Robinson looks to put one over Warnock
Carl Robinson has a good deal of respect for Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock - but he would dearly love to put one over him this afternoon. The Norwich City midfielder can give an insider's view on the controversial Blades boss, having spent a loan spell with the Yorkshire club a couple of years ago, and has only got good words to say about him.
Carl Robinson has a good deal of respect for Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock - but he would dearly love to put one over him this afternoon.
The Norwich City midfielder can give an insider's view on the controversial Blades boss, having spent a loan spell with the Yorkshire club a couple of years ago, and has only got good words to say about him.
As far as Robinson is concerned Warnock is a solid, straight-talking type who always backs his players to the hilt and if he gets an opportunity he will be quick to shake his hand after today's game. But only one thing will be on his mind before it - to help the Canaries maintain their recent improved form by registering a fourth straight home win at the expense of his former team.
“I was at Bramall Lane for two months and I had a really good time,” said the January signing, who was playing for the opposition on the previous occasion these two sides met at Carrow Road.
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“I enjoyed working with Neil. People have mixed views on him but I can only speak highly of him. He wears his heart on his sleeve and maybe expresses his views when he shouldn't - but that's the way he has always been.
“He is a players' manager and all the lads loved him when I was there. He likes to keep them a close knit group - and if you do the business for him then he does the business for you.
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“But having said all that I will be pleased to put one over him on Saturday!”
Robinson would settle for a repeat of the result between these two sides back on January 31, 2004 when he was part of the Sheffield United side that lost a desperately tight game 1-0, with a second half goal from Iwan Roberts settling the issue. The Canaries strode confidently to Division One title after that crucial win over one of their main promotion rivals, and the City midfielder believes the play-offs will still be a realistic target this time around if the home side can once again pick up all three points.
Norwich start the day 10 points behind sixth placed Preston, having played one more game, but Robinson won't be ruling anything out while a mathematical chance of going up remains.
“I have still got a clear memory of the last time Sheffield United were down here,” he said. “That was my first game on loan there and we lost 1-0. I recall a penalty appeal being turned down at one end and then Iwan knocking one in at the other.
“It's just important that Norwich take all three points at the weekend because if we are going to get into the play-offs we need to string a lot of wins together, starting now. I'd take another 1-0, but I know it won't be easy.
“Sheffield United have had a few poor results recently, but they are still in a good position five points ahead of Leeds.
“They are a good team - and that is why they are second in the league. It will be a tough game for us on Saturday because they will obviously be looking to get back to winning ways. But we have also got something to play for and we will be looking to win at the weekend to push on to try and get a play-off place.”
Robinson knows the Canaries will have something to live up to this afternoon, after turning in one of their best performances of the season to draw 2-2 at Leeds last weekend, with only a brilliant late free-kick from Eddie Lewis depriving them of what would have been a well deserved win.
City also have a good home record to protect, having shrugged off low-key atmospheres to win their previous three games at Carrow Road, so the midfielder knows exactly what is required against the Blades.
“It was a fantastic occasion last week,” he said. “It was great place to go - a big ground, a big club - the sort of game every player wants to be involved in - and I thought we rose to the challenge superbly. Personally I was really disappointed that we only came away with a point because I thought we deserved all three but you have to hold your hands up to the Leeds lad. It was a brilliant free-kick.
“That's the way it goes in football sometimes. We scored a last-minute goal the previous week to turn and a draw into a win so it evens itself out.
“After the defeat at Crystal Palace in our last away game it was time to take a good look at ourselves and that's just what we did. It wasn't a good performance at Selhurst Park and we knew we had a big point to prove. We had a good week on the training ground after that and since then the results have been much better.
“We have rolled our sleeves up in the last two games - and in the second half against Leeds we played some excellent football.
“Now we have got to make sure we maintain the momentum. We won't forget what happened at Palace but that was only our defeat in our last six and we want to keep that run going.”
As for the edginess of the home fans in recent games, Robinson added: “The players just get on with it. We're as disappointed as anyone at the end of the day if we don't get the results we want. At Palace we just had to hold our hands up and say we were poor. It's was the players' fault - because if you are not performing week in, week out then things like that happen.”