Thorne: We can make play-offs

Striker Peter Thorne was today adamant that Norwich City can prove the doubters wrong and reach the promotion play-offs, despite the odds stacked against them.

Striker Peter Thorne was today adamant that Norwich City can prove the doubters wrong and reach the promotion play-offs, despite the odds stacked against them.

The Canaries face relegation-haunted Derby County tomorrow (3pm), needing to take three points off the struggling Rams to keep alive their very slender chance of making the top six at the end of the season.

City are currently 12 points behind Preston, in sixth position with a game in hand, but to stand a chance making up ground the Canaries almost certainly need to win a minimum of 10 of their final 12 games, and hope that at the same time one of the teams currently in the play-off places blows up in spectacular fashion.

“Without a doubt we can make the play-offs,” said Thorne. “I'm sure that there are a lot of people out there who will doubt us but we have got to start collecting points as soon as you can and then you never know.”

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If City are to catapult themselves into the play-off mix, they will have to hope that the newly-reunited partnership of Thorne and ex-Cardiff team-mate Robert Earnshaw delivers the goods again as it once did so successfully at Ninian Park.

Earnshaw bagged a late brace against Brighton on Tuesday and Thorne is confident that the somersault celebration will be coming out again soon, now that the Welsh international is off the mark.

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“The partnership's just started again but it's good to get back with Earnie,” said Thorne. “It was very nice for him to get his two goals and now I am sure that he'll be on his way.

“It's always fun to see someone doing that and I've seen a fair few of them over the years and I think that I've seen a few nearly go wrong as well.

“I think he's got it wired at the moment, but you won't see me doing anything like that. I'm more liable to break my neck. I'll just be putting my arm up in the air, a bit like Shearer.”

Thorne believes the understanding that the two have cultivated over the years of playing together will only benefit City as the team struggles to find some cohesiveness following all the personnel changes this season, for one reason or another.

He declared: “To be fair, me and him have played together a fair few years now and we pretty much know what the other one is going to do.

“But at the end of the day I am the target man. I'm probably the biggest striker we have got here at the moment, so I'm the sort of lad that they are going to put the balls up to and then it's my job to try and get everybody involved.”

The 32-year-old is also looking forward to trying to gain revenge on the Rams following the no-show at Pride Park at the beginning of December, a performance that sparked protests calling for Nigel Worthington's head, but also preceded a super run of five wins.

“It was definitely a very disappointing day for us that day,” said Thorne. “We will be going out there knowing full well that we do owe them one.”

He added: “We got a point at Hull and then the three points on Tuesday. We've got the clean sheet we wanted as well and we have to keep trying to keep it solid and we need to get some points quick.”

Thorne is also well aware, as are the rest of the players, of the discontent among the fans, which was so noticeable at Carrow Road on Tuesday with the wall of silence that greeted the players at kick-off.

But the only way things are going to get better is, as Thorne admits, if the team start winning matches.

“I think that is just because the season hasn't panned out too well for us, but we have just got to keep winning games and that will sort itself out,” said Thorne. “You have got to shut it out and try and get on with your own game and try to get the win.

“It's not very often that we have played the same team through injuries and suspensions and whatever. No one is really to blame.

“We have got to be positive and get out there and start well. On a few occasions this season we have been guilty of making a slow start, but hopefully that is behind us.”

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