Roeder so different fron Grant

One thing that has become abundantly clear about Norwich City's new manager in the space of just 10 days is how very different he is from his predecessor.

One thing that has become abundantly clear about Norwich City's new manager in the space of just 10 days is how very different he is from his predecessor.

It's not that Glenn Roeder has deliberately set out to be the complete opposite of Peter Grant.

And since his arrival he has been at pains not to criticise Grant or the events of his 12 months in charge at Carrow Road - quite the opposite.

One example was Monday's Press conference ahead of the game against Watford when he was asked whether he was happy with the fitness of his squad.

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“I'm conscious that when a new manager comes to a club he always tries to focus on how unfit the players are,” said Roeder. “I think the manager has just lost his job. He sees that and it's not a nice thing to read about yourself. I think it's poor for new managers to come in and back-handedly give the last manager a slap. Peter Grant was one of those coaches and a manager who was very forward in his thinking.”

It was a principled answer to a tricky question when it would have been very easy to try to score points over the previous occupant of the hot seat.

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But there is no question that, apart from the very obvious contrast in appearance and mannerisms, Roeder does have a different - in some cases completely opposite - attitude from Grant to a number of fundamental issues.

One of his first decisions was to relax the rules on access to the Colney training centre for supporters.

Extra restrictions were put in place at the start of the season at Colnitz to prevent City's injury news or tactical secrets - such as the closely-guarded formula no one else has cracked of how to go 10 games without a win - getting into the public domain.

Those rules were amended last week to keep fans out only on the day immediately before a game.

But other changes of policy could be more significant than this peripheral issue, such as not gambling on injured players.

Earlier this season, Gary Doherty, Ian Murray and Jamie Cureton were all named for matches when they were less than 100 per cent fit. Though they were said to be desperate to play, City, not to mention the individual players involved, suffered as a result.

Roeder will be taking no chances on that front. Dion Dublin was withdrawn at half-time against Ipswich and Luke Chadwick substituted against Watford, both with hamstring trouble, in situations when City could certainly have benefited from their continued presence on the field.

“Dublin has a tight hamstring,” Roeder said after the derby match against Ipswich. “We don't think he's pulled his hamstring but it was just tightening up just before half-time. Had we sent him out he would definitely have pulled it so that would have been a ridiculous thing to do.”

Neither does he see the benefit in playing games with the opposition by trying to conceal injuries.

The morning after the derby, he confirmed: “Dion won't be playing tomorrow - simple as that. I don't know why there are always managers that try to hide the obvious. I can't see the value of that. If he's out, he's out.”

It is very early days for Roeder and one would certainly not venture to suggest that one man's ideas and approach to the job are totally right and another's totally wrong.

However, one statement that will definitely have been welcomed in the dressing room related to criticism of individual players in public.

Roeder is adamant that he will not be drawn into condemning individuals for the whole world to read or hear.

Paul McVeigh, Darren Huckerby, Youssef Safri and Jamie Cureton were among those criticised publicly over the previous 12 months.

But, while he admitted there would be times when he would criticise his team “collectively”, Roeder insisted: “One thing I will never do, ever, and you can go back through all your newspaper cuttings, is take a player to task publicly. I hated playing for managers like that. I had no respect for them whatsoever because it's a cheap shot. If I feel something is wrong, I'll take them to task in my office. I think it's a cop-out for managers who continually criticise their players in public. I don't think you earn any respect that way at all.”

The new manager's touchline demeanour is also in marked contrast to the fevered activity in Grant's “technical area”, which, in fairness, the former boss often referred to in moments of self-mockery.

“Players look at you all the time,” said Roeder. “Even when you don't realise, they're looking to see how the manager is reacting, maybe what he's saying, maybe just his general demeanour round the place. If I felt my manager was nervous, it wouldn't help the situation.”

He admitted after the Ipswich game, however, that his supposedly calm exterior did not always reflect his inner feelings.

He said: “I wasn't relaxed when I kicked that medical bag. We must have the only medical bag that's got six house bricks in it. I broke my right toe and ruined a good pair of shoes.”

Clearly quite a dry sense of humour, too. City, as well as their manager, are going to need that over the months ahead.

t Iwan Roberts is the ex-player most City fans would like to “recycle” and see playing in the current side, according to the results of a survey released this week.

Striker Roberts polled 39 per cent of votes in the Coca-Cola “Talent from Trash” Recycle-a-Player programme, with Chris Sutton second on 35 per cent.

Great players both, but in the Canaries' current plight, I'd go for a midfield general or a loud and proud centre-half and captain type.

The late Trevor Hockey had a galvanising effect on City's escape from relegation back in 1973, but the greatest impact made by any midfield signing I can remember was that of Martin O'Neill in 1981, and again a year later.

As for the “voice” at the back, how about Barry Butler, Duncan Forbes, Dave Watson or a certain gentleman on the touchline with Watford on Tuesday night . . .

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