Get on the ball City - Taylor

DAVID CUFFLEY Defender Martin Taylor believes Norwich City must cut out costly lapses in concentration if they are to climb the Coca-Cola Championship table.Taylor, 28 today, will be hoping for a belated birthday present in the shape of three points for the bottom-of-the-table Canaries against Plymouth Argyle at Home Park tomorrow (3pm).

DAVID CUFFLEY

Defender Martin Taylor believes Norwich City must cut out costly lapses in concentration if they are to climb the Coca-Cola Championship table.

Taylor, 28 today, will be hoping for a belated birthday present in the shape of three points for the bottom-of-the-table Canaries against Plymouth Argyle at Home Park tomorrow (3pm).

The 6ft 4in centre-back has impressed in both matches since being brought in on loan from Birmingham by new City boss Glenn Roeder.


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But if he and his team-mates are to end an awful run, which has yielded just two points from the last 10 league games, Taylor accepts they must be switched on for the full 90 minutes, not suffer the kind of lapses that left them 2-0 down at half-time at home to both Ipswich and Watford.

He said: “It's difficult to keep coming back from two down. We had a good go at it again on Tuesday. I'm not sure what it is. We've started both games really well, so don't think it's the way we start the game.

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“I think we just need to keep concentration. If we lose a goal we cannot get our heads down and we've got to make sure we don't lose another one.

“I think that's a big part of the game - to keep concentrating for the full 90 minutes. We seem to be doing it in the second half but not so much in the first half, which is unusual. Maybe we have to look at that.”

Taylor, keen to claim the opening goal against Ipswich at Carrow Road last Sunday - though some reports credited Town's Owen Garvan with an own goal - could once again be an asset at dead-ball situations.

He said: “I got a touch on it. If it's going towards goal it should be mine. I'll stake a claim for it, definitely.

“Against Ipswich we did get a lot of corners. We put good pressure on them. Against Watford it was a bit more difficult and we didn't get in there as much.

“You've just got to take any opportunity you can to try to force something in if you can. You've got to score from all over the team but if you can nick one from a set piece as a defender it always helps.

“If we can get our noses in front, you never know, we can hang on.

“We have to go down there, defend well, stop them scoring and then you've got every chance. You can always nick one from a set play. We've got players in the team who can score goals. We've just got to make sure we don't concede them.”

City, looking for their first victory at Plymouth in 44 years, desperately need to keep within striking distance of the teams immediately above them as they go into another fortnight's break.

Taylor said: “Mentally, it's very important. You always look back at the last game you played. You've got two weeks to look back on it, you want that to be a win but you want to be able to look at the table with a bit more optimism as well - look at it like you were back in the pack rather than still cut off. If we could get a win this weekend, that would be terrific.

“I played at Plymouth last year. It's a tough place to go. Like any team, playing at home and doing well in the Championship, they come at you. You've got to be ready for that. We've got to regroup, make sure we go as long as we can without conceding a goal and then it puts pressure on the home side a lot more.”

As to his long-term future, Taylor is not looking beyond his month with the Canaries.

He said: “I've got a contract at Birmingham and just want to show the manager there what I can do, get some games in here and help Norwich out as much as I can but you can never say never and I don't know what's going to happen.”

Luke Chadwick is rated 50-50 for the Plymouth game after a hamstring injury forced him off during the second half in the 2-1 defeat by Watford, while Dion Dublin, taken off at half-time against Ipswich, is unlikely to be fit because of the same problem, but may still travel.

Striker John Hartson has been released one game before the end of his loan spell, Darren Huckerby is suspended for two more games after his red card against Ipswich, and with Gary Doherty, Mark Fotheringham and Adam Drury all long-term absentees, the squad is stretched.

Said Roeder: “I spoke to Luke. We didn't think it was too bad, a bit like Dion. If we had persevered he would have completely gone. He's going to be 50-50 for Saturday and he'll be at work with the physio and we'll know whether we can use him on Saturday. I won't take a chance with injuries if there's a doubt.

“It's painful with Hucks being out for a couple more games and Dion unlikely to figure. The squad is small anyway.”

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