Charlton out to prove a point

Norwich City's Simon Charlton today admitted he hopes to get the chance to prove a point to one or two critics - and in particular manager Nigel Worthington - before the end of the season.

Norwich City's Simon Charlton today admitted he hopes to get the chance to prove a point to one or two critics - and in particular manager Nigel Worthington - before the end of the season.

Charlton, 34, is set to start in place of the suspended Adam Drury at left-back for tomorrow's Coca-Cola Championship match against Stoke City at Carrow Road (3pm), but it is an all too rare appearance as far as the straight-talking defender is concerned.

The former Bolton man has been especially frustrated by the way he's been left on the sidelines and, as far as he sees it, through no fault of his own - but he is still determined to make the most of the chance presented to him.

"It's been a frustrating time for me here really because I have not played as much as I was expecting to and as much as I would have liked," said Charlton, whose contract is up in the summer.

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"To get a rare start is very pleasing for me and it's just up to me to use my experience and slot straight back in there again.

"I was disappointed that I was dropped out of midfield as I thought I was playing pretty well there," added Charlton, who has made 17 league appearances for City this season, scoring once in the 2-1 home win over Burnley back in December.

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"These things happen in football. The manager makes the decisions and players, although unhappy, have to live with it and fight to get back in again."

Charlton was quick to dismiss any rift with Worthington, the man who brought him to Carrow Road from the Reebok Stadium ahead of last season's foray into the Premiership at the cost of £250,000.

"I'm quite easy-going. I don't know really. I don't think that I have done anything wrong in the past to be dropped," said Charlton.

"I'm sure that the manager would love it if I go and have a man-of-the-match performance and almost shove it to him, really. That's what he wants us players to show him. That he was wrong to have dropped us in the first place.

"I'm sure that he will appreciate those comments because that's what he wants."

Charlton declared: "The day that you accept a decision like that, not to be playing, you might as well quit the game. I'm experienced enough, I've been round the block more than once, and I know what it takes to survive in this game.

"Sometimes life is harsh and football is not a fair game and you have to work hard to get back in there."

The Huddersfield-born player is relishing the chance to prove himself tomorrow, especially as his contract is up at the end of the season, and is keen to remind scouts and any prospective managers who might be looking that he still has what it takes.

Charlton has not ruled out staying at Norwich, but is keeping his options open.

He said: "It's an important time for me and you always get scouts watching nowadays - they even venture over to Norwich - so it's important for me personally that people can still see that I can do a very good job.

"I've always had a lot of belief in my own ability and sometimes you just have remind the scouts and managers of that.

"I would be willing to stay at Norwich but I'm not quite sure whether that is going to happen. I think it's important for me to show what I can do on the pitch and then let everything else look after itself."

Last weekend's woeful 4-1 defeat at Crystal Palace - a result that effectively ended Norwich's hopes of reaching the play-offs - turned up the heat again on manager Worthington, but Charlton believes the players also owe it to themselves to perform.

Charlton says the Canaries' players and staff must adopt a siege mentality during this time of fluctuating fortunes, in order to extricate themselves from mid-table mediocrity and start living up to expectations.

"With the result at Palace it's important that everyone steps up," said Charlton. "It was a shocking performance, we all know that, there's no hiding from it.

"I don't think that we have been playing as a unit. We've been playing against teams that don't have as much ability as we've got here but they have been a little bit more organised and a little bit more disciplined than we have and we've been trying to put that right in training this week.

"We must play more as a team and less as individuals."

He added: "I think that the players owe it to themselves. You can only change it within the four walls of the dressing room. It's the only place where it matters because no one else is going to help us.

"It's great when the supporters are on our side trying to cheer us on. But when the team has played badly you can't expect them to try and pull you out of it, you have to try and do it yourselves.

"If we can start that off then they will soon get on our side because that's the type of supporters they are.

"We know that we have under-achieved this season and they know that we have under-achieved this season.

"We have to get back to that siege mentality where first and foremost we are tight as a unit.

"We don't want to play like Brazil, basically playing as a five-a-side game where we have an attack, you have an attack.

"We need to be far more professional than that to make sure we keep them as far away from our goal as possible, while making them problems at the same time."

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