The only way is up - Drury

DAVID CUFFLEY Norwich City's longest-serving player has admitted that confidence in the squad has been lower this season than at any time in his 6½ years with the club.


Norwich City's longest-serving player has admitted that confidence in the squad has been lower this season than at any time in his 6½ years with the club.

But defender Adam Drury is determined to help bring about a change of mood when the Canaries entertain newly-promoted Bristol City in the Coca-Cola Championship tomorrow (3pm).

Drury, with 269 senior appearances under his belt, said the opening weeks of the 2007-08 campaign had been the toughest at Carrow Road since he arrived from Peterborough in 2001.

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Apart from striker Jamie Cureton and midfielder Darel Russell, both of whom returned during the summer for second spells with the club, Drury's time as a first team player at Norwich stretches back further than any member of the current squad.

And the former captain said he couldn't recall a time when City's fortunes were at such a low ebb.

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City are third from bottom of the Championship with one point from the last five games - and no goal in 555 minutes in all competitions.

Drury said: “I can't think of any other time it's been this bad. The confidence of the lads has been the lowest I've known since I've been here.

“And once we get in one of these sort of runs where we're not scoring goals, and we haven't scored for a while now, and we can't seem to get a win from anywhere, it gets very hard and the longer it takes to get out of it, the harder it is as well, so we've got to try and stop it as soon as we can.”

After last week's departure of Peter Grant, City take on the high-flying Robins under caretaker boss Jim Duffy, who will also be in charge for Tuesday's trip to Burnley.

“It's not been easy and it's never easy when managers change,” said Drury. “There's always speculation about what's going on, but we've got to do a job, because the position we're in at the minute, it's not been good enough and it's got to change.

“There's nothing more we can do. It's not our decision who comes in or who gets the job. We've just got to concentrate on playing.”

The 29-year-old Drury has had no second thoughts, however, about his future after signing a new four-year contract at the end of last season.

He said: “No. You're in it, no matter what. I wouldn't have signed that deal if I didn't want to be at this club - simple as that. Everyone knows I enjoy being here, I love playing for this football club and that doesn't change.”

In fairness to Drury and his defensive colleagues, the back four has not been the main area of concern for City, who have conceded just 11 goals in 10 league games, whereas they have scored only five.

He said: “The last couple of years we've had a bit of stick as a team about conceding goals and this year it's changed round a little bit. We've been a lot tighter and harder to score against but we've had the problem this year of scoring the goals.

“As a defender it's nice to know we've been a bit tighter at the back, but at the same time, that's a team thing as well. Throughout the team we've defended better but we've got to create chances for the forwards.

“That's been our main problem. There have been games where we've kept it tight and we've been in the game and if we had scored first, we'd have gone on to win the game, but we haven't. The problem is we've not created the chances. You could have anyone up front but if you don't create them chances, you're not going to score goals. We've worked on a few things this week, hopefully to change that.”

Another force for change could be the arrival of former Wales international John Hartson on loan from West Bromwich Albion.

“Everyone knows what his qualities are,” said Drury. “He's been around, he's been in the game a long time and he's scored goals wherever he's been, and in training this week he's looked good. He's a hold-up player, as everyone knows, and he knows where the net is.”

Drury is impressed by tomorrow's opponents, fourth in the Championship table after moving up from League One.

“I saw them a couple of weeks ago on Sky and I thought they looked very good. They knocked the ball about well and they've come into this league and done very for themselves so far and it's going to be a tough game.”

Veteran Dion Dublin remains touch and go for tomorrow's match. A back problem meant the 38-year-old missed the second half of the Canaries' 1-0 defeat at Queen's Park Rangers 10 days ago.

Duffy said: “Dion's still struggling but he's improving so we'll just wait and see with that one.”

French midfielder Julien Brellier will definitely not figure after injuring his ankle in City Reserves' 3-0 defeat at Ipswich on Monday, but on-loan Jimmy Smith - who played 70 minutes at Portman Road - has a chance of making his City debut.

“Jimmy Smith has come back into the team for the reserves and he's trained all week,” said Duffy. “Jamie Cureton joined back in training yesterday, so he's working his way back as well.”

Duffy also revealed that defender Gary Doherty was set to see a specialist about the groin injury that forced him to miss the trip to Loftus Road.

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