McKenzie aims to end season on high note
CHRIS WISE Leon McKenzie will be aiming to put nine months of frustration behind him tomorrow afternoon when Norwich City round off a hugely disappointing campaign with a home fixture against Wolves.
Leon McKenzie will be aiming to put nine months of frustration behind him tomorrow afternoon when Norwich City round off a hugely disappointing campaign with a home fixture against Wolves.
Like his club, the popular striker has had to endure a string of setbacks both on and off the pitch this season, with a split from his wife and constant injury problems making it tough for him to focus on his football.
But McKenzie has emerged from a troubled spell with his positive outlook on life very much intact and would dearly love to finish on a high note by scoring a goal or two against City's old adversaries from the Midlands.
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The 27-year-old frontman has now recovered from the hip injury that ruled him out of the previous three games - and if he is brought straight back into the side alongside an in-form Robert Earnshaw at Carrow Road he will clearly be a man on a mission.
“We'll have to see what the team selection is but I would love to finish on a high note by scoring a goal on Sunday,” said McKenzie, who had netted in three successive home games before picking up a painful hip injury at the beginning of the month.
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“All I can say at the moment is that if I am in the team I will go out there and give 100 pc, do the very best I can - which is what I always do. It would be the same whatever game I was playing in.
“The hip is still a little bit sore. It was a painful one - if I come off the field in the first 10 minutes it has got to be. But I am just trying to soldier on and it goes without saying that I would love to be involved on Sunday.”
McKenzie has been limited to just 12 starts this season, with two ankle injuries condemning him to lengthy spells on the sidelines before his latest untimely knock. On top of that the City striker has had to cope with a difficult period in his personal life - but throughout it all he has managed to stay positive, and is hoping to get his reward tomorrow afternoon.
“I had just hit a nice little run of form so I could have done without this latest disruption - but it is all part of the game and you have just got to get on with it,” he said.
“That is what I do. I will always pick myself up when I get a setback.
“You know me. Obviously it's frustrating because I want to play, I want to be out there with the rest of the lads. Because of all the injuries it hasn't been like that for me this season. It's been out of my hands and each time I have been ruled out I have just tried to come back as best I can.
“It has been a tough season for me but I am not going to make any excuses. There have been problems off the pitch that have been well documented and I have had more than my share of knocks. But that's life.
“I am the sort of character that likes to keep on his toes and look forward. I think my stats have been good over my whole career. I am quite confident in my ability and always feel I will score goals.
“I had problems when I was in the Premiership and that didn't affect my football and it has been the same this season. Mentally I am fine.”
While getting on the score-sheet at the weekend would clearly mean a lot to him McKenzie would be happy enough if his side just emerged with all three points to end a disappointing season on a positive note. He also hopes the match will be an upbeat occasion - in stark contrast to the previous home fixture against QPR when the atmosphere in the ground was strained to say least.
“We have done better in the second half of the season than we did in the first, which is encouraging, and hopefully we can maintain our progress against Wolves,” he said.
“It wasn't easy for the lads in the last home game but that's gone now and hopefully Sunday's match will be a different occasion. We will be going out there to get the three points and finish on a high note - and then we'll go again next season.”
As for his own future he added: “I should imagine another targetman will be brought in during the summer so that will mean more competition for me. But everyone here knows what I am capable of. At the end of the day the gaffer makes the choices - all I can do is do the best I can, and see what happens after that.”