Nelson hails table-toppers

PUBLISHED: 11:22 01 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:57 10 September 2010

Michael Nelson says Norwich City have proved they can handle the pressure at the top of the table. Picture: James Bass

Michael Nelson says Norwich City have proved they can handle the pressure at the top of the table. Picture: James Bass

David Cuffley

Defender Michael Nelson hailed a record-breaking victory over his former club as a measure of Norwich City's ability to cope with the pressure of being League One leaders. The Canaries rounded off a gruelling eight days with a 2-1 success over Hartlepool United, their 11th consecutive home win, breaking the previous best of 10 in a row set by Ken Brown's 1985-86 Division Two title winners.

Defender Michael Nelson hailed a record-breaking victory over his former club as a measure of Norwich City's ability to cope with the pressure of being League One leaders.

The Canaries rounded off a gruelling eight days with a 2-1 success over Hartlepool United, their 11th consecutive home win, breaking the previous best of 10 in a row set by Ken Brown's 1985-86 Division Two title winners.

For the second time in five days, City had to come from behind to take three points, goals from Cody McDonald and debut-making left-back Michael Rose completing their second double of the season. Nelson, who moved to Carrow Road from Hartlepool last summer, was not surprised his old club made life difficult for the table-toppers early on.

“Every team does that when they come here,” he said. “They always seem to up their game in front of the big crowd. There's not a great deal of pressure on them. All the pressure is on us, especially with the way our record has been at home.

“But we coped well with it and showed our determination and belief to come from behind again.”

Visiting fans were still celebrating Neil Austin's 26th-minute opening goal when City hit back twice in the space of five minutes. “The reaction of the boys was brilliant. We kicked off and I don't think they had a touch before we levelled it up again. Then we went on and got the second goal, a great strike from Michael Rose.”

City are now unbeaten in 16 league games and have recorded eight straight victories home and away - just two short of equalling another record set by Brown's team 24 years ago - and 29-year-old Nelson has played in the last seven.

He said: “The record has been mentioned over recent weeks and we knew it was all on this game but it's been a very hard week having to play the majority of the game with 10 men against Brentford last Saturday, going to play on a ploughed field at Walsall on Tuesday then coming back here. We're happy to get nine points, get rested up and move on to next week at Millwall.”

In the absence of suspended skipper Grant Holt and injured full-back Adam Drury, the impact of McDonald and the on-loan Rose backed up manager Paul Lambert's prediction that everyone in his senior squad will need to contribute to City's promotion challenge at some stage.

Said Nelson: “It just emphasises the strength of the squad that he can make changes to the starting line-up and they can produce, and he can also make changes during the game and they can make such a big impact as well.

“There are a lot of decent players at the club. Some of them can't even make the bench, so you know that's the strength in depth we have and I hope we can keep hold of everyone and carry it on to the end of the season.

“Michael did very well, I thought. It's always difficult. He trained with us on Friday, slotted in, did a job and scored the winner, not bad on your debut. I'm sure he'll settle in as the days and the weeks go by.”

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