Youssef hopes to wade in with more goals

PUBLISHED: 11:58 19 January 2007 | UPDATED: 10:00 14 September 2010

Youssef Safri is hoping the end of his personal goal drought will inspire his fellow Norwich City midfielders to follow suit as they bid to compensate for the loss of striker Robert Earnshaw.

Youssef Safri is hoping the end of his personal goal drought will inspire his fellow Norwich City midfielders to follow suit as they bid to compensate for the loss of striker Robert Earnshaw.

Earnshaw, the Championship's top scorer with 17 goals, looks certain to miss the rest of the campaign after having surgery on a groin injury.

It makes manager Peter Grant's call for players from all positions to get on the scoresheet even more urgent as the Canaries, who have slipped to 17th place in the table, take on Burnley at Turf Moor tomorrow (3pm).

Safri scored from a direct free-kick, his first goal in 16 months, to put City ahead against Plymouth at Carrow Road last Saturday. It looked like the perfect 30th birthday present, but the final scoreline took all the gloss off the occasion.

“I think it was a really good goal and I had been hoping to score because it's been such a long while that I didn't score for Norwich, but to lose 3-1 at home after being 1-0 up was sad and disappointing for all the players,” said the Moroccan international.

“It is a bad luck for Earnie and for the squad to lose someone like him because of the goals he's scored and the role he's playing in our team. I wish him all the best and hope he will be back soon because we need him. Hopefully Dion Dublin can go a good job and score more goals for us.

“Most of the goals are scored only by the strikers. I think we need to share it out between other players. There are a few players from the midfield or from the defence who need to score and hopefully we can score more from free-kicks.”

Safri's central midfield partner last week, Dickson Etuhu, has gone 14 games without finding the net since scoring his fourth for the club against Colchester. None of the back four on duty against Plymouth last week have scored this season, while of the two midfielders on the bench, Carl Robinson has scored twice and Andy Hughes has yet to open his account.

Asked where the goals were coming from in Earnshaw's absence, Grant insisted: “We've got good players here. There's no doubt of that, but losing someone with 17 goals . . . I don't think Manchester United could lose 17 goals.

“We'll have to live with it. We've got the boys here, and we have to get more goals from around the field.

“We have to be braver in the area and the boys know there is no hiding place because we have to score the goals.”

New signing Chris Brown could make his full debut at Burnley after a 25-minute outing as a substitute against Plymouth, but the shape of City's attack tomorrow remains uncertain.

Grant said he would have no worries about pairing Brown and Dublin up front, saying: “They're not similar, they've got different attributes. Chris is more mobile, he can stretch the opposition and get behind them. Dion, because of his experience and knowledge of the game, is a different type of player. We've got a different combination there.”

But with centre-back Jason Shackell struggling with an ankle injury and yet to train this week, Dublin may yet to have to revert to a defensive role, which could open the door for a full debut for 18-year-old striker Chris Martin, who was on the bench last week.

“Young Chris Martin has done exceptionally well in the youth team and he's trained with us the last few days and he's been a shining light in training. He's a wonderful talent and it's just a matter of managing that. Sometimes there's a cloud and sometimes there's a silver lining and hopefully he can be that,” said Grant.

Safri admitted that Burnley, with only one win in their last 11 Championship games, would be just as desperate for victory.

“It's a tough game, especially after Burnley beat us here and with our situation at the moment. I think everybody was disappointed about the result on Saturday. We had a video on Monday showing everything from the game, so everyone was focused on that and after that session, looking sharp in training and looking forward to the game,” said Safri.

“I'm really happy about my own performance at the moment and the work I'm doing in training. I didn't play for a while and that's why I'm working hard and doing a bit extra just to get my fitness back and thankfully everything is fine at the moment.”

Potentially heavy conditions at Turf Moor were not a problem, said Safri.

“I don't mind these conditions. I have played for five years in England so I don't mind,” he said.

Grant admitted he was considering changes.

“I've thought about the team long and hard because we need something different, there's no doubt of that. We cannot keep being as up and down as we are. It's very, very disappointing. The first two days of this week have probably been the most difficult days I've had since I came here. I was very, very disappointed with the show on Saturday. But in that game, we still had a lot of chances, we were still in good areas of the pitch and we didn't take them.”

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