Robinson back in the running

Carl Robinson has declared himself fit and raring to go after recovering from a painful rib injury - and would dearly love to make his comeback in Sunday's East Anglian derby.

Carl Robinson has declared himself fit and raring to go after recovering from a painful rib injury - and would dearly love to make his comeback in Sunday's East Anglian derby.

The Norwich City midfielder has been on the sidelines ever since completing a £50,000 switch from Sunderland and his absence has coincided with a dramatic downturn in the Canaries' fortunes.

Robinson marked his loan spell at Carrow Road with a series of solid displays in the heart of the Norwich midfield, helping his new club to five straight wins in the process.

But it has been a very different story since he aggravated a rib injury during the early stages of the opening game of 2006, with City having taken just one point from four games to fall 10 points adrift of the play-off positions.

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Robinson has been a frustrated spectactor throughout the gloomy spell, which continued with a 4-0 drubbing at Reading on Tuesday night. And having been part of the travelling party at the Madejski Stadium he is now hoping for a recall when the under-pressure Canaries play host to arch rivals Ipswich.

“I feel fine now,” said Robinson. “I have had two weeks of full training and I feel ready to get back into it. I have obviously got to be a bit careful but I think the injury is behind me.

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“I can't wait to get out there. I haven't played for a month and, like any footballer in a similar situation, I am starting to get itchy feet.

“We need to start picking up points on a regular basis now if we are to challenge for a place in the top six and I want to play my part.

“The injury would have been easier to take had we been winning games while I was out. If you are on the sidelines and your team are losing then it makes you even more desperate to get back.”

Robinson continues to rue the timing of the injury, which came just as he was settling into his role in the Norwich engine-room. He sustained a couple of cracked ribs during the 2-1 victory over Burnley just after Christmas but only missed one game before returning against Preston - and in hindsight that may have been a mistake.

“I made myself available for the Preston game - It was just a bit of pain, that's all,” he recalled.

“Unfortunately after a couple of minutes I took another knock on it in the same place which made it a lot worse. I know a couple of the Preston lads and I would be very surprised if it was deliberate, but the fact of the matter was that I had to be substituted at half-time.

“It was disappointing to pick up a knock just as I was settling in. But it's part and parcel of being a professional footballer. It's gone now and there is nothing I can do about it so it is just a case of moving on.

“All games that Norwich are involved in are massive games now - but obviously the derby match against Ipswich has an added significance.

“That will be a passionate occasion, I'm sure of that, but in these sort of games the calm heads tend to come out on top and hopefully that will be us. I think we have got enough quality in the squad to deal with challenges like that.”

As for Norwich's chances of making a late charge for promotion, Robinson added: “There are still 45 points to play for. You are probably not going to pick up all 45, if you are being a realist, but you have got to pick up as many as you can. We have still got to play most of teams between sixth place and where we are at the moment so we must make sure we take points of all of them.

“There is still plenty to play for, there's no doubt about that.”

From a personal point of view Robinson couldn't be happier, even though he could have done without his month on the sidelines.

“I was delighted to get a permanent move sorted out,” he said. “I came here on loan because I wanted to play some football. I was in and out of the side at Sunderland and was told I might play 10 games or so over the course of the season. That's not for me, I want to play on a regular basis.

“Immediately I got here I felt at home - there's a great bunch of lads here and the set-up is superb. When I was told that Norwich wanted me on a full-time basis I jumped at the chance of joining them.”

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