Dublin gives honest verdict
CHRIS LAKEY Dion Dublin has given a warts and all assessment of Norwich City's current predicament - but amid the worrying conclusions insists that promotion is still very much on the agenda.
Dion Dublin has given a warts and all assessment of Norwich City's current predicament - but amid the worrying conclusions insists that promotion is still very much on the agenda.
Dublin was the final signing made by Nigel Worthington before the axe fell on the manager's neck after the dire home performance against Burnley almost two weeks ago.
The 37-year-old played 100 minutes in two games for Worthington but has clearly seen enough to make a judgment on the club's plight.
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The conclusion is that it's been a “stinking” past couple of weeks, the players are rightly “embarrassed” but promotion is still the “sole purpose”.
If there is to be a revival in fortunes, it begins Saturday, at QPR - a team that, having won just one of their opening eight games, have picked up maximum points form two matches since the arrival of new manager John Gregory.
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For many City fans, the memories of last season's Loftus Road capitulation are still far too fresh in the kind - and Dublin knows Saturday's encounter will be just as difficult, simply because of the circumstances the team find themselves in.
“It will be tricky, any game for us at the moment is going to be tricky,” he said. “We have had a stinking last couple of weeks: two defeats, lost a manager - things are not going well here.
“The only way to turn it around regardless of what we do anywhere else is getting points on the board and we have to start on Saturday.”
In a career that began in 1988, Dublin has seen the high and the lows - and speaks from experience when he recalls the 4-12 hom,e defeat by Burnley which led to Worthington's dismissal.
“I've had several days like that and every time you have days like that they always hurt,” he said. “When you are out there and you are trying to put things right and things aren't going right for you, it hurts, it really does.
“The players are embarrassed, and so we should have been embarrassed. It was a poor performance; at home, to concede goals as we did - it really isn't good enough.
“If this club wants to move forward it's down to the players, it's not down to anybody else, it's down to the players to stop it.
“It's time that Norwich City's footballers started to take charge of their destiny. To do that, City must conquer the adage “you are only as good as your last game”.
“It is never easy to put a defeat behind you, especially in the way we lost the game,” said the former Coventry and Aston Villa man, who is at Carrow Road until the end of the season.
“It is something you have to do in your own way as an individual, try to forget about it, learn from it, if there were any positives try and take an individual positive out of the game and move on.
“I think it is all down to individual application. We just have to do our own little jobs, we have to muck in, we've got to get our heads down and get on with it. There are no excuses, it is just about all pulling the same way, doing the ugly things, getting the challenge in, getting a kick in the face, doing what it takes to get some points on the board. That's all it has to be, points on the board.”
If it all sounds doom and gloom, there is something of a silver lining and that's the prospect of promotion. City may lie 17th in the Championship table, but they're only five points off the last play-off spot. It's not where they want to be, but it's not insurmountable - and Dublin says there is only one target the players are aiming at.
“Promotion to the Premiership,” he said. “That is what I am hoping to do, that is the sole purpose of every individual footballer at this club, and staff - to get promotion. Ad it is not beyond, us at this moment in time. If we keep letting people down and letting ourselves down it is going to be beyond us, but starting on Saturday, if we can get some points on board then it's the start of hopefully being a step closer to the big league.”
The added importance of QPR is not lost on Dublin. “It is still early - lose another couple of games and we are in a dogfight,” he said. “I've been there before several times and I can guarantee you it's not nice being there, because you win a game and it means nothing.”