Fotheringham keeping his fingers crossed

David Cuffley Skipper Mark Fotheringham is hoping he has done enough to finally start two matches in a row after three months on the fringes of the Norwich City first team.

David Cuffley

Skipper Mark Fotheringham is hoping he has done enough to finally start two matches in a row after three months on the fringes of the Norwich City first team.

Fotheringham shook off an ankle injury in time to win a recall for Saturday's FA Cup third round tie at Charlton and helped set up the goal that earned the Canaries a replay.

It was from his pass that substitute Arturo Lupoli grabbed a second-half equaliser to take both sides back to Carrow Road next Tuesday for their third meeting in less than a month.

The 25-year-old Scot has been in manager Glenn Roeder's starting eleven just five times in the last 18 games since the end of September - and never twice in a row - as summer signing Sammy Clingan has become the number one choice in central midfield.

But Fotheringham believes two's company, and that there is room for both him and the Northern Ireland international in the side.

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He said: “I understand. I've never taken my position in the team for granted because I knew there was going to be competition this season.

“Sammy's taken the mantle as the holding midfield player and he's played really well.

“But I think in a few of the games we've played, you can see that the two of us can definitely play together.

“A lot of the European teams play with two holding players and we've got a guy like Wes Hoolahan who can play in the hole, or Matty Pattison who can do that, and be the creative one.

“But it's important for me to play football. I'm not one who's going to be happy sitting on the bench, but I do understand it is a squad game and everybody's coming in and coming out.”

Darel Russell, Gary Doherty and Clingan have all had spells wearing the captain's armband in Fotheringham's absence.

He said: “In fairness to the lads who've come in and taken the captaincy, like big Doc, he's been on great form and Darel's taken it and he's done well. It shows there are three or four good characters there, so that if I'm not in the team they'll step in and do the same job.”

Fotheringham was said to be 50-50 with an ankle injury before the trip to The Valley, but was back as one of four changes from the 3-2 home defeat by Nottingham Forest.

He said: “I took a knock off 'Patter' in training but one of the physios has brought this machine from over in the States. I think a lot of the NFL players have used it.

“When you take knocks or you've got bruising on the bone or the ankle, it just compresses it with ice and it helped me massively, so I'm just glad that Simon Spencer had the machine and I was able to use it and play because I'm just determined and desperate to get a run of games going in the team again.”

Fotheringham admitted Saturday's tie was anything but a classic.

He said: “I think the first half was quite a poor game from both teams and must not have been pleasing on the eye. But sometimes Cup games are like that and I feel in the second half we were more like our normal selves.

“We played some good football when Wes came on and Lupo was a good plus as well when he came on. He gives you that extra spark and I'm really happy for him to get his goal.

“Me and Wes played a one-two and just got it in to Lupo's feet, but he did really well on the turn. Then we had a couple of other chances towards the end. We were desperate to win and put it to bed, but it's still nice to get them back to Carrow Road.

“We can't be complacent but for the city and for the club it would be nice to have an FA Cup run this year.

“It would be good if we could do the job at our place with the great backing we get.

“Turning up on the bus, you get a shock when you see all the Norwich people.

“There were probably more of them outside when we were sitting on the coach than there were Charlton fans.

“They always turn up in great numbers, especially the fans that travel to away games, the real hard core ones, they always get behind the team, no matter how we're playing.”