200 up for Drury
RICK WAGHORN Nigel Worthington paid tribute to landmark man Adam Drury as Norwich City prepare to resume their Coca-Cola Championship programme at Plymouth on Saturday.
Manager Nigel Worthington paid tribute to landmark man Adam Drury as Norwich City prepare to resume their Coca-Cola Championship programme at Plymouth Argyle tomorrow (3pm).
Left-back Drury is set to make his 200th senior appearance for the Canaries at Home Park, nearly five years after signing for the club from Peterborough United.
And while Worthington slapped a ban on player interviews at Colney yesterday, saying he did not want them questioned over the future of Dean Ashton and Robert Green, he was happy to sing the praises of one of his first signings as manager.
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“Over the period of time that he's been with us, Adam has been a very consistent performer. He's been there week in, week out and, of course, had the honour of lifting the Championship trophy as captain in 2004,” said Worthington.
“He made an excellent start in the Premiership and while he maybe dipped a little in the middle, he came back strongly towards the end and overall I think he's given this football club good value for money. He's a very solid performer.
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“The fact that this is his 200th game has already been mentioned and I said to him there's no reason why he can't now go on and play another 200 games for the football club. So, here's to the next 200!”
Worthington has demanded his players repay the club's long-distance fans in the best way possible - by picking up three big points at Plymouth.
Well over 1,000 Canary supporters are expected to make the trip to deepest Devon - a 680-mile round trip from the gates of Carrow Road to the turnstiles of Home Park.
The players and management were making the journey today by plane. The Norfolk-based supporters face a 14-hour round trip by road - even without any problems from bad weather or road works.
“It's important that we go and perform and get a good result for them,” said Worthington, as the Canaries make their first visit to Plymouth in 38 years.
“They're the ones that make the time and the effort - and give up the money and everything else - to watch their team and they're the ones that you want to try to reward.”
The biggest reward of all would be a fourth straight away victory following City's successes at Crewe Alexandra, Sheffield United and Leicester City - a remarkable about-turn in their Championship fortunes that propelled them to within three points of the play-off places and handed Worthington the Manager of the Month Award for December.
Two home defeats later, by Preston in the Championship and West Ham United in the FA Cup - Worthington is determined to return to winning ways.
“We're three points off the play-offs and that's a nice position to be in, but we've got to keep it going - we've got to be relentless in what we're trying to achieve.”
Who, exactly, he tries to achieve that with is the big question as that traditional Canary mix of suspension, injury and transfer speculation continues to undermine the manager's plans.
Robert Green and Dean Ashton tick are both subject to widespread transfer rumour and liable to be out injured - Green with a hangover from his stretcher-borne exit against West Ham United and Ashton with the groin strain that ruled him out of the game with his latest suitors.
Darren Ward could yet make a rare start, while up front, with the in-form Paul McVeigh suspended, Norwich's attacking hopes could rest on a front three of Peter Thorne, Ian Henderson and the returning Darren Huckerby.
Team skipper Andy Hughes may yet prove a welcome addition on the bench as he, his rebuilt cheekbone and eye socket and a Phantom of the Opera-style mask return to frontline duty. Jason Jarrett is also expected to start against his former loan employers.
As for Argyle, Pilgrims boss Tony Pulis will recall on-loan West Ham defender Elliott Ward after he was cup-tied for the FA Cup clash against Wolves, while Nick Chadwick is set to partner Micky Evans up front after being sidelined for a fortnight with hamstring trouble.