Robins worried by Hartson

PUBLISHED: 12:31 18 October 2007 | UPDATED: 10:38 14 September 2010

Norwich City's new loan signing John Hartson is already posing headaches for opponents despite the fact he has yet to pull on a yellow and green shirt.

Norwich City's new loan signing John Hartson is already posing headaches for opponents despite the fact he has yet to pull on a yellow and green shirt.

The Canaries have turned to the former Welsh international as they bid to end a goal drought lasting 555 minutes which has contributed to their plummet towards the foot of the Coca-Cola Championship table.

Hartson's first chance to get on the scoresheet is likely to come on Saturday in the clash with Bristol City at Carrow Road as caretaker boss Jim Duffy takes charge of the team for the first of a minimum of two games.

But Duffy's managerial counterparts at Ashton Gate are already concerned at the part 32-year-old Hartson could play if he is unleashed against the Robins.

Assistant manager Keith Millen has admitted the coaching staff at the West Country club have been forced to come up with a plan of action to counteract the striker's presence.

“We'll have to beware of John Hartson if he plays,” Millen said. “Because they (City) have a caretaker manager in charge at the moment, it's very difficult to guess what their team will be.

“But we have to assume Hartson is fit enough to play and we have to prepare to deal with the threat he poses. His biggest asset is his physicality and he's a very, very strong player. He's such a good target in the penalty box that you can't afford to give silly fouls away.

“You know with Hartson that he's not going to run in behind you, but he's good in the air and a very useful finisher.”

Millen revealed he has been working with the regular Robins central defensive pairing of Louis Carey and Liam Fontaine on ways to combat the threat of Hartson and other Canaries stars too.

“I take the defenders away to work on their own and we analyse the strikers we're going to come up against in the next game,” Millen said.

“We'll be devising a method for dealing with Hartson as well as Darren Huckerby.”

The Robins are currently sitting pretty in the Championship promotion play-off places after a fine start to the season following promotion, and Millen says his men want to add to the Canaries turmoil by nicking all three points.

“On paper, they have some very good players,” he told the Bristol Evening Post. “But something is obviously going wrong and it's always a difficult time for players when they are waiting for a new manager to come in and wondering who it will be.

“That's something we're going to have to try to take advantage of if we can.”

Robins' midfielder Lee Johnson, son of manager Gary, confirmed his side are desperate to add to Norwich's woes.

“Norwich will be under pressure from their fans and hopefully we will be able to learn from the mistakes we made at Preston after we went there a little bit complacent, so our aim is to go to Norwich and start the game really fast and frantic,” he said.

“It seems like their players are low on confidence and we will have to take advantage of that.”

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