Smith told to keep his chin up

Midfielder Korey Smith has been urged to keep his chin up after finding it tough to force his way into Norwich City’s Premier League plans.

The 20-year-old Smith finished last season with a career tally of 72 senior appearances, but has not figured in the squad of 18 for any of the Canaries’ three top-flight games so far, appearing only in the 4-0 Carling Cup home defeat by Milton Keynes Dons.

Yesterday he captained City Reserves at Colney, one of only three players with first team experience involved in the 4-2 defeat by West Bromwich Albion – and afterwards, assistant manager Ian Culverhouse admitted it had been difficult for Smith to force his way on to the teamsheet.

“I think he’s found it a little bit hard and he gets down on himself a little bit but Korey’s a good player, he’s one for the future and he knows he’s well thought of here,” said Culverhouse.

“So he has to use these games just for himself and get minutes under his belt.”

Double promotion winner Smith was a regular in City’s League One title-winning side two seasons ago and in the first half of last season in the Championship, but last started a league game at Middlesbrough on January 3.

“There are a lot of numbers. We’ve got a lot of midfielders at the moment, so he’s finding it a little bit hard but he’s around the group, he trains with us every day and you never know, with a few injuries, he could be straight back in there,” said Culverhouse. “He gets a little bit down on himself because there is no light at the end of the tunnel for him at the moment but he has got to do it for himself.

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“I think he had a little bit too many touches on the ball at times today and got dragged down a little bit but a little word in his ear and hopefully he’ll be all right.”

Defender George Francomb operated in the centre of defence against Albion yesterday, with Josh Dawkin the only other player to have featured in the senior side.

“I think George is a terrific player. He’s got a bright future in front of him,” said Culverhouse. “We’ve picked up a few bad injuries, especially in the centre of defence, so we’re a bit short of cover in there. That’s why we looked at George there again today. We know he’s a right-back by trade but as long as he has different strings to his bow, it can only hold him in good stead.”

In contrast to last week’s reserve game at home to Everton, City kept their senior players under wraps yesterday with the next Premier League game, also against the Baggies, coming up on Sunday at Carrow Road (1.30pm).

“We had them in this morning and they had a good run round and they’re in again tomorrow so they’ll have two good working days,” said Culverhouse.