Charlton: I think I’m leaving City

CHRIS WISE Norwich City utility player Simon Charlton revealed yesterday that he expects to be looking for a new club during the summer.


Norwich City utility player Simon Charlton revealed yesterday that he expects to be looking for a new club during the summer.

The versatile 34-year-old is contracted to the Canaries until the end of the season, with the club having the option of a further year after that.

Charlton would be open minded if was offered an extension to his current deal. But he has accepted that he is unlikely to get one and is now gearing himself up for a new challenge away from Carrow Road.

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"As far as I have been led to believe I will probably be leaving in the summer," said the vastly experienced performer.

"I haven't been ordered to keep it quiet, or anything like that, and that is what I have been told.

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"If I play now it will be a good opportunity for me to keep myself in the shop window - that's how I have to see things at the minute."

Charlton was quick to stress that nothing had been confirmed in writing yet - but he clearly feels the writing is on the wall.

"I have been involved in football long enough to know that things can change in five minutes," he said.

"If the club said they would like to take up the option of a third year then I would obviously sit down and think about that. But that's not the way it looks at the moment.

"That's just football really. These things happen and sometimes you just have to move on.

"I think I have got a fair few years left in me yet - and I think my performances this season have shown that.

"I have been a little bit frustrated at Norwich because I don't think I have played as many games here as my performances have merited. When I have played I think I have generally given a good account of myself."

Charlton has made a total of 48 appearances for the Canaries since his £250,000 move from Bolton during the summer of 2004. He enjoyed his best run in the team during the early stages of City's Premiership campaign, when he partnered Craig Fleming in the heart of the defence, while he later kept regular left-back Adam Drury out of the side for a while.

But he also spent regular spells out of the first team - and it has been a similar story this season. Charlton has certainly done his bit for the team in a variety of positions, including the centre of midfield, but he has rarely been seen as a first-team regular, and that has been a huge source of frustration for the straight-talking Yorkshireman.

His situation was neatly summed up last week when he was relegated to the bench for the game against Sheffield United after an impressive showing in a 4-5-1 formation at Leeds. A recall at Burnley tomorrow night would go some way towards easing his pain, but he's not taking anything for granted on that score.

"I was obviously very frustrated to be left out," he said. "Even though I am now probably regarded as a senior pro I still have a great hunger to play every game I can.

"The manager told me I wasn't going to be playing but you still have a little bit of a go about it.

"I don't thing there is anything wrong in letting the manager know you are not happy. I think he would be surprised if anyone just shrugged it off when they were dropped. When you have your say it's just a way of showing how much you care.

"I knew myself that I had done all I was asked to do at Leeds. So when you lose your place in the following game it does hurt. On the other hand, at the age I am now, I do try and look at the manager's viewpoint as well. It's one of those things.

"I don't know what shape we will use at Burnley - but I don't think you could get much more attacking than our second-half display at Leeds. Hopefully we'll go down that route again at Turf Moor."

If City managed to win tomorrow it would take them to within four points of the play-off zone and although sixth-placed Preston will have two games in hand Charlton believes there could yet be an exciting climax to his Norwich career.

"Everyone at the top seems to be getting a bit twitchy at the moment, it's only Watford who appear to be holding their form," he said.

"There doesn't seem to be too much pressure on us because no-one is expecting anything of us any more - and that's no bad thing.

"We're on a good run and we want to keep it going. Burnley have been having a rough time of late, but the one thing we won't be doing is taking them lightly. We have slipped up too often in games we were expected to win for that to happen.

"Teams probably still think about us as a good scalp and Burnley will be no different."

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