Broughton desperate to play against his first club
Chris Lakey Much-travelled striker Drewe Broughton is hoping to be fit for action tonight - to face the club where he started his career 14 years ago. The 31-year-old is struggling to overcome a combination of slight concussion and whiplash, sustained during Lincoln City's 4-1 home defeat by Celtic at the weekend.
Much-travelled striker Drewe Broughton is hoping to be fit for action tonight - to face the club where he started his career 14 years ago.
The 31-year-old is struggling to overcome a combination of slight concussion and whiplash, sustained during Lincoln City's 4-1 home defeat by Celtic at the weekend.
Broughton has trained for the past two days and says it's looking good for tonight, when the Canaries takes on Chris Sutton's Imps at Sincil Bank.
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“I suffered a bit of concussion and I lost my memory for six or seven seconds but there has been no adverse reaction since,” he said. “I try to go up early for headers and as I was in mid-air, the guy's head hit my leg.
“I could not get my hands out in time on the way down and I landed on the side of my face. It's not the first time I have had this sort of injury, and the chiropractor was quite surprised when I said I had done it 10 or 12 times before.
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“A click and a crack and everything's back in place - it's an occupational hazard at 31 years of age and it's a trademark for me. My wife asked me how many times I've been unconscious and it's eight or 10, but that's what I am paid for.”
It's pretty much the tale of the tape for Broughton, who admits he quickly learned how tough it was in the school of hard knocks after being brought up on the training fields at Colney.
“God didn't give me gifts or speed or nice trickery,” he said. “I'm a battering ram, as I keep telling the gaffer.
“When I came through the ranks at Norwich we were taught to play football and technically I was quite good for a big lad, but you never learn the other side of the game. It was leaving Norwich and going to the Conference when I learned that it's a different game, a man's game.”
Broughton came through the ranks at City - when one of his coaches was Mike Sutton, father of his current boss Chris - and made his debut in 1997, but he fell out of favour under Bruce Rioch and moved to Brentford after making just nine appearances - sparking an incredible career that has taken him around all corners of the lower divisions.
When Broughton signed for Lincoln in June, the Imps became his 17th different club - with his appearances total now over the 450 mark. Even with that sort of CV, Broughton still has a soft spot for the Canaries.
“I'm 31 now and it's a case of proving my fitness and getting ready for the season, but, yes, it will be nice playing Norwich, of course,” he said. “Norwich always have a good following wherever they go and I have always followed them. Norwich was my education in football and there are still things in my game that I learned at Colney.
“Mike (Sutton) was my coach from 14 to 16 with Craig Bellamy and Robert Green. The gaffer was laughing the other day saying, 'I thought you were the next Chris Sutton - what happened?' I said, 'I wouldn't mind being a quid behind you.”
Broughton has come up against City's former Hartlepool centre half Michael Nelson before and promises whoever he faces tonight an “evening to remember”.
One player he won't come up against is injured City striker Grant Holt - a player he says will continue his good for in the Championship next season.
“Grant Holt was a sensation last year and having played against him in League Two a couple of years ago it was no surprise to me really,” he said. “He is a really good player. I don't think there's such a big gap to the Championship and I don't think he will have any problems at all.”
Tonight's game is Lincoln's penultimate pre-season clash, with only a Lincolnshire Senior Cup clash at Grimsby remaining on Friday.
“The Norwich game is a big one in terms of us starting to feel fit,” said Broughton. The Celtic game was a good workout and a good test for the team. We were obviously disappointed to concede so many goals but it has given us time to work on things. We need to have a decent performance with 10 days to the start of the season, we need to turn in a good team performance so for our sakes the confidence is good.”
So will Sincil Bank be the final watering hole on an incredible journey? “No, I don't think so,” Broughton said. “I honestly think this next four or five seasons will be my best. I have always prided myself on my fitness, I look after myself and live right and I think with the experience I have - I used to be quite hot-headed and emotional - everything is working perfectly and I am looking forward to it and the finish line of my career.”
t Tonight's game kicks off at 7.30pm, tickets are �10 for adults and �5 concessions.