Doherty wants to lead Norwich back into the Championship

PUBLISHED: 10:36 02 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:20 10 September 2010

David Cuffley

Defender Gary Doherty has no intention of walking out on Norwich City in their time of need. The 29-year-old centre-half, captain at the end of last season when the Canaries were relegated to League One, wants to stay at Carrow Road and lead the fight to regain Championship status.

Defender Gary Doherty has no intention of walking out on Norwich City in their time of need.

The 29-year-old centre-half, captain at the end of last season when the Canaries were relegated to League One, wants to stay at Carrow Road and lead the fight to regain Championship status.

Goalkeeper David Marshall, sold to Cardiff, and player of the season Lee Croft, who has signed for Derby on a free transfer, have already moved on and manager Bryan Gunn admitted yesterday that there could well be more departures before the new campaign gets under way.

But Doherty will not be one of them, as the former Republic of Ireland international confirmed after City returned to training yesterday.

He said: “No, not at all. I had the option last year if I wanted to leave and I made the decision that I wanted to stay here for a couple more years and I'll stand by that.

“It's disappointing we dropped down the league but I feel with a few key signings we've got a great chance of promotion this season.

“It's extremely important. You need fresh blood in, people who haven't been in the disappointing team of last season. From what I hear, we'll be getting a few more in so it's going to bolster the squad and I hope they'll be long-term signings because that's quite important as well.”

Doherty admitted it had been difficult to get the blow of relegation out of his system, but it was essential to make a fresh start.

“You've got to put it to the back of your head, really, the relegation thing, because you've got to prepare for next season,” he said.

“It's difficult because if you're living in Norwich, everyone you speak to keeps talking about relegation. It's hard to get it out of your head but, to be honest, you have to. We've got a really important season, we really want to be pushing for promotion and that's something you've got to concentrate on. We can't bear in mind what happened last season. We can't keep thinking about that.”

Doherty hopes to retain the armband, but said there had been no discussion on the subject.

He said: “We've hardly touched the ball yet, so there's been no talk of who's going to be captain. It's just a case of everyone getting fit. There has been no real football talk at the minute. It's just a case of getting fitness.

“I want to be captain. I enjoyed it towards the end of the season. I thought it brought my game on a little bit but whoever's going to be captain, it's a great thing and I'll give him my full support if it's not me.”

A heatwave greeted the first full training session at Colney yesterday but Doherty accepted it as good preparation for beginning the season in August.

He said: “Pre-season is always the hardest time for a professional footballer so you've got to prepare properly.

“It's been hot. Luckily, we were in the dome for the first couple of days doing sprint tests, but this was our first real day out in the sun.”

After kicking off their Championship campaign at home to Colchester, City's next three league games are against the three sides promoted from League Two - Exeter, Brentford and Wycombe - all in the space of eight days.

“I think it's a dangerous thing,” said Doherty. “Because of last season they're all going to be on a high, they've won a lot of games, whereas we lost a lot of games last year. So the first game and the last few games of pre-season are going to be extremely important for building confidence.

“Colchester at home is a great chance to get off to a good start against a local club.”

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