Robinson: We will make it next year
CHRIS WISE It has been a bitterly disappointing season for Norwich City and their supporters - but Carl Robinson is convinced it will be a very different story next time around.
It has been a bitterly disappointing season for Norwich City and their supporters - but Carl Robinson is convinced it will be a very different story next time around.
The under-performing Canaries lost even a mathematical chance of reaching the play-offs on Saturday when they slumped to their latest low-key away defeat - with two own goals neatly summing up a miserable afternoon at Preston.
As a result they have got nothing concrete to play for in their final four games, but Robinson believes they are all vitally important fixtures and he is hoping City can use them as a launch-pad for a determined promotion push in 2006-7.
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The experienced midfielder, who helped Sunderland to the top flight a couple of years ago, reckons Norwich have got what it takes to put this season's problems firmly behind them, and emphasised his confidence for the future when he declared: "We are going to get into the Premiership next year, I can confirm that."
Looking ahead to Saturday's clash at Sheffield Wednesday, where he spent a short spell on loan three years ago, Robinson commented: "It's sad that the mathematical chance has now gone.
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"If we had beaten Preston we would at least have given them something to think about, but unfortunately we conceded two own goals.
"The luck was against us and there is nothing much you can do about that. It happens in football sometimes.
"We have now got to put that behind us and concentrate on finishing the campaign on a high note.
"There are four games left to play and each one is very important to all of us because we are now building for next season.
"We can't go up now but everyone wants to make sure they are in the gaffer's team for next season.
"He is likely to bring in some new faces during the summer, but there is definitely a lot of quality in this squad already. "We all want to be part of it and if you finish the campaign well then you will be in his thoughts going into the first game.
"It is going to be a big season for Norwich. It's one I am already looking forward to and we are going to get into the Premiership next year, I can confirm that."
Robinson has seen enough since joining the club in November to know that the Canaries really should have performed a lot better this season with the quality of players available to them.
But despite the continuing poor away form he is convinced there is now some light at the end of the tunnel and is looking forward to proving the point in the 'dead rubbers' against Wednesday, QPR, Cardiff and Wolves.
"A lot of new faces have come in this season and it has taken time for everyone to settle in," he said. "But I think you are starting to see some positive signs now.
"It's certainly coming together in training, while I think we have proved in our home games that we are gelling together as a unit.
"Away from home we haven't been as good as we should have been, we know that.
"We have been pretty poor at times and we have got to sort that out. But at home we have been fantastic in our recent games.
"This league is about grinding out results and we have managed to get the formula right at Carrow Road. We have won our last five and I think that sort of form will stand us in good stead next season.
"It's about finding the right formula away - and that's what we will be trying to do in our final two matches at Sheffield Wednesday and Cardiff."
He added: "With one or two additions I am sure we can now push on and get back to where we want to be.
"But, having said that, we have got a lot of good players here already. It has been a disappointing season because we know we should have finished in the top six at the very least.
"Next season we have got to make sure we finish in the top two - and I firmly believe we can.
"Norwich should be in the Premiership. The players know that and want that and so does the manager. That is what we will be aiming achieve."
Robinson knows that a positive end to the season could see the Canaries finish as high as seventh in the table, ahead of local rivals Ipswich, and that will be spurring him on over the next two and a half weeks, even though it would be little more than a consolation prize.
"We want to finish as high as we can," he said. "Sixth place is out of reach now, but we still want to finish seventh. If we can't finish seventh then we would like to finish eighth, and so on.
"I can assure fans that we won't be going through the motions. Personally as a player I could never do that and I'm sure the same applies to all the lads here.
"We will always go out there and give 100pc, starting at Hillsborough on Saturday."