No more help for Robins
David Cuffley A few words of advice from Norwich City boss Glenn Roeder may just have helped put tomorrow's opponents on course for the Premier League - but he's determined not to give them any further assistance.
A few words of advice from Norwich City boss Glenn Roeder may just have helped put tomorrow's opponents on course for the Premier League - but he's determined not to give them any further assistance.
The Canaries face Bristol City, currently second in the Coca-Cola Championship, at Ashton Gate (3pm) with both sides needing the points for very different reasons.
As his team headed west looking for their first away win in five matches, Roeder recalled a pre-season conversation that may have persuaded Robins boss Gary Johnson to set his sights high after promotion from League One last term.
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“I did my Pro licence with Gary Johnson and throughout the year I got to know him well. He must have done a very good job,” said Roeder.
“I recall he said to me last summer that if they could get to 52 points and a place in mid-table they would have done well.
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“But I told him I thought he ought to aim higher than that, otherwise you give your players the opportunity not to reach that target.
“He must have taken my advice because they have had a terrific season and are still right in contention.”
Indeed, though the Robins have not won for five matches, they still occupy an automatic promotion place with six games to go.
“You don't get to where they are without playing well. They may have lost the odd league game but the table doesn't lie,” said Roeder, an admirer of Bristol City's style of play, which he feels will help make for a good contest tomorrow.
He said: “The 'keeper throws the ball to the full-back and they play it from defence through midfield.
“They've obviously got Dele Adebola as an option for the long ball, which you must have in this league.
“We are really looking forward to this game.”
The Canaries still need at least one more win to secure their Championship future, but even if they were already safe, Roeder said he believed there was no such thing as a meaningless game.
“We always need points. I don't subscribe to the view that there is ever nothing to play for,” he said.
“Even in a pre-season friendly there is something to play for. It's called pride. You want to win the game as well - be top dog.
“It's a mentality I think this club has had and we are trying to change. We have to have a winning mentality.”
City's one injury doubt after the 5-1 win over Colchester was defender Gary Doherty, who made way for Alex Pearce at half-time because of back trouble, but is over the worst.
“He has a good chance of being fit. He trained yesterday morning. He wrenched his back but it's eased right off during the week,” said Roeder.
Striker Maceo Rigters had also looked very sharp after his first full week in training, said Roeder.
The Dutchman, on loan from Blackburn, will be hoping for more than the 13 minutes' action he had on his debut against Colchester.