Dynamic duo set to be reunited
CHRIS WISE Nigel Worthington looks set to turn to a proven strike partnership when his side resume their troubled Championship campaign with a trip to Hull. Peter Thorne and Robert Earnshaw scored for fun when they played together at Cardiff and they are likely to be reunited for the first time in nearly two years.
Norwich City manager Nigel Worthington looks set to turn to a proven strike partnership tomorrow when his side resume their troubled Championship campaign with a trip to Hull
Peter Thorne and Robert Earnshaw scored for fun when they played together at Cardiff and now that Thorne has recovered from a bout of illness they are likely to be reunited for the first time in nearly two years as the Canaries attempt to get a bitterly disappointing derby defeat out of their systems.
During their two full seasons together at Ninian Park the pair scored an incredible 80 goals between them, with Earnshaw leading the way with 51 and his partner contributing a more than useful tally of 29 - and if they can reproduce that sort of form at their new club then Worthington will clearly be more than happy.
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The City boss was critical of the service - or rather lack of it - that his new striker received on what turned out to be an unhappy debut against Ipswich, and clearly believes he will be a better player with his former team-mate alongside him.
“They were both at Cardiff and they enjoyed playing alongside each other, which is always a plus,” he said. “Thorney holds the ball up well, which is something we didn't do particularly well last Sunday.
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“In Jonatan Johansson and Robert Earnshaw you have got two strikers who like to play off a big man. Both have got good pace, both can score a goal but it's an awkward one trying to play those two together. Circumstances dictated that on Sunday.
“We know all about Robert's potential, we know what he has achieved in the past. You are looking to get the right partner, get some continuity there, and for him to get on and do what he is good at - and that is scoring goals.
“We have been working hard on it in training and it is just a case of getting the timing right with passes and so on. Players getting to know each other's runs. Things like that.”
Worthington stressed the need for patience when asked when fans might start seeing the best of Earnshaw, who joined the Canaries on the final day of the January transfer window in a deal which could eventually be worth £3.5m.
“I think his match fitness is reasonably good but I think we have got to help his situation, and our situation, by making sure we play to his strengths,” he said.
“It's getting that nice balance - passing the ball down the side of defences and behind them and at other times passing it to his feet. “These sort of things take time and it's going to take a while for him to settle in.”
Players and manager alike will be attempting to put a collective nightmare behind them at the KC Stadium - and Worthington expects everyone connected with the team to rise to the challenge tomorrow afternoon.
“We know where we are at - we have got to go up there and look to win the game,” he said. “The biggest thing that will help us through where we are at the moment is a high work ethic. We have got to get that back into our play - because we haven't had a lot of it in the last couple of games. We have got to be in the opposition's faces.
“The players have worked very hard since Sunday - and now they have got to go out on do it on the pitch.
“As far as I am concerned I always enjoy my work. The frustration is there but that is part of the game. You have got to stay focussed, keep the belief and do what you think what is right.
“We did that during the month of December and got five excellent results. For whatever reason it has now turned the other way on us and we have got to turn it round again. That is part of the challenge of being a player, a coach or a manager.
“We have got to have good run if we are going to achieve anything this season - but in this game you never give up.”
Worthington will have plenty of options available to him at the weekend, with only Matthieu Louis Jean (hamstring) and reserve keeper Darren Ward (back) now on the long-term injured list. There remains a slight doubt over the fitness of Craig Fleming, who injured his hip during the Ipswich game, while Simon Charlton is serving a one-match suspension for accruing five bookings, but everyone else is vying for selection - and as far as the manager is concerned that can only be a good thing.
“It's the best it has been for a while, which is nice,” he said.
“In this game you are always looking for options, you are always looking for competition and different faces coming obviously means more than that.”