” he said.

Canaries midfielder Jason Jarrett, on loan to Preston until the end of the season, is ineligible to face his main employers, but he and former Ipswich striker Marcus Stewart, on loan from Bristol City, drew praise from their manager for their performances at the Ricoh Arena.

“Jason and Marcus are starting to settle in now, but it's hard for these guys, having spent some time on the sidelines and who haven't been playing as regularly as they would have liked,” he said.

“It's always difficult to play catch-up, but both played very, very well for us and are very good players. Jason I thought, in particular, was excellent and Marcus has been first class for us since he came in. They won't get full fitness until they get a break and get pre-season under their belts, but they are certainly giving us very good qualities.”

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