Drury: 'Games in hand count for nothing'

DAVID CUFFLEY Games in hand are no substitute for points on the board, Norwich City skipper Adam Drury warned ahead of tomorrow's key Coca-Cola Championship match at home to Coventry.


Games in hand are no substitute for points on the board, Norwich City skipper Adam Drury warned ahead of tomorrow's key Coca-Cola Championship match at home to Coventry.

The Canaries go into the game against the Sky Blues at Carrow Road (3pm) just five points clear of the relegation places, looking for only their third win in 12 league games.

And the fact that all six teams below Peter Grant's men have played two or three games more than them cuts little ice with Drury.

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He said: “People say it's all right because you've got two games in hand and three games on other teams but it doesn't mean anything because you are not guaranteed those points. That's what we need - we need to win as many games as we can and get ourselves out of trouble.

“I think we've played better over the last three or four games. I think we've been a bit more consistent, but it's the same old thing. You need points where we are at this moment in time. Playing well is all well and good, but we need to pick up wins and we're not doing that.”

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Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at Preston illustrated Drury's argument that points have to accompany improved performance.

He said: “I think one of the positives that came out of the game was although we didn't get the points, sometimes this season when we've gone two goals behind we've folded a little bit and gone under, but the other night we didn't. We came back into the game, got a goal back and I thought we deserved something out of it, but unfortunately we didn't get anything.

“I thought the new lads and the people who played in positions that they were not used to did really, really well and that's a positive for us to take out of the game, but at the same time we need points. That's what it's all about.”

Coventry's visit is the first of seven Championship matches in 22 days for the Canaries, a hectic programme for a squad hit by a lengthy injury list. Trips to Luton on Tuesday and Barnsley tomorrow week - both relegation-threatened clubs - are next on the agenda.

Said Drury: “The gaffer has said since he's been here that it doesn't matter who we play, we look to win every game. It's going to be the same, especially with teams around you because if we can win these games, that will get us out of trouble once and for all.

“We haven't got the biggest of squads as everyone knows, so we've got to take it easy in training. People have got to look after themselves and make sure they're ready for the games because it's a hectic schedule and it's an important time for us.”

The arrival of Iain Dowie as Coventry boss coincided with a 2-1 home win over Southampton on Tuesday - and Drury recognises the scenario.

He said: “You saw when our gaffer took over here, when the new man gets in charge it gives everyone a lift and people are trying to prove themselves. You get that, like, honeymoon period when things are going well, and they're going to be on a high and all looking to impress, but at the same time we know how big a game it is for us because they're in a similar position to ourselves and need points as well, so it's a massive game for us.”

Grant's casualty list shows no sign of shrinking, with on-loan goalkeeper David Marshall ruled out for the rest of the season with ankle ligament damage.

The 21-year-old Celtic 'keeper has had an exploratory surgery on the ankle he injured after just 10 minutes of Saturday's FA Cup fifth round tie at Chelsea, and is expected to be sidelined for at least 12 weeks.

While Paul Gallacher continues in goal against Coventry, reserve 'keeper Joe Lewis, who was on the bench at Preston on Tuesday, suffered a slight strain in the reserve team victory against Ipswich the following night.

Lewis missed training yesterday, but should be fit for duty tomorrow.

Veteran Dion Dublin's chances of facing his old club are rated as “minimal” after he limped off at Preston with a calf strain, while Peter Thorne is definitely out with a thigh strain.

Grant is “hopeful” Dickson Etuhu, suspended for the Preston game, will shake off a hamstring problem, while fellow midfielder Youssef Safri could come into contention after missing the Deepdale trip with fatigue.

Said Grant: “Playing nearly 120 minutes last midweek - we had to take him off because he was feeling his calf and his groin - and then playing on the pitch at Chelsea on Saturday, the combination of that is just tiredness in the muscles and joints. He was aching all over, but we're hopeful he's got a chance.”

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