Earnshaw wary of Albion's attack
DAVID CUFFLEY Robert Earnshaw takes on his former club tomorrow with praise ringing in his ears from all sides. On the same day City boss Peter Grant insisted his 10-goal leading scorer would not be for sale in January and agreed he was the best striker in the Championship, two of his likely West Bromwich Albion opponents also spoke of him in glowing terms.
Robert Earnshaw takes on his former club tomorrow with praise ringing in his ears from all sides.
On the same day City boss Peter Grant insisted his 10-goal leading scorer would not be for sale in January and agreed he was the best striker in the Championship, two of his likely West Bromwich Albion opponents also spoke of him in glowing terms.
Earnshaw, who moved to Carrow Road from Albion just over nine months ago for £2.75m, is clearly relishing the prospect of returning to The Hawthorns.
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He said: “I'm looking forward to it, especially playing against one of my mates, Curtis Davies, who I speak to quite a bit.
“They've done well. The first six games or so, they were struggling a little bit, and then after that they've been flying. They've been playing good football going forward and that's what they're like down there. They're one of the teams that keep attacking so that won't change tomorrow.
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“They have got some very good players going forward. It's just whether we can sort them out and start attacking and play our game. The manager is saying to us that we've got to go and win every game, so that's what we're trying to do.
“The atmosphere is good and hopefully it's good for us as an away team. It's a good stadium to play in, the pitch is always nice, so it will suit us.”
Defender Davies admitted: “It'll be interesting. Earnie will be coming back to his old club so he may feel he's got something to prove but I don't think he has.
“He's scored goals this season so far and he's done well but come Saturday we need to stop that. Earnie is a good friend of mine and I wasn't best pleased when he went because of him being my friend and a good lad around the place. But he's left for his reasons and he's done well for himself so we're happy for him - but we hope he doesn't do well on Saturday.”
Albion's former England striker Kevin Phillips, expected to return to the starting line-up for the first time since scoring a hat-trick in the 5-1 win at Ipswich, said he was surprised Earnshaw became a supersub rather than a first-team regular during his ill-fated spell at The Hawthorns.
Phillips was bemused that Earnshaw had played such a peripheral part for the Baggies during his 15-month spell at the club, when he scored 17 goals in 27 starts, with a further 23 appearances as a substitute.
“I've watched him over the years and I think he's a good player," said Phillips, expected to partner birthday boy Diomansy Kamara up front tomorrow at the expense of Nathan Ellington.
“It surprised me over the last couple of years when I've watched West Brom that he hadn't played very much.
“He got used as substitute a lot and that surprised me because if you watch him for Norwich and for his country he's a threat.
“He will want to prove a point on Saturday as Danny Dichio and Geoff Horsfield, who scored against us, have done in the last few weeks.”
Grant agreed that Earnshaw was the best striker in the Championship.
He said: "I think at this moment in time there's no doubt about that. He's got the ability to do that, he's scored goals at every level he's played and he's got that wonderful knack of scoring goals."
He added: "His goals wherever he's been have proved that he's a good player, a good striker. He doesn't need to prove anything to anybody. The only people he'll be wanting to please on Saturday will be the Norwich City supporters, nothing else. In every game he's had an opportunity to score, he should have scored more than he has in the last few weeks but I'm more than delighted at the fact he's got that knack of getting into positions to get chances and if we take care with passing, we'll get more chances, we will score more goals and he will score more goals."
Albion will be desperate to return to winning ways, having taken just one point from their last three games.
Phillips insists that spirit remains high in the camp despite results.
“Saturday is a big game for us because if you look at the table there's a few teams just starting to pull away at the top,” he said.