Croft hopes for Cup glory
JONATHAN REDHEAD Norwich City winger Lee Croft believes the Canaries can go a long way in this year's Carling Cup starting with victory over Port Vale. The former Manchester City star says that with the quality at Carrow Road, a favourable cup draw and new boss Peter Grant's intent on winning the trophy, there's no reason why City cannot upset the odds and go deep into this year's competition.
Norwich City winger Lee Croft believes the Canaries can go a long way in this year's Carling Cup starting tonight with victory over Port Vale.
The former Manchester City star says that with the quality at Carrow Road, a favourable cup draw and new boss Peter Grant's intent on winning the trophy, there's no reason why City cannot upset the odds and go deep into this year's competition.
The past few years have seen some awkward nights and poor results against lower league opposition for City and indeed, the club has not threatened to reach a league cup final since winning the competition 1-0 against Sunderland in March 1985 - almost three months before Croft was even born.
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But having already successfully negotiated two away trips to lower division opposition this year, the 21-year-old says a hat-trick of victories would also help to have a positive effect on the league campaign and the push for promotion.
“I think the manager's said he's going to play to full strength, and he wants to win the competition and every game the lads play in they want to win,” he said. “So with the players we've got here there's no reason why we can't go a long way in the competition, but just have to see what draws we get.
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“I think it's another game and another good opportunity for us to go out there and win another game of football and go into Saturday having won three games on the bounce hopefully.
“And I think the more football we can play while we're playing well, then hopefully we can get a really good run going and keep it going. “
Croft also revealed the team would be going into tonight's match up against the League One side with a new found impetus brought about by Grant's leadership style, which he said is based on confidence and discipline.
“I think the lads are all trying to work really hard for him,” the winger said.
“He's instilled a belief in us. He's a real confident man and he installs a lot of confidence in you as a team.
“I just think he's come in and put a bit of discipline in and showed us what he's going to stand for and what he's not going to stand for and everyone's adhering to that. We've all got to work hard and give 100 percent and I think that's where the basis of our performances has come from.”
“Obviously new managers bring in new ideas and have got different training methods and a few different things, new things to bring to the coaching. But training's been good, high intensity and as I said it's just all been about us and going out there and expressing ourselves. I think that's what he tries to instil in us.”
Croft is happy with his own performances despite City's tricky spell pre-Grant, and was delighted to get a first full game under his belt at against Cardiff at Carrow Road on Saturday.
“I'm just really chuffed I'm getting 90 minutes now and hopefully I can get another 90 minutes, if chosen against Port Vale, and then Saturday, get another 90 minutes in.
“I think the fitness is there now, hopefully, and I'm not cramping up, I'm not having to come off at all and I'm really happy with that.
“Hopefully I can just keep performing and we can keep winning.”
Meanwhile, the manager is also happy with Croft although he does not believe the winger is fully fit yet.
“He is still short, but the one thing is he is giving maximum every game and his fitness is getting better. He has been excellent every game,” Grant said.
“I have said to the players I don't care if you are on your knees on the pitch, that's when I know I can make a substitution because I know you have given your maximum. He's definitely given me that, as they all have.
“That's when substitutions will sometimes come, sometimes when I don't think somebody is doing the business. If they give me the maximum and we have to get an ambulance on to take them off, that's what we will have to do.”