Worthy - We can hack the pace

PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:14 14 September 2010

Pace is a vital ingredient for any successful side - and Nigel Worthington reckons the Canaries have got it in abundance at present. Since Robert Earnshaw and Jonatan Johansson linked up with Darren Huckerby on transfer deadline day Norwich City have had three lightning quick strikers on their books - and opposition defences have suffered as a result.

Pace is a vital ingredient for any successful side - and Nigel Worthington reckons the Canaries have got it in abundance at present.

Since Robert Earnshaw and Jonatan Johansson linked up with Darren Huckerby on transfer deadline day Norwich City have had three lightning quick strikers on their books - and opposition defences have suffered as a result.

The speedy trio shared five goals between them in the home wins against Brighton and Derby, and did plenty more good work for their team besides, and will now be looking to keep up the good work at Crystal Palace tomorrow.

Worthington knows goals will be a good deal harder to come by at Selhurst Park - but reckons his current front four will give Iain Dowie's promotion-chasing side plenty to think about if they maintain their current high standards.

“We have got great pace down the flanks and great pace down the middle as well and that is something we have not been blessed with an abundance of since I have been at the club,” he said. “I think this is one of quickest teams I have been able to put out and that can only be a good thing.

“Pace is an important ingredient for any side. The game is becoming ever faster and you need to have good legs to be a high profile footballer.

“We see that week in, week out at the very highest level - if you look at the top players they are all great athletes - and it can also help you win games in this league as well.”

Worthington clearly believes his side's pace up front will pose plenty of problems for Palace this afternoon, especially if there is opportunity to counter-attack, and is confident his frontmen will do their job in front of goal if the chances come their way.

“They have been lively in training and you can see little link-ups developing between them,” he said. “They are getting used to working with each other now, which is good.

“We have got a lot of people in the side who are capable of scoring goals and that is very important. Darren has scored in his last two games and Jonatan and Robert have both got a couple since they have been here, which is good.”

The City boss is well aware that the fourth member of the quartet, Peter Thorne, has failed to find the net in recent weeks and remains stuck on just one goal in 22 appearances - but he has no complaints about his summer signing's contribution to the cause.

“Peter hasn't scored a goal, but he has put in a lot of hard work for the team,” he said. “He has done the ugly side of the game very well by keeping defenders occupied, laying the ball off and setting up chances for other people.

“He did that on Saturday for Jonatan Johansson and that is part of his job. If he maintains those levels he'll get his reward in the shape of a goal or two.”

The Canaries will move to within six points of the play-off zone if they beat Palace on Saturday and Preston lose at runaway leaders Reading, but Worthington was refusing to talk up a late play-off charge yesterday. Like most managers, he is just taking one game at a time, and having had to settle for a draw in his three previous encounters against Palace he is expecting another extremely tight encounter at the weekend.

“It's all ifs, buts and maybes at the moment,” said the City boss when asked about his side's chances of promotion. “All I know is that we have got a job to do on Saturday - and we have got to set about it in the right way.

“We have given ourselves something to build on now. We got a good point at Hull and then followed that up by winning two home games while scoring five goals and keeping a couple of clean sheets. The question now is can we go and do that again?

“We have had some good away performances and some good away results in recent months, but there have also been three or four horrifying displays as well. They still leave an imprint in the mind and you don't want to see a repeat.

“Whenever we have played Palace recently it has been a good game, a competitive game and this one will be no different.

“I think that that 3-3 draw at Sehlhurst Park last season sums it up nicely - it has always been very tight, with nobody wanting to give an inch.

“Iain Dowie has done an excellent job down there and has put together a very good team. Andy Johnson is a good player - his qualities are there for all to see - while there's also Clinton Morrison, who we tried to bring here. There are others too - but we have got some good players of our own and I sure it will be an excellent game.”

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