There'll be no let-up - Roeder
David Cuffley Norwich City's players will go into the final 10 matches of the season under orders to go flat out for the finishing line.The Canaries face Coventry City in tomorrow's Coca-Cola Championship match at the Ricoh Arena (3pm), knowing that nearly all their remaining opponents - five teams above them in the table and five below - will have something to play for over the final eight weeks of the campaign.
Norwich City's players will go into the final 10 matches of the season under orders to go flat out for the finishing line.
The Canaries face Coventry City in tomorrow's Coca-Cola Championship match at the Ricoh Arena (3pm), knowing that nearly all their remaining opponents - five teams above them in the table and five below - will have something to play for over the final eight weeks of the campaign.
And manager Glenn Roeder believes his men have their own double incentive as they bid to complete the double over the fourth-from-bottom Sky Blues, in the shape of new contracts, and just a slim chance of taking the final play-off place.
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“We've got to finish the job - finish the season strongly and gather as many points as we can,” said Roeder. “There is no opportunity for the players to relax and take things easy.”
He added: “Some of them are playing for their careers. If they leave Norwich in the summer they will not go to a better club than this. That should be a motivating factor.”
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He admitted he had a fair idea of which players he wished to retain, but said: “There may be one or two borderline cases who have got two months to get, as the Romans would do, the thumbs up or the thumbs down.
“I'm not sitting down and talking contracts until the first job has been completed. Once that's done I'll decide when I want to sit down and talk.”
Though it remains a long shot, a play-off place is still a mathematical possibility with City nine points behind sixth-placed Plymouth.
“We are still in with an outside shot of making that sixth spot,” said Roeder.
“Football is the hardest game to predict - that's why it's a bookmakers' paradise and they all drive around in big cars.
“Looking at it logically, I think there is only one place up for grabs and that's sixth spot. It's possible the sixth team will have a lower points total than normal. They may not get 70 points and 68 might be enough - because there are a lot of teams who play each other.”
Seven wins and a draw from the last 10 games would give the Canaries 68 points, but the manager is making no forecasts.
He said: “I would be an absolute idiot to come out and say things like that. We'll go about our business nice and quietly and let everyone else shoot from the hip.
“It would take a phenomenal run but all we can do is try to win the next game, and then the next one and so on and just see what happens.
“Life has taught me not to look too far ahead and I have learned to enjoy today.”
Midfielder Darel Russell is available again tomorrow after serving a three-match suspension but Darren Huckerby remains very doubtful after missing the 1-1 draw at Watford, with the visit of Stoke on Tuesday a more realistic target.
“Darren is touch and go for the weekend. He has a slim chance but if he doesn't make it he may have a better chance of being fit for Tuesday night's game,” said Roeder, whose first win as City boss was against Coventry at Carrow Road back in November.
He said: “It seems a long time ago. I can't say it's flown past.
“I understand Coventry have played much better since Chris Coleman came in and that they created enough chances against QPR on Wednesday to have wrapped the game up.”
Meanwhile, Roeder admitted he would like to bring in one more loan signing before this month's deadline.
He said: “There is the possibility of a loan. I am not shutting the door but there is nothing imminent. I'm not about to say what position, but if I can get one more loan player in, I would definitely like to because the squad is much too thin.
“The loan players have played a major role in helping us get to the position where we are, not forgetting the players already here and their contribution.”