The only way is up for Earnie
The P word is in the air at Carrow Road - and it's not just Peter Grant who has put it there.Promotion - hoped for at the start of the season, but practically forgotten in the light of recent performances - is suddenly on the agenda again.
By CHRIS LAKEY
The P word is in the air at Carrow Road - and it's not just Peter Grant who has put it there.
Promotion - hoped for at the start of the season, but practically forgotten in the light of recent performances - is suddenly on the agenda again.
A new broom might sweep away some of the City under-performers, but Robert Earnshaw's place is practically set in stone - nine goals in 11 games isn't to be sniffed at in any division. And while the Welsh striker reckons the fact that the new boss was watching from the directors' box on Saturday had no effect on the players, mention of a new face in the office at Colney did bring forward the promotion issue.
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Earnshaw, away on international duty with Wales, had other things on his mind as the great managerial debate raged.
“I only came back on Friday, but the boys said not a lot has changed, it's been virtually the same,” he said. “The only thing was to come back and play as soon as possible and try and get a win. We will have to see what the manger brings in and what he wants to do. So many names have been thrown in so you didn't have a clue who would take it. I'm not really surprised, I just can't wait for him to come in and we start working because we still want promotion - if we go on a great run for the rest of the season that takes us right up there.
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“What we want, what all the players still want and are thinking of is promotion. Right now we are near the bottom of the table, but that's how we are thinking.”
Grant has come in from the assistant manager's post at West Ham, where Earnshaw's team-mate Danny Gabbidon plays.
“I have spoken to a couple of mates there, Gabbidon and the like, and they speak highly of him and say he's a good guy.”
What Grant has to stop is the haphazard pattern of City's season.
“It's been a crazy first 10, 15 games,” he said. “For the first five we were on fire, the football we were playing, we were scoring and not conceding - but all of a sudden we started to concede goals which killed us for five games.
“Obviously now we want to start come back and start winning again. It wasn't the manager's fault, it wasn't the players' fault. You couldn't really put your finger on it, we have just tried to work on it and hopefully we can play to the standards we set for the first five.”
Loftus Road would have been an ideal way to start and, with six minutes of normal time to go it looked like City were on their way to their first victory since Earnshaw's solitary goal gave them the three points against his old club, Cardiff, back in April. Again, it was Earnshaw who had set it up, slotting home a penalty, but then City's defence collapsed and, in injury time, Martin Rowlands bagged an equaliser.
“We have conceded some silly goals at times,” said Earnshaw. “We could have stopped them early on, but that's how it goes. It was a frustrating game, we thought we had won it, but we'll settle for a point.
Had Earnshaw not come off second best against international team-mate Paul Jones earlier on, it might have been a different story. Jones pulled out all the stops in the first half to keep out a header, halted a volley in the second half - and even got his fingertips to the Earnshaw penalty which had put City 3-2 up.
“I tried to leave it (the penalty kick) until really late and see where he was going,” said Earnshaw. “He left it late but thankfully I got enough on it to put it in the corner.
“The header was an unbelievable save. I just turned and saw him diving across. I was thinking he was like a 20-year-old again.”