Drury: We’re just gr-eight

JONATHAN REDHEAD Norwich City full-back Adam Drury believes the Canaries' squad is stronger and better equipped to launch a promotion challenge than this time last year.


Norwich City full-back Adam Drury believes the Canaries' squad is stronger and better equipped to launch a promotion challenge than this time last year.

Last summer, then City manager Nigel Worthington only managed to entice one player, Lee Croft, to Carrow Road during the close season.

But this time around Peter Grant has been incredibly busy in the transfer market, with no less than eight new faces coming to Norfolk in the shape of David Marshall, Matthew Gilks, Jon Otsemobor, Jullien Brellier, Darel Russell, Jimmy Smith, Jamie Cureton and David Strihavka.

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And Drury, who has handed over the captain's armband to Jason Shackell, says the squad looks in better shape than last year, as the countdown to the first match of the Coca-Cola Championship season, away at Preston North End on Saturday, continues.

“The gaffer's brought in plenty of players over the summer as everyone knows and I think we've got a lot better squad now," Drury said.

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“There's competition for places and last year, no disrespect to the kids when the came in, they did a great job, but in this league, sometimes it's tough you know. You need that sort of squad for when you've got injuries, which we seem to get every year, so you've got players to replace the ones that aren't playing.

“We're into the season now and this is where it really matters. You can do all the work you want in pre-season, but when the season starts that's what it's all about and we're looking forward to it.

“We need to get off to a good start. Everyone knows that in this league you need to get off to a good start, and get the confidence going and get your home form sorted, which we need to do. Get to Carrow Road and get the results here then we give ourselves a good chance of achieving something.”

Drury was the unlikely goal hero in Friday's final pre-season friendly against Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem, with a vicious left-foot shot from the edge of the area which flew into the top corner with the aid of a slight deflection. It followed on from his blockbusting effort against King's Lynn in an early friendly clash.

And the former Peterborough man, who has only bagged three goals in his entire City career, said the team have been working with Jim Duffy on scoring goals from all areas of the pitch - something which was lacking in the last campaign as only regular back four member Shackell managed to find the net.

“As soon as I hit it I knew it had a great chance of going in. I was pleased to see it nestle in the top corner,” Drury said.

“I'm on a roll at the minute and I want it to keep going obviously. Jim Duffy's been working with the back four and especially with the full-backs getting in more advanced positions so when the ball drops out of the box we have a chance of getting a shot in.

“At the minute it's paying off and hopefully it will carry on during the season. I don't set targets for goals, but I need to weigh in with a few more because you couldn't say I've been prolific since I've been here. If we can get in the right positions and at least give ourselves a chance to score it will be an improvement.

“It's been a massive point. We relied last year on Earnie (Robert Earnshaw) when he was in the team and obviously Hucks (Darren Huckerby). When they're not scoring you need other people to score so its a big thing that other people join in and play their part. Anyone else who can get two or three from the back in the season and centre-halves getting some which they need to do, that would be nice.”

But Drury, who turns 29 later this month, said lots of work had also been done at the other end of the pitch on a defence which leaked far too many goals last season, particularly away from home.

“We're getting more and more organised,” he said. “It's been a big thing. If we can stop other teams scoring, which we didn't do enough last season, then we'll give ourselves a chance.

“Then people like Hucks, David (Strihavka), Curo (Jamie Cureton) and people like that are always going to nick you goals so if we can stop them down one end it will give us a chance down the other.”

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