Ruddy happy to repay faith

Norwich City ‘keeper John Ruddy labelled his superb second-half save at Middlesbrough as payback time after helping secure a hard earned Championship point.

Ruddy’s recent form has been a key factor in the Canaries’ surge up to second place after openly admitting he struggled during the early weeks of the season to fill the void left by Celtic-bound Fraser Forster.

The 24-year-old’s acrobatic one-handed tip over at the Riverside foiled Barry Robson as Middlesbrough looked to snatch a winner in the frenetic final stages.

“I was very happy with that save,” said Ruddy. “Maybe it was the difference between us taking a point, but you take it as it comes. I think I owed the lads a few to be fair because I started off shaky, but some of my performances have been a lot better lately and we looked really solid as a unit.

“It was difficult at the start of the season but you learn to deal with it and mentally I am strong.

“The lads have been fantastic, the lads have been great and I come into every game with a lot of confidence. That is how it should be.”

Lambert hailed Ruddy’s current form as ‘exceptional’ in his post-match press conference, but the big ‘keeper could do little to prevent Julio Arca’s deflected strike that clipped Leon Barnett after Grant Holt’s opener.

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“I think their player tried to play it through to his team-mate but it just hit off Barney’s shin and it went in the other corner,” said Ruddy.

“That was massively disappointing but these things happen and hopefully we can get a slice of that luck during the season.

“Some people might be disappointed with 1-1, but we had to grind it out and it’s a good result coming off the back of Saturday when the lads gave everything they had against QPR. Every player gave 110 per cent.

“It was never going to be easy and it’s a tough place at the best of times. As long as we are not losing, that is the main thing.

“They are a big club who were in the Premier League a couple of seasons ago.

“In all honesty we didn’t create that many chances but in those type of games if you can nick the odd goal and take a point you won’t argue.”

City leapfrogged Swansea into the second automatic place ahead of tonight’s tussle between Cardiff and Leeds – but Ruddy remains firmly on message.

“It’s the old clich�, but its each game as it comes and it has to be that way,” he said. “If you think you are going to go up, you get in party mode already and you’ll suffer the consequences. We know we are doing well and we know realistically we have half a chance of doing something but there are so many games left – which is why a point at Middlesbrough is not bad on reflection.

“It was like that a couple of months ago when we had four or five draws on the bounce, but as long as you are picking up points you can keep up with the pack.

“We’re second now and we have a game in hand on Swansea. It’s going well and it’s showing on the pitch.

“Seven points from nine over Christmas – we would have taken that beforehand.”