Askou confident of maintaining league form

Michael Bailey Norwich City's newfound confidence is strong enough to survive Saturday's subdued FA Cup exit according to one of the men who missed the trip to Carlisle, Jens Berthel Askou.

Michael Bailey

Norwich City's newfound confidence is strong enough to survive Saturday's subdued FA Cup exit according to one of the men who missed the trip to Carlisle, Jens Berthel Askou.

The Canaries were distinctly off colour as they slipped out of the Cup with a whimper at Brunton Park - a game the Dane missed at late notice after his wife fell ill.

But with an opportunity to put things the weekend's wrongs to right in League One at Southend tonight (7.45pm), in a competition arguably more important to Norwich this season, Askou believes City are more than good enough to maintain their fine recent league form.

He said: “Of course it's always disappointing when you lose football games and we were hoping to get through to the next round and possibly have a good draw with a good opponent. It could've been fun to play against a Premier League team.

“But that's not how it went and now we have to get back on the horse. We have a game coming up and we have to be ready for that.

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“We've been on a roll for a long time now and kept on winning and it's difficult to go week in and week out winning every games, and, credit to Carlisle, they've been doing well the last couple of weeks.

“We're not a worse team than we were last week suddenly, it's just getting back up and getting back into that winning streak we were on before.

“There is still plenty of confidence and plenty of good players in this squad to get back in the game and a get another good result, so we're not worried at all.”

The 27-year-old is hoping to be given a recall at Roots Hall tonight after Gary Doherty and Michael Nelson took central defensive duties at the weekend, providing his family's health improves.

He said: “They're still struggling, especially my wife. She's been in bed for five or six days in a row and I've never seen somebody so sick before, so it's been tough.

“But I'll do everything I can to be able to play. I was unhappy to miss out on the game Saturday but unfortunately that was how things were.”

Russell Martin waited patiently for his first taste of Norwich action since arriving from Peterborough United last week, while fellow loan signing Anthony McNamee comes into consideration for the first time tonight, and Askou welcomed the new additions' impact.

“I've just trained with them once last week and they're both good players,” he said. “They have showed some good skills and some positive spirit already on the first day they came in, so hopefully they'll help us achieve promotion to the Championship.

“It's always a possibility there will be new players and whenever they come in, it's always good with new people. They bring some new energy and some different things into the squad.”

And with the added bonus of another right-back - in Russell - on the books, Askou should avoid any more outings at full-back this season after his cameo at Paulton Rovers.

“None of our normal right-backs were fit and I had to play there, and luckily it went OK,” he added. “I'm just glad there are new players in to help us because we'll need some help from everybody.”

Norwich completed their 25th competitive fixture of the season at Brunton Park on Saturday and, having played in Danish and Turkish football during his career, it is a work load Askou has never experienced before - although he is happy he can cope with the demands.

“I've already played 22 games and normally it would take me two thirds of the season in Denmark to play that many games, so of course it's a big difference to me,” said Askou.

“But I'm finding myself quite comfortable doing it. I like playing games and I've been lucky I've been fit so far to play and train, and when we're winning, I'm enjoying it.

“It takes a toll on your body, sure it does, and that's why the gaffer wants to bring in some fresh energy and some new people to strengthen the squad, because we know we're going to need everybody throughout the whole season.

“It's a long season and maybe in total we're going to play more than 50 games. We're not going to be able to play with the same 11 all the time, so we're going to need some help from everybody.”