Earnshaw still bullish despite poor start

Michael Bailey Striker Robert Earnshaw has warned his former club not to be fooled by Nottingham Forest's winless start to the season. The 29-year-old, who spent 18 free scoring months at Carrow Road in from 2006 to 2007, is expected to line up against the Canaries for their visit to the City Ground tomorrow afternoon (3pm) in a Championship clash that promises to be a cracker.

Michael Bailey

Striker Robert Earnshaw has warned his former club not to be fooled by Nottingham Forest's winless start to the season.

The 29-year-old, who spent 18 free scoring months at Carrow Road in from 2006 to 2007, is expected to line up against the Canaries for their visit to the City Ground tomorrow afternoon (3pm) in a Championship clash that promises to be a cracker.

Forest are highly fancied to earn promotion to the Premier League this season after finishing third last campaign and losing out in a dramatic play-off semi-final to eventual winners Blackpool.


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And although they have just two points from their opening three Championship games and a first round Carling Cup exit at League Two Bradford City to their name this season, all is well at the club according to Earnshaw, who denies Forest have made a slow start to their campaign.

“We've been as quick as ever - that's one thing we always are,” said the prolific striker. “We've been, I think, the best team in all three games we've played in the league. Even when we lost in the cup we played quite well. Overall we're very pleased to be honest.

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“OK, we haven't won a game yet but we're pleased with how we're going because we've played well and that's all we tried to do last year - play very well in the games and try to win them, and if you don't you don't.

“It's feeling like a very similar start to last year, I think we had a similar number of points. So once you get one or two wins you get a bit of momentum. That's what we want to do and get that confidence boost, and go on from there.”

Despite the disappointment of missing out on promotion last season, Earnshaw believes any hangover was left behind during pre-season.

“It's been pleasing because there could have been a hangover from how last season finished, but it's not been that way and the manager has not let it go that way either, which has helped; I think we've moved on quite well,” said Earnshaw.

“We've been put as one of the favourites this time, which is rightly so. We did finish third and were unlucky not to go up last season, so I think everyone else takes notice of that.

“But really we kick that away a little bit because the manager keeps pushing you into that you have to forget about last season and what you've done before, it's all about improving.

“Can we keep winning games and keep our home record? Can we do better away from home as well? You try to get a bit of momentum, that's the biggest thing. We want to win two or three games and that will push us on, because that is how we rolled last season.”

The Welsh international is expecting to overcome a slight groin strain to make tomorrow's game - one that should see him come up against his national team-mate, Norwich midfielder Andrew Crofts.

“I've played with him for Wales and he always gives everything, and that is guaranteed, whether it's in training or in a game,” said Earnshaw. “I saw the first game against Watford and he scored a goal - I don't think he's got too many of those!

“He is capable of that, but what he'll have been signed for is his determination to win tackles and give everything. It's great to have a player like that in the team and it's a great club for him to be at - he'll enjoy it there.”

The weekend trip will represent City's toughest Championship examination of the season so far, and while Earnshaw admitted he is delighted to see his old club back in the second tier, he expects it to be a few months before anyone can judge exactly what Paul Lambert's side is capable of this season.

“First of all I was as pleased as anyone - I really wanted them to do well and to get promoted last year, and I was really glad about that because I've got really fond memories of my time there and always look out for their results.

“They've got a good manager who wants to do well and the team is wanting to do well too; they've got some good players. There have been a lot of comings and goings over the last two years or so, but they've got a good set- up, and the thing everybody knows about Norwich, is that it's always going to be one of the teams competing, whether it's in the Championship or one of the lower leagues.

“It's a big club, everybody sees it as a big club, so they can be confident in that. I don't know about serious challengers for promotion. Maybe once you're two or three months in, then you can see exactly where your team is.

“I think there will be a lot of teams looking then to see where they are and where they are pushing. The biggest thing is if you get two or three wins and a bit of confidence, you can push on. We've been able to do that over the last few years. Maybe it was a bit of a relegation battle the first season after our promotion, but we've made big jumps in improvement in the two seasons since then. That's what we've found at Forest, so we'll see. I want them to do well… after Saturday.”

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