Etuhu looks forward to new signings

DAVID CUFFLEY Dickson Etuhu's burning desire to play Premiership football is undiminished by Norwich City's failure to mount a promotion challenge - and he is determined to repay manager Peter Grant's faith by turning that dream into reality.


Dickson Etuhu's burning desire to play Premiership football is undiminished by Norwich City's failure to mount a promotion challenge - and he is determined to repay manager Peter Grant's faith by turning that dream into reality.

Grant has spent much of the season defending the 24-year-old midfielder against his critics and insisting that he has the qualities needed to play in the top flight.

Etuhu, back to his best with three goals and some forceful performances in the last five Championship games, is accustomed to being tipped for better things, but reckons that a more settled environment at Carrow Road next season can help him and the club achieve their number one aim.

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He said: “I've had that from every manager I've played for, but at the end of the day, the gaffer has been really good to me. He's believed in me and I appreciate that.

“I love playing for him and I'm looking forward to playing more and more games for him and hopefully one day I'll be able to get to the Premiership with Norwich City.”

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Sheffield United are among the current Premiership clubs reported to be admirers of Etuhu, but he said he paid little attention to transfer gossip.

He said: “I've had interest in me since I've been playing for Norwich, from other clubs, but I don't let it get to me. I just put my head down and work hard every day.

“I'd love to get to the Premiership with this club. I just have to keep working hard every day and see what happens.

“We have to learn from our mistakes this season. We have had a lot of changes this year. It has affected us a lot. We've had the manager changing and a lot of new players coming in, new formations - it takes time to gel and to be able to show people what we can really do.”

Etuhu, whose header gave City an early lead in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Ipswich, said his level of confidence did not depend on scoring goals, but he would still like to add to his tally before the end of the season.

He said: “It doesn't really make any difference to me. A lot of people think I should get in the box and get more goals. I do try to get in the box and sometimes the ball's right behind me or just too far in front of me. I could have had more goals this season, but I've had seven and I'm happy with that.

“I want to get a couple more before the season ends. I need to get my money off the old manager,” he said, a light-hearted reference to a wager with former boss Nigel Worthington.

City's final home game against Southampton on Saturday will be followed by the trip to Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday week.

“I'm just looking forward to finishing the season strongly,” said Etuhu. “We want to get two wins against two good teams who are trying to get in the play-offs. The fans have been good to us this season. We've given them an up and down season so we want to finish strongly.”

The Nigerian-born midfielder expects to see a few arrivals and departures in the summer.

He said: “That's what I keep hearing. I'm looking forward to meeting new players and trying to get a shirt on Saturday. I love the challenges and it makes me a better player.”

But it was not for him to say where City needed to strengthen, he said.

“That's the manager's choice. I think we've got a great team. We've got a lot of the best players in this league in our team, but we under-achieved maybe because of the changes we've had to deal with this season.”

One man yet to determine his City future is 38-year-old Dion Dublin, but Etuhu is hoping he will stay on.

“Dion's a big part of the team. It would be a big loss if he left the club, so I hope we will be able to keep him,” said Etuhu.

“I'm sure he wants to stay but that's for him to decide and the club to decide. He's experienced, he keeps us together, he's a big voice in the team. He's strong, he wants to win and we need all that. He's a legend in the game. I look up to Dion a lot. He's a very good friend of mine and I hope he stays.”

Etuhu, who was on a panel with skipper Adam Drury at Carrow Road yesterday, speaking to schoolchildren to promote anti-racist initiatives, also revealed his meticulous matchday timetable as he prepares for games, including meal times and listening to music before kick-off.

He said: “You have to prepare right. If I'm five minutes late for my food, I'm going crazy. I get up at eight o'clock, have my breakfast at 11 o'clock and if I can't do it like that I know I'm going to have a bad day. I've played over 200 games so I'd hope that after 200 games I should know the way I should prepare.”

Ü Children's anti-racism day at Carrow Road - page 23

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