Defeat can be a top six springboard for Norwich United

Norwich United players have been challenged to use a “highly creditable” performance against Norwich City’s professionals as a springboard to reach their best league finishing position for several years.

After bowing out of the Norfolk Senior Cup following a 1-0 Carrow Road quarter-final defeat by the Canaries, Planters boss Paul Chick said his side would focus on securing a top six Ridgeons League Premier Division spot.

“Obviously we are disappointed with the result because we are out of the cup but you must look at the positives and I think there were many. When you consider that we were up against eight or nine players with Football League experience I think it was a highly creditable performance – we didn’t let ourselves down at all.”

United were on the back foot for much of the game but, showing great resolution and organisation, restricted City to one goal – a 29th -minute strike from Scotland international Stephen Hughes and went close to levelling the scores when Ross King scraped the bar in the dying miutes.

“If we can show that kind of commitment for the second half of the season then we should be pushing for the top six, which is what we set out to do at the start of the season.

“If we can manage it it would be the highest we have been for several years.”

While Norwich City’s return to the Norfolk Senior Cup has divided opinion, with some feeling they have an unfair advantage because of their professional status, Chick is happy to welcome the boys in yellow and green.

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“I have supported Norwich City’s inclusion in the competition from day one and I still do. It gives prestige to the competition.” He added: “City deserved their victory.

“They should win it, but it is not certain that they will. The challenge is for the other clubs to try and stop them.”

Chick has been busy strengthening the squad, with the addition of former Folkestone Invicta and Whitstable Town striker David Cory, who played on Monday night, and Sudbury centre half Nathan Clark, who is expected to figure on Saturday when 11th-placed United entertain 7th-placed Hadleigh in their first game at Plantation Park for several weeks.

“We are talking to one or two others and hopefully we can get them in. I suppose there will be one or two moving on as well.”

Meanwhile Chick and managerial partner Donny Pye have one eye on next season’s Plantation Park mission.

Asked to explain the longevity of one of local football’s most durable double acts, which can trace its roots back to Wroxham in the early 80s, Chick said: “We both love the game. We like each other’s company and we have grown together.”

They have also worked at Lowestoft, Yarmouth and Diss and been in charge of the Norfolk representative side.

“You have good and bad times but the majority have been good. From what we have seen and done and been involved with over the years in football, you could write a book on it.”

Chick is enjoying his second spell with his currrent employers. “Norwich United are a very good club with a very committed chairman (John Hilditch) and superb facilities.”