Doherty's new lease of life

Chris Lakey Gary Doherty's assertion that City "kicked Leeds while they were down" had a certain irony about it, considering the way his own season has panned out.

Chris Lakey

Gary Doherty's assertion that City "kicked Leeds while they were down" had a certain irony about it, considering the way his own season has panned out.

Doherty was pretty much down and out last September, when Paul Lambert's arrival appeared to signal the end of his City career. He was dropped to the reserves and told to find another club, but rather than take it lying down, Doherty responded, did enough to earn a recall - and on Saturday found himself tucking Jermaine Beckford, one of League One's hottest properties, firmly in his pocket for an hour and a half.

Instead of looking for alternative employers, Doherty is hoping he's done enough to earn himself a new contract this summer.

And while Saturday's performance would have helped his CV no end, the man they call Ginger Pele is happy to wait until the conclusion of this season's business.

"That's the last thing on my mind," he said. "I'm just desperate to get promotion. We need to be back in the Championship as quickly as possible because when you stay down here a couple of years, as we've seen with Leeds and Nottingham Forest a few years ago, it can be a really difficult league to get out of.

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"Our aim obviously in the summer was to bounce back straight away. Obviously we had a disastrous start, but now things are looking good for us."

Victory over Leeds further enhanced City's title credentials, Chris Martin's late goal sparking huge celebrations and leaving Carrow Road to witness at first hand the dressing room spirit as manager Lambert hugged every one of his players.

"I think that might be the first time he's come on the pitch," said Doherty. "If he's happy with us when we walk off he tends to give us a hug. In fairness I think he has been happy with us most of the season so it was nice.

"I think that probably showed to the fans how big a result this is and probably showed a bit of team unity as well, because we have got great spirit at the minute and we just need to keep that going."

If Lambert is happy, Doherty must be ecstatic.

"Last week (at Swindon) I had the disappointment of my man scoring the equaliser, so it was nice to have the big game today and obviously it's a massive three points for us," he said. "To beat the team in second place was a great result for us.

"It's been a good turnaround for me and it's been a good turnaround for the club since the gaffer's come in. He has done a marvellous job really to get us in the position we are now and I think with a big Easter coming up we have given ourselves a great chance of promotion.

"When we lost at Leeds it was disappointing, but there were still so many games to go. We obviously knew we needed teams to have a blip. Charlton and Leeds have done that and we just have to make sure we don't have a blip.

"We need to keep a good consistency going, keep winning our games and thankfully now it is all about us. We have got a good enough lead now to concentrate on ourselves and hopefully we can do that to the end of the season.

"I thought when we played up there at Elland Road we outplayed them and they ended up getting the last-minute winner. Today I thought they passed it very well, particularly second half, but unfortunately for them we've kicked them while they are down, I guess, because they're going through a tough time at the minute.

"Thankfully Chris has come on and got a terrific goal and it is a massive three points with us."

Martin bounced back after being dropped - just like Doherty.

"I think you are always disappointed to be left out, especially when you have scored so many goals, but I think he said himself his form wasn't as good of late as it has been - and terrific maturity from the lad to get a goal after coming on," said Doherty.

"He has shown the right attitude and he has given the gaffer a bit of aheadache now for the next game."

Canaries left-back Rhoys Wiggins has returned to Bournemouth on loan after the Football League lifted the transfer embargo on the League Two club.

Wiggins will stay at Dean Court until May 1, having had two single-month loans spells with the Cherries and making 10 appearances this season. The 22-year-old spent four months on loan with Bournemouth at the start of 2009 when he was with Crystal Palace.