Fozzy up for battle
DAVID CUFFLEY Skipper Mark Fotheringham shrugged off the disappointment of Christmas on the sidelines to help Norwich City kick off 2008 in fine style.A 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace extended the Canaries' unbeaten run to seven Championship matches, with Fotheringham making a timely return to the side after missing successive home games against Charlton and Wolves.
Skipper Mark Fotheringham shrugged off the disappointment of Christmas on the sidelines to help Norwich City kick off 2008 in fine style.
A 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace extended the Canaries' unbeaten run to seven Championship matches, with Fotheringham making a timely return to the side after missing successive home games against Charlton and Wolves.
But the 24-year-old Scot paid tribute to midfield pair Darel Russell and Matty Pattison - whose loan spell from Newcastle expired yesterday - for their tireless efforts in his absence after City maintained their revival under manager Glenn Roeder.
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Fotheringham said he was frustrated by the hamstring injury that kept him out of action last week.
He said: “These are the games that you really want to play in as a footballer because Wolves and Charlton are two really good sides and I think everybody saw that they've got players who are more than capable of playing in the Premiership. They are the lads you want to test yourself against.
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“But I thought Darel Russell was outstanding and did excellently and led the team really well, and I thought Pattison was superb - the two guys in midfield were great. We've got a good mix in there, I really enjoy playing with the two of them and I hope we're going to keep Matty.”
City's polished football even drew rare praise from Palace boss Neil Warnock, not the most popular figure at Carrow Road in his days as Sheffield United manager.
“After two hard games at home, it's disappointing that we never took the win but I think the lads showed a great attitude there again today against a team who have been firing recently, like ourselves,” said Fotheringham.
“Neil Warnock said to me after the game that it was two good teams out there today and he really enjoyed the game as well, but we were disappointed that we never won. I think we were the better team in the first half.”
Russell's ninth-minute goal was cancelled out five minutes after the break when Clinton Morrison, a target for Norwich more than once, headed the equaliser.
“We came out in the second half and we knew that we had to start well because there have been a few games in the last few matches where we have not started well, so we knew we wanted to get out of the traps quickly, but it was just unfortunate to lose the goal,” said Fotheringham. “These things happen. We'll look at the videos and we'll work on it next week again.”
City are still 20th in the table, despite taking 19 points from the last 10 matches.
“We know we're in that situation and we know it's going to be tough, but I think it's quite exciting as well because it's so tight. We're just over halfway through the season, so we've got another half to go and we feel confident just now. We're loving all the games and liking being together as players, enjoying each other's company and it's a good group to be in.
“But it's important that we keep putting in the performances as well as getting the results.”
Saturday brings a break from league action with League Two strugglers Bury the visitors in the FA Cup third round.
“We're looking forward to the Bury game. We've been getting super attendances as usual and the fans are really getting behind us at the moment,” said Fotheringham.
“As a footballer you just love the FA Cup and everything about it. The lads played a few games away last year to smaller teams and we know Bury will be up for it. They'll be tackling that little bit harder, they'll be running for all the balls, so we know it's going to be a tough game but it's exciting to play in the FA Cup and I hope we can get through this. I would love to play one of the big guns.”