Roeder keeps future plans on back burner

Chris Lakey Canaries boss Glenn Roeder says he hasn't even thought about next season - because his attention is fixed on the consequences of the remaining 18 games of the season.

Chris Lakey

Canaries boss Glenn Roeder says he hasn't even thought about next season - because his attention is fixed on the consequences of the remaining 18 games of the season.

Planning for the future has had to take a back seat as Roeder attempts to complete his main objective: saving City from relegation.

With an unbeaten run in the league stretching back nine games, he's on the way, but says he won't be counting any chickens, or points, until City's survival is beyond doubt.

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"I've been asked several times how many points I think we will need before we can say we are safe in the Championship - but the truth is I haven't done any maths at all," he said. "Our aim is simply to win as many games as we can, and so get as many points as we can from our remaining 18 matches and to finish as high as we can in the table.

"We have gone nine matches unbeaten in the league, and I'm delighted about that, but we should have had more points in the process.

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"I was annoyed we didn't get three points against Charlton, Crystal Palace and Leicester, all games that we should have won. I was grateful for the point against Wolves, but the six points that went begging from the other three games would have pushed us up to mid-table by now.

"Despite the fact that we didn't win last Saturday, the crowd was fantastic. To get our biggest gate of the season for that game was a big vote of confidence.

"I read this week that as a percentage of population of the city, our crowds are supposed to be the best in the country.

"We need to repay those supporters by finishing as high as we can this season and then doing better for them next season.

"But, to be honest, we're not even thinking about next season. We're too busy trying to dig ourselves out of the hole we were in a couple of months ago - and when I arrived it was not so much a hole as a mineshaft."

City have a free weekend after their exit from the FA Cup at Bury 11 days ago, returning to action at Southampton on Tuesday - all of which has necessitated changes to the timetable.

"To give our preparations the same feel as a normal week, we've actually moved everything back three days and we're now building up to the game as if it was the start of the week," he explained. "We're preparing for Southampton just as if we had started on Monday morning for a Saturday game.

"The players had two days off and they were back in for training yesterday (Thursday) morning. So our week started yesterday, today is effectively Tuesday, tomorrow is Wednesday and Sunday is Thursday, our normal day off. On Monday we'll be back in again with our normal Friday pre-match routine.

"I'm hoping we'll be able to pick up where we left off against Leicester, which was a very good performance, with just one area where we certainly need to improve, and that is our finishing.

"I can't understand why we're missing so many chances. Even at Barnsley, where we won 3-1, we could have doubled our goal tally. It's very frustrating for me and the players, but all they can do is keep working at it and start putting them away."

Saints are under the stewardship of caretaker managers John Gorman and Jason Dodd following the departure of George Burley (pictured) to take over the Scotland job.

"George has signed a contract to manage the national team until 2012 and I believe it will be a very good appointment," said Roeder. "Because I know Graeme Souness very well, I half hoped Graeme would get the job because I think he would be excellent as an international manager.

"But equally, George has done extremely well in club football and has earned this opportunity.

"He has had 16 years in management with Ayr, Ipswich, Derby, Hearts and Southampton and he thoroughly deserves his chance at international level.

"No doubt I will be asked about whether 'new manager syndrome' will play a part, but I can't tell you why a change of manager often has this effect. There is no scientific reason why it has the effect it does.

"Yes, players will be trying to impress a new guy, but it's not as if George was sacked. He left of his own accord and seems to have been a very popular person at Southampton, so his departure might even have a negative effect. But we just don't know."

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