Fleming happy to play waiting game
DAVID CUFFLEY Club captain Craig Fleming admits he is “itching” to get his place back in the Norwich City first team - but accepts there has been no reason to change a winning formula.
Club captain Craig Fleming admits he is “itching” to get his place back in the Norwich City first team - but accepts there has been no reason to change a winning formula.
Before today's trip to Coventry, the long-serving defender, 35 next month, had started just one match in his testimonial season, playing in last month's 2-0 victory at Torquay in the Carling Cup first round.
Apart from that, he has been reduced to three brief appearances as a substitute with Nigel Worthington naming the same starting eleven in the first five Coca-Cola Championship games.
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But Fleming, whose big match against Newcastle in July brought more than 15,000 fans into Carrow Road, accepts that City's form in the early weeks of the season does not warrant changes.
He said: “It's difficult. It's the first time for a long, long time in my Norwich career that I have had such a spell out at the start of the season.
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“But I still feel very much part of it. I don't feel out of it. I am involved, getting on for the last four or five minutes here or 10 minutes there.
“Everybody wants to play all the time, but the lads are playing ever so well, from one through to 11.
“The lads have just played out of their skins. I've got no complaints.”
With Gary Doherty and Jason Shackell forming a solid combination in central defence and Jürgen Colin looking more at home at right-back, only injury to one of those three would be likely to open the door for a swift recall for Fleming.
“Looking at the whole team, I can't think of any one of the guys who isn't playing very well,” he said.
“It's part and parcel of football and I have to bide my time. I am only one of five or six players itching to get a game.”
Before today's trip to the Ricoh Arena - where Fleming scored his last of his 12 senior goals for City in last season's 2-2 draw - he summed up the new upbeat mood at Colney.
“The confidence is back, there's a better feel around the place on match days,” said Fleming.
“There are a lot of different factors - we've had no injuries, Martin Hunter has come in as coach and changed bits and bobs, our fitness is better. I don't think it's one thing, it's an accumulation of things.
“Our fitness is brilliant, we're tight at the back and we look very dangerous on the counter-attack.
“I am confident we can continue to do well. Going into games now, I don't see us losing.”
A harmonious atmosphere was also important, he said.
“If we're going to be successful, it's all about the squad.
“Looking back to two years ago when we won the title, we had new faces coming in but we always kept the dressing room sweet.”