Lappin it up
DAVID CUFFLEY Simon Lappin's first taste of English football has left him hungry for more - and disappointed that Norwich City's season is over. The 24-year-old midfielder was looking more like his old self in the Canaries' final Coca-Cola Championship fixture at Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday, his second match back after an operation on a broken thumb forced him to miss three games.
Simon Lappin's first taste of English football has left him hungry for more - and disappointed that Norwich City's season is over.
The 24-year-old midfielder was looking more like his old self in the Canaries' final Coca-Cola Championship fixture at Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday, his second match back after an operation on a broken thumb forced him to miss three games.
But while most of City's senior squad are probably glad of a break after spending most of the season in the wrong half of the table, the former St Mirren man was wishing he could just squeeze in another match or two before disappearing for a summer holiday, and was sorry to sign off with a 3-2 defeat.
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He said: “We were disappointed to lose the game. You want to win the last game of the season and go into the break on a positive note.
“We could have no complaints in the first half. It cost us, we were very poor.
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“But we got a reaction in the second half and got ourselves back in the game.
“At 3-0 down, we showed a bit of character to come back and get two goals and I thought for the majority of the second half, we were the better team, but it was too late.
“We have to get our noses in front from the start instead of trying to fight our way back in and going gung-ho at the end of the game trying to get something from it.”
Lappin, a January transfer window capture from the Scottish Premier League club, ended the season with 15 first-team appearances for City and that vital winning goal at Luton in February. Only the thumb injury he suffered against West Bromwich Albion on Easter Monday disrupted his ever-present run.
He said: “It was a case of settling in for the first month or so, and then getting a stupid, frustrating injury later on.
“The season's coming to an end a bit quick for me because I've just got myself back fit and back playing, but I'm looking forward to next season. I can't wait for it to come round.
“The injury is fine now. I had that splint to wear for the games and driving and things like that, but I think that's going in the bin now, so I can just get on with things and forget about it.”
Lappin's assessment of his new club is not untypical - plenty of potential, but not translated into results, as all too painfully illustrated by a final Championship position of 16th, City's lowest for 11 years.
He said: “We have some fantastic players and the manager will look to bring in players in the summer as well to strengthen the squad. I'm sure he'll have a few in the back of his head or lined up, so we'll see what happens over the summer with transfer activities and we'll give it a right go next year.
“I think the key thing for us is we've been so inconsistent. We've got to get that consistency if we want to be up there challenging for promotion or the play-offs. You need to grind out results at difficult venues away and look to get maximum points at home almost every week.”
Lappin's own game, and his understanding with fellow left-sided players Adam Drury and Darren Huckerby, is improving, he feels - and switching from midfield to left-back at half-time on Sunday because of Drury's neck injury did not unduly worry him.
“It takes a wee bit of time, but it's coming. I thought we linked up well at times, but it's something for us to work on as well over he summer,” he said.
“It doesn't bother me where I play. The manager brought me in and I'm happy to play anywhere he sees fit. I'll do my best, I'll give it my all and as long as I'm playing, I'll be delighted. It doesn't matter where.
“I look forward to the break and to recharging my batteries. I'll go home and see my family and my friends. I've still not seen a lot of the boys from St Mirren, so I'll catch up with them and go on holiday as well with my fiancée.
“And I'll come in fresh, raring to go for the start of next season.
“I absolutely love the place. It would just be nice to get a few more results to go with everything. I've always been ambitious and wanted to play at this kind of level. I'm very grateful that I've got the chance to do it. It's up to me to take it."