Roeder gets it right
Chris Lakey Canaries boss Glenn Roeder was singing the praises of the old and the new after a revamped City side claimed their first home three-point haul of the season.
Canaries boss Glenn Roeder was singing the praises of the old and the new after a revamped City side claimed their first home three-point haul of the season.
Lee Croft returned to the team after six games on the bench to score an injury-time winner, having spent the previous 90 minutes linking well with another recalled player, Jon Otsemobor, down the right flank.
Their performances rivalled those of makeshift central defensive duo Elliott Omozusi and Jonathan Grounds, who replaced John Kennedy and Dejan Stefanovic, who failed a late fitness test on a calf injury.
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"Finally Lee Croft decided to buy a lottery ticket and surprise himself, it was a winning one," said Roeder. "We've worked so hard with him at the training ground to get him to us his left foot. I haven't come across too many players who are so one-footed and yet with practice you can make players use their weaker foot.
"I think he surprised himself as he did everyone else. Hopefully that is just the start because Lee Croft has the ability to score half a dozen goals a year at least. One bus comes along and let's hope there are three, four, five buses behind in terms of goals for Lee Croft.
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"I thought in the first half he caused them quite a few problems down the right-hand side with the help of Jon Otsemobor, there were a couple of fantastic attacks early on as we started so well. We went quiet in the second half on the right-hand side, then they came alive. In the last 15 minutes they managed to get on the ball and cause them real problems down there."
Positionally, there were changes along the back four, with Otsemobor replacing Omozusi at right back after the on-loan Fulham player was moved one step left to replace Kennedy. Grounds was given his first start on the left of the centre pairing, with Adam Drury playing a league game for Roeder for the first time.
"I thought Grounds was typical of the type of loan player that I have brought to Norwich since I have been here," said Roeder. "Young, hungry, Premiership experience - and puts that to good use. I thought he was absolutely tremendous, but I didn't think Elliott Omozusi was very far behind, if at all, as his partner.
"They were just bolted together a few hours before kick-off and yet you would have thought they'd played together for a long time."
"I thought Adam Drury had waited a long time for a chance to play. He was only taken off because he had serious cramp. If you had carried on playing him he could have ended up getting a strain in his hamstring because of the cramp and he did marvellous to go as long as he did, when you consider how little football he has played for the best part of 10 months or so."
Drury came in as Roeder pushed Ryan Bertrand to left midfield, a counterweight to the more attacking Croft on the right.
"It just made sense - we look physically stronger and defensively more sound with Adam Drury at left back and Ryan Bertrand playing in front of him," said Roeder. "If we were going to play Crofty to give us more width on the right I didn't want us to be too open to the counter attack by having Wes on the other side. It was all about being as solid as we could and keeping a clean sheet, and hopefully scoring more than one goal. But if we scored one goal we knew how to cope defensively well enough to keep a clean sheet. And of course it is always great to be proved right."
But Roeder now faces some tough selection decisions, not helped by the hamstring injuries picked up by striker Arturo Lupoli and the man he replaced, Matty Pattison.
"It gives me a really, really nice problem - they are the problems that I want," said Roeder. "But we have picked up a few injuries of late which I don't like. It is pretty frustrating when Pattison, who is having his best run in the team since he joined us, picks up a hamstring strain and you put on Arturo Lupoli and he has picked up a little bit of a hamstring strain himself."