Leon ready to fight back

PUBLISHED: 08:51 01 April 2006 | UPDATED: 09:19 14 September 2010

Leon McKenzie will be aiming to make up for a couple of uncharacteristic lapses in front of goal this afternoon as Norwich City go looking for a fifth straight win at Carrow Road.

Leon McKenzie will be aiming to make up for a couple of uncharacteristic lapses in front of goal this afternoon as Norwich City go looking for a fifth straight win at Carrow Road.

The popular striker has scored in each of City's previous two home fixtures, with a couple of well taken efforts helping his side to hard-fought 2-1 victories over Stoke and Sheffield United.

But it was a very different story for McKenzie at Burnley last week, with two early misses proving crucial as the struggling hosts emerged from a barren spell to claim a well deserved victory in front of the Sky television cameras.

The City frontman wasted a glorious chance to fire the Cnaraies into an early lead when he managed to pick out a covering defender on the line with the goal at his mercy - and was guilty of another piece of poor finishing minutes later when he lobbed the ball tamely into the arms of keeper Brian Jensen when clean through on goal.

McKenzie was disappointed not to have taken advantage of those golden opportunities, and knows only too well how different the game could have been had he reproduced the firepower he has been showing recently on home soil. But he insists it won't affect his confidence when he runs out to lead the Norwich attack against an in-form Leicester side this afternoon.

“I am always there or thereabouts in the box, trying to do my thing,” he said. “Hopefully this will be one of those games when I get a few chances and put them away.

“Unfortunately that didn't happen in my last game. I had a couple of good chances by my standards and it didn't come off for me.

“I was disappointed that I didn't take at least one of those, but that's gone now, I can't afford to dwell on it. I have just got to look towards this game and try and get it right. The same applies to the team because we didn't play well at Burnley, we know that.

“I don't like missing chances but it doesn't affect my confidence. It's just part and parcel of being a striker. Look at Wayne Rooney. He missed a couple against Birmingham the other day before he finally stuck one away.

“It happens to the best of them and you have just got to get on with it. You know me, I don't hide. I was there to miss last Friday - and hopefully I'll be there to score at the weekend. In this game you have got to keep going, keep grafting - and hopefully you will get your reward in the end.”

McKenzie's main target today is three points for Norwich City. But if he scored the winner it would clearly provide the icing on the cake - and he wouldn't mind how it came!

“I was pleased with the finish against Stoke while the one against Sheffield United was a decent striker's goal,” he said. “But I'll take anything that is going, you have got to be like that when you play in my position. To be honest I'd be happy with a tap-in on Saturday. I don't think I have had one of those since I have been at this club. If I bundle one in from a couple of inches, and it helps us to all three points, I will be a happy man.”

City go into today's game with little but pride to play for, having slipped effectively 12 points off the play-off pace with just six games to play following Preston's victory over Crewe on Tuesday. But McKenzie insists pride will be more than enough to spur him on - and insists it will be a similar story for all the Norwich players.

“We won't have any problem getting ourselves up for this game. If you can't get yourself up for a game you shouldn't be playing professional football,” he said.

“The season hasn't gone well for us and we have pretty much under-achieved. We have just been too inconsistent this season, it's as simple as that.

“Now we have just got to brush that off and fight until the very end. If we could finish the season well it would be positive for us, positive for the manager and positive for the supporters too. If you win games it gives you a lot of confidence and that is what we have got to try and do.

“It's going to be very tough for us to get in the play-offs now - even if we won all our games we would still need some big favours from other teams.

“All we can do is go out there and do our best. Play with pride, play with no fear - and see where it takes us.

“Leicester have picked up a little bit recently and are a decent side. Everyone wants to beat Norwich so it will be another tough game for us. But we came through one of those against Sheffield United and hopefully we can do it again.”

From a personal point of view McKenzie is looking to make up for lost time after spending the best part of six months on the sidelines with two separate ankle injuries. His goal tally for the season currently reads four in 18 games, only 10 of which have been starts - and he would dearly love to improve on that respectable return between now and the end of the month, while building up an understanding with big money signing Robert Earnshaw.

“I want to show the manager that I am worth a place in the side, while developing a partnership with Earnie,” he said.

“We are working hard and there are some good signs already, even though I am not a target man. I am not saying I can't win the ball in the air and give Earnie something to work off. But I have always preferred playing alongside a big man like Dean Ashton - I think that has always suited my game. At the moment it's a case of adapting, and I think I am doing that.

“The ankle is holding up. There are good days and bad days but I am training every day and playing on a regular basis - that is the main thing. There are six games left - and I will be giving it my best for those six games and I know the other lads will be doing just the same.”

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