Stop feeling sorry for yourselves - Fleck

Canary legend Robert Fleck urged Norwich City's players to “stop feeling sorry for themselves” and go out and win the East Anglian derby.

Canary legend Robert Fleck today urged Norwich City's players to “stop feeling sorry for themselves” and go out and win the East Anglian derby.

Fleck, who scored for City in a 2-1 derby win in 1995, said that the team needed players with “broad shoulders” to take on the responsibility of getting Norwich out of trouble.

“Every game I've ever played, I've fancied I was going to win,” he said. “Of course it didn't always work out, but confidence is a big thing. Some of the players seem frightened at the moment - the fans are with them, but they're not giving it back to the fans. They've got to stop feeling sorry for themselves and go out and do it.”

Now working as a scout for the Canaries, Fleck has watched Ipswich several times in the build-up to tomorrow's game, and he acknowledged that Norwich have a hard task ahead of them.


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“Ipswich are a good football team, as you'd expect,” he said. “They've managed to have a settled side while Norwich can't play the same team twice at the moment.”

Fleck identified Pablo Counago, Alan Lee and Danny Haynes as Ipswich's main danger men. All three scored in Town's 3-0 win over Wolves last Saturday.

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Always a fans' favourite at Carrow Road, Fleck remembers the derbies he played in with great fondness.

“It's a 12.45 kick-off on Sunday, but we used to have great evening games - they were always eventful,” he said.

He took part in two particularly dramatic matches in the 1995-96 season. At Carrow Road, Fleck's goal helped City to a 2-0 lead before a late John Wark penalty made for a nervous last few minutes.

Then a second penalty decision gave Ipswich the chance to grab a draw - or so it seemed. “John Wark steps up to take the penalty and the referee changes his mind and gives us a free kick.”

The return match didn't bring back such happy memories as, with the scores level at 1-1, Robert Ullathorne passed back to his goalkeeper on a bumpy surface at Portman Road.

“My old mate Bryan Gunn kicked fresh air,” Fleck remembered, and Ipswich had stolen a famous victory.

All six of the derby games that Fleck played in were won by the home team, but he felt that home advantage would count for little tomorrow.

“Ipswich will fancy their chances, even though they haven't won away from home,” he said.

He feels the first 15 minutes would be crucial and called for City's fans to get behind their team and the new manager.

“I'm sure Jim Magilton will be telling his players that if the crowd get on Norwich's backs, that won't help them. Norwich supporters are fantastic, that goes without saying. They've got to give the man [Roeder] a chance, give the players a chance.”

However, he stressed that the responsibility was on the players.

“Of course they can win the game. Every game is a must-win game now. They need to start winning games, they're playing for their livelihoods,” he said.

Still clearly passionate about City's fortunes, Fleck said he would be going to the game in his yellow and green scarf. Asked if he had a prediction, he replied: “Yes, but I'm not saying.”

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