Doc sets new goal target
David Cuffley Defender Gary Doherty has set himself a new personal target along with his number one goal of helping Norwich City gain promotion.The revitalised centre-half scored for the sixth time this season - his fifth goal in his last six outings - as Paul Lambert's Canaries gained a stunning 5-0 revenge victory over League One promotions rivals Colchester United at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
Defender Gary Doherty has set himself a new personal target along with his number one goal of helping Norwich City gain promotion.
The revitalised centre-half scored for the sixth time this season - his fifth goal in his last six outings - as Paul Lambert's Canaries gained a stunning 5-0 revenge victory over League One promotions rivals Colchester United at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
Now Doherty has his sights on hitting double figures in a season for the first time in his career.
He said: “I think once at Luton or Tottenham I got seven or eight so I'd love to get to double figures. That's a massive target for me and the way things are falling for me at the minute I'm hopeful of that.”
In fact, his previous best was nine for the Hatters 10 seasons ago, in 1999-2000. And the one-time striker showed he had lost none of his instinct in the penalty area when he scored City's killer third goal at Colchester, four minutes into the second half, from Wes Hoolahan's free-kick.
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“When it dropped to me I thought I'm just I'm going to hit it as hard as I can and it flew in the top corner,” said Doherty. “I was going to jump in the crowd but then I thought, because I'm on a booking, I can't really be doing that.”
But he reserved his biggest praise for City's strikers with double scorer Chris Martin and skipper Grant Holt, moving on to 16 and 23 goals, respectively, for the season, keeping their composure in boggy conditions.
“It was extremely hard - you didn't know whether it was going to zip off the pitch or just die in a puddle,” said Doherty. “You really had to be focused but I thought our finishing was terrific today, Chris Martin's two goals in the first half were terrific as was Holty's fifth.”
Doherty was skipper when City were beaten 7-1 by Colchester on the opening day of the season but was one of six survivors from the starting eleven to avenge that defeat on Saturday.
He said: “You never want to go through a 7-1. I remember the weekend and the days after that. We were fortunate that we had a Carling Cup game so we were able to get out of the city because it was really awful. We were lucky to play on a Tuesday and put the result behind us a bit.
“The 7-1 urgently got the new gaffer here and he's turned things round marvellously for us and we've just got to keep going.”
City are now unbeaten in 13 league games - 11 of them victories - and their fortunes have changed so dramatically since that first day humiliation that they are nine points ahead of Colchester and just three points behind leaders Leeds.
“It puts a lot of pressure on Colchester to win their two games in hand and I hope now we can put a bit of pressure on Leeds.
“That's what the plan is. We've been chasing teams now, chasing down Charlton and Huddersfield and now Leeds are the only ones we've got to chase. They're the ones who are above us and they're the ones we're after.”
Doherty admitted the pre-match hostility from Colchester may have put pressure on their own players.
“Maybe they were over-hyped, I don't know,” he said. “They lost their last game 7-0, so they would obviously have wanted to put things right. We didn't want to keep building it up before the game, just putting more pressure on people but I think we knew personally it was going to be a massive game and for the few of us who did play on the first day of the season, it's nice to turn the result round.”
Lambert, who told Doherty earlier in the season that he was free to find a new club, realises he was hasty.
“He has been brilliant,” said the City boss. “I just said it to him and for somebody I left out of the side - and I need my head read the way he's playing at the minute - it just shows you, he's come back really, really strongly and you have got to give credit where it's due. Him and Wes Hoolahan - everybody knows I did leave them out - have been absolutely colossal for me.
“It just shows you what I know about the game. I had to make changes just to give some of the lads a chance, but he has been outstanding. He is incredible, you just think he's going to score every time he's up there.”