Fozzy praises coaching guru

PUBLISHED: 16:13 29 February 2008 | UPDATED: 15:26 10 September 2010

Chris Lakey

Canaries skipper Mark Fotheringham has praised the part played in Norwich City's resurgence by coaching guru Steve Black.

Canaries skipper Mark Fotheringham has praised the part played in Norwich City's resurgence by coaching guru Steve Black.

The Geordie has been working behind the scenes for several months now, using his expertise on fitness and motivational issues.

Black is famous for his work in rugby union, where he is widely acknowledged as playing a major role in the development of England World Cup star Jonny Wilkinson.

His current role is on a part-time basis, and he has worked with the players as well as the coaching staff, particularly assistant manager Lee Clark, who is an old acquaintance, and coach Paul Stephenson.

“He's been different class to have around the place, especially when you look at the fact that he's worked with guys like Jonny Wilkinson who I've got so much respect for. He's 110pc professional,” said Fotheringham.

“Wilkinson has said numerous times that Blackie's been a massive influence for him. He's just such a good person to have around the squad because he creates a great atmosphere and he's always there for you if you need any advice or anything like that. Some of his ideas in terms of warm-ups are really good and we're just looking to take his mental approach and any advice he can give.”

Fotheringham said Black had helped improve his own mental attitude.

“Yes definitely. He had a meeting with us when Glenn first came in and you can see the difference in the training from when the gaffer first came,” he said. “The boys are absolutely buzzing. The tempo of the training is so much higher - I think a few need to wear shin-pads now because it's that high.

“It's because there's competition now and we all know we've got to play well to get into the team.

“Having guys like Blackie coming in is all about the standards. We're all striving to get to the standards he's been at, no matter whether it's in rugby or other clubs he's worked at as well.

“I think with any sport it's a lot to do with mental toughness and that's what we're trying to create at this club. We've got a lot of boys who are mentally tough. And we've got guys here like Dion and boys with experience. Just to train with them every day is a great experience because you can see how mentally strong they have been throughout their career. It's good to have that environment.”

Fotheringham is waiting for the call from Roeder today after missing last week's win over Barnsley through suspension - and watching Kieran Gibbs and Matty Pattison do a sterling job in a central midfield that was also missing Darel Russell, who has another two games of a ban to serve.

“Darel's a very important player for us,” said Fotheringham. “I think he's picked up 10 man of the match champagne bottles. He's going to be a big miss.

“But thanks to the lads who came in, you would never have known myself, Dion and Darel were all missing at the weekend. They put on a great performance and that's really pleasing.

“They've got the jersey at the moment and it's going to be really hard to get back in the team.

“The training's been high tempo because we know we've got to train well and get the standards expected because otherwise we'll not make the team. So it's going to be exciting to see what the team is on Saturday.”

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