Askou is ready for call to arms

Michael Bailey Jens Berthel Askou is ready to answer the call tonight as Norwich City aim to spring a Carling Cup surprise at Ewood Park. The Canaries travel to Premier League Blackburn Rovers for their second round clash (8pm) with the Danish central defender poised to make his first start of the season, following the ankle injury suffered by Michael Nelson against Swansea on Saturday.

Michael Bailey

Jens Berthel Askou is ready to answer the call tonight as Norwich City aim to spring a Carling Cup surprise at Ewood Park.

The Canaries travel to Premier League Blackburn Rovers for their second round clash (8pm) with the Danish central defender poised to make his first start of the season, following the ankle injury suffered by Michael Nelson against Swansea on Saturday.

A scan on the injury will determine how long Nelson's absence may last - but for now, Askou is hoping he can fit seamlessly into a City defence that has kept successive clean sheets in two Championship wins.


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“I don't know the situation yet, but of course I'm always looking forward to playing,” said Askou, who replaced Nelson with only minutes to go as Norwich earned a dramatic 2-0 win over the Swans on Saturday.

“I haven't played much in the beginning of this season so I'm just waiting for my chance and I'm looking forward to whenever that will be.

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“I think the lads at the back have done fantastic the last couple of games. We've had two clean sheets and they were fantastic on Saturday, and it's a shame Michael got injured. I'm not sure how bad it is but they all did a fantastic job.

“Swansea played some good football but we punished them at the end and hung in there throughout the 90 minutes and didn't give a lot of chances away - and that's big credit to the defence and (goalkeeper) John Ruddy as well, who had a fantastic game. They looked great on Saturday, they did.

“It's always good to come on, even though it was just a couple of minutes. For me it felt good coming on and we even scored when I was on the pitch, so that was a good feeling and a great win.

“I think I had one touch, one header and that was it, so I didn't play a big part. But it was good to come in and get the cheer of the crowd and great to play in from of them again.”

Both City and Rovers are expected to field sides much changed from the weekend, but Askou is expecting a tough challenge whichever players they come up against at Ewood Park tonight.

“It will be a good test and I'm counting on Blackburn to play a good side, so it's going to be interesting and after the form we've been in the last week, it's good for us and I think hopefully we will do well and give them a hard time,” said Askou.

“It doesn't feel too different (being a cup game). Of course, it's a Premier League team we are playing, so there will be some different faces than we're used to seeing. But besides that, it's not a big difference.”

Askou missed a large chunk of last season through injury having won a regular slot in manager Paul Lambert's starting 11, while the 28-year-old did not travel to Germany for a summer training camp due to the imminent arrival of his third child with wife, Rikke.

It all left Askou playing catch up to his colleagues, but despite the frustration of missing games he is still to be a part of things at Carrow Road.

“Of course you want to play as much football as possible,” said Askou. “I'm fit now and I had been out a while with injuries and for personal reasons over the summer. I'm enjoying life very much at the moment and even though I haven't had many minutes of game time, I have still come on and I'm very close to it at the minute.

“In football eventually you will get your chance and then it is just a matter of taking it, so I'm just looking forward to whenever my chance comes again and then I'll do my best to prove to everyone, including myself, that I'm more than ready to step in.“We have some good training sessions during the week and everyone is playing their part, even though they're not playing 90 minutes, you still feel you're an important part of it and you're training to keep the other guys on their toes - because it's a good squad and there are a lot of good quality players all over, and people are more than capable to step in if they're needed.

“I think that positive spiral we were in last season has continued and the crowd has been amazing, supporting us even though we gave them a bit of a rough start (against Watford).

“That atmosphere surrounds not just the ground but the entire city and it is amazing to be a part of it and feel it.”

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