Spillane gets his City chance

PUBLISHED: 09:46 14 August 2009 | UPDATED: 16:25 10 September 2010

Michael Spillane has finally been given the opportunity to stake a claim for a regular place in the Norwich City first team - but admits he'd happily watch from the stands if it meant the difference between winning and losing.

Michael Spillane has finally been given the opportunity to stake a claim for a regular place in the Norwich City first team - but admits he'd happily watch from the stands if it meant the difference between winning and losing.

Spillane's return to Carrow Road after a year's loan at Luton has seen him challenging for any one of three different roles - right-back, centre- back and centre midfield.

His hopes of an instant return were ended last weekend when he had to endure the full 90 minutes of the infamous opening day 7-1 hammering by Colchester from the safety of the subs' bench.

But defeat had its rewards at Yeovil on Tuesday, when right-back Jon Otsemobor was one of four casualties as manager Bryan Gunn wielded the axe - and Spillane came in, helping City to a resounding 4-0 win and staking his claim for a start at Exeter at the weekend.

However, Spillane knows that only the most outrageous of circumstances have put him in pole position - and it doesn't sit entirely comfortably on his 20-year-old shoulders.

"Obviously it gave me a start, but like all the players I would rather we'd won," he said. "I would have bided my time and waited for my chance, without a doubt. We are all in it together and we all want the same thing, but without a doubt I would have sat out of the squad to win on Saturday.

"I got the chance at Yeovil and we did well and won 4-0. We did well as a defence and the whole team did well. There was a good shape to the team - we worked on it and it paid off."

Gunn now faces another big selection decision - whether or not to simply stick with a winning team. The fact City came through a nervous first half unscathed to take the game by the throat and score four goals is a case for keeping faith with his Yeovil boys.

Spillane, who struggled to earn a regular starting place as a youngster under Nigel Worthington, then Peter Grant and Glenn Roeder, added: "I enjoyed it at Yeovil, because there is no better feeling than winning.

"When we got two and three up we started to enjoy it and started to pass the ball and we showed what a good team we are.

"In the first half we showed our different qualities where we got it down and passed it on odd occasions, but we showed our determination to defend and to know what these League One teams are about. We showed both sides to our game.

"Obviously the 7-1 defeat was a shock to everyone, but it was a freak accident, a freak game. We just couldn't believe it. But we knew we hadn't become a bad team overnight and we showed at Yeovil we are not a bad team. But we can't just show it over one match. We have got to keep it up at Exeter and keep it going.

"We are not letting things go too far at the minute, we're keeping our feet on the ground and hopefully we will get another win on Saturday."

The hero on Tuesday was Grant Holt, who scored a hat-trick - and is winning fans in and out of the dressing room, although his strength and guile is nothing new to Spillane.

"Holty is a good player," he said. "I played against him last year for Luton at Shrewsbury and I thought he was a top drawer striker and when we signed him I knew we'd got a top player and he showed what he is all about.

"He's really good in the air - he is big, but not the biggest compared to some centre-backs, but he wins everything in the air and he has got great feet, he holds things up and works hard - and I think he will get more goals."

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