Surman is up for the final push

Norwich’s cultured midfielder Andrew Surman is ready to make up for lost time after the worst injury-hit season of his career.

The former England U21 international had been restricted to just nine senior appearances prior to today’s latest Championship test at Barnsley after two lengthy knee injuries. Surman’s previous comeback lasted only two matches before he was withdrawn in the club’s 4-1 derby home win over Ipswich prior to Christmas.

Now the 24-year-old plans to play a full part in the Canaries’ promotion push after stepping up his fitness with a series of late cameos during the last fortnight.

He said: “It’s great. It’s been frustrating as anything. I’ve never really had any long term injuries and to get two in the same season is frustrating but its great to be back involved with the lads and with the position we are in, I am coming back into a successful set-up. I didn’t play much at Wolves last season, but that was more because I wasn’t involved rather than I was injured. This is the worst season. The longest I’d been out before was five weeks when I had another knee injury at Southampton about five years ago. These things happen in football but I am just glad to be back with roughly a quarter of the season left.”

Surman believes his stop start campaign has toughened him up.

He said: “It makes you so much more mentally strong because you still are trying to live your life right. It could be easy to go off the rails sometimes with no football to look forward too. You have to keep telling yourself that you are going to get back fit. It has been a lesson for me how to cope with injury, but like I say it was great to have that opportunity to come back with 13 games left rather than knowing I was out for the season.

“It’s a bit of a balancing act for the manager because he put me back in for two games before and I got injured again so I guess he has to make sure I don’t do the same this time. I’ve had a couple of games now, playing 20 and 30 minutes here and there, and I played for the reserves. I feel fit and ready to be thrown back in whenever I can. Hopefully that will be sooner rather than later, but as long as the lads keep winning that is the main thing.”

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Surman accepts he has some stiff midfield competition blocking his path to a regular starting berth.

He said: “That can only be good for the club. There is competition for places with Henri (Lansbury) now signed until the end of the season and obviously I have come back from injury and you have Foxy and Crofty along with Wes (Hoolahan) and Korey (Smith).

“We have a lot of attack-minded players and that is shown in our results. We have only lost two of 19. It has been a great run for us and we just have to maintain this form and see if we can stay up near the top two. There is no easy games now especially with the sides in and around the top six always looking to pick up points.

“We know if we are on our game we can beat any side in this league. I think when I came here in the summer we believed we could be in this position and the manager had put that into the players’ heads. We have a winning mentality at this club now and we know if we aim high then you can achieve good things. I think the position we are in is justified.”