Peter can be Thorne in the side - Earnie
DAVID CUFFLEY It was a case of friends reunited in the Norwich City attack as striker Robert Earnshaw paid tribute to former Cardiff team-mate Peter Thorne after the midweek victory over Leicester.
It was a case of friends reunited in the Norwich City attack as striker Robert Earnshaw paid tribute to former Cardiff team-mate Peter Thorne after the midweek victory over Leicester.
Earnshaw and Thorne, former allies at Ninian Park, were paired up front for the first time this season at Carrow Road on Tuesday night as City boss Peter Grant switched to a winning 4-4-2 formation.
They started a match together for the Canaries just four times last season after Earnshaw's £2.75m move from West Bromwich Albion in January.
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Wales international striker Earnshaw scored for the 13th time this season in City's 3-1 win - his 21st goal since joining the club.
But he was quick to praise 33-year-old Thorne, who was making only his second start of the season, for his contribution in the opening 65 minutes against Leicester before he made way for Ryan Jarvis.
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“Because Thorney is a good guy off the pitch, it's easy to play with him,” said Earnshaw. “I've known him for years and years and we played together, so straightaway we understand each other.”
Of Thorne's early departure, Earnshaw said: “I think he's just having a little bit of cramp. He needs a few games to get match fit but he did well, I thought.”
Earnshaw isn't one to keep count of his goals - he's just happy to keep banging them in to stay top of the Coca-Cola Championship scoring charts.
He was even keen to claim the stoppage-time goal that wrapped up victory over Leicester after his shot rebounded off 'keeper and defender, though it will go down as a Gareth McAuley own goal.
“Yes, I'll rack them up. I'll take them!” said Earnshaw, who nevertheless said he had no idea if his current scoring spree ranked as the best start to a season of his career.
“I haven't even thought about it. I just try to do my best and try and score as many as possible. You'll have to check the record books. I'm only playing well and scoring goals because I'm getting the chances.
“The manager is keeping me on the pitch and I'm playing every week, so that's the biggest difference. I've got good players round me who create chances and we're a good team going forward, so that helps massively. I'm happy out there so it goes a long way.”
Earnshaw underlined the collective spirit that helped City overcome the absence of half a dozen senior players on Tuesday.
He said: “I think you just get on with. You wish whoever comes in the best. I think we've got a good togetherness in the whole squad. Everybody gets on well together so it's not a really big thing if someone gets injured.”
The same mood extended to the supporters, he said.
“If we're losing the fans stick with us because we're trying our best to bounce back and get wins for the whole club, the fans and everyone. You want everybody pulling together. If we lose, we lose together. If we win, we win together. That's the feeling we want all round the ground. To be fair, the fans were brilliant, they helped us. They kept going, cheering us until the end.”
Sunderland are next up for the Canaries, who beat them at Carrow Road with an Earnshaw goal four weeks ago.
“They're a good team and they caused us some problems a few weeks back,” said Earnshaw. “We'll have to be wary of them because Dwight Yorke is still brilliant, that cleverness always stays there and he can still run.
“We want to go on a run. I think we can go anywhere really and try and win the game but I think it's going to be hard.”
Grant saluted his star striker when he said: “It's good to see Earnshaw get another goal. Give him the ammunition and he'll either score or get an effort on target, it's as simple as that. Nine times out of 10 he puts the ball in the back of the net and what more can you ask from a top quality striker like that?”