Time is right for revenge
Chris Lakey Canaries winger Lee Croft is hoping to shrug off the memories of one of the darkest days in the club's recent history when City face Burnley tomorrow.
Canaries winger Lee Croft is hoping to shrug off the memories of one of the darkest days in the club's recent history when City face Burnley tomorrow.
The last time the Clarets came to Carrow Road they won an embarrassingly one-sided match 4-1, leaving behind a trail of destruction from which City have found it tough to recover.
Within hours of the final whistle, Nigel Worthington had been relieved of his duties as manager, and while Peter Grant struggled against the tide to turn things around, it wasn't until the arrival of Glenn Roeder last autumn that genuine signs of life were evident.
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Although City are still far too close to the Championship danger zone for comfort, three points against Burnley's play-off hopefuls tomorrow would go a long way to ensuring safety.
And Croft believes the events of October 1, 2006 can act as an incentive for himself, Darren Huckerby, Dion Dublin, Jason Shackell and Gary Doherty, who was given his marching orders half an hour before the final whistle.
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“It was horrible day, really horrible,” said Croft. “I remember Doc got sent off and we got badly beaten. But hopefully we can put that to bed on Saturday and get our own back on them.
“For players who are involved in those games where you take a bit of a hiding it is never nice - it is always nice to get a chance to redeem yourself when you play that team again.
“But we're a completely different side to the one that went out that day, in every respect - character, personnel, the way we play.
“I'm sure we'll be fine come the end of the season because we have too much quality. It's just important we win on Saturday and get the points we need for safety.”
City go into the game on the back of a morale-sapping injury-time 2-1 defeat at Bristol City last weekend, but Croft says the disappointment of that setback won't affect tomorrow's performance.
“Obviously it was disappointing - I think because we played so well it made it worse, and we had chances as well to score,” he said. “To go to a team that is top of the table and play so well and come away with nothing the way we did was just really disappointing.
“But I think it will be easy enough to put it straight out of our minds - even over the last few weeks when we haven't had the results that we have wanted we have taken positives. We played well in quite a few games and the gaffer has remained positive and said that if we keep putting in performances likes that we will be fine and the results will start coming.
“That's the one thing that we have been missing out on, the only thing - the three points at the end of it all. It's the most important thing but you have to remain positive and know that the results will come if we continue to play like that.”
Croft came in at half-time at Bristol, heading straight for the right flank, with Darren Huckerby reverting to his favoured left wing role - and between them they terrorised the Bristol defence. It was a throwback to more precarious and carefree times when both men took to the field - and defensive duties often suffered.
It's been Croft who has missed out in recent games under Roeder's one-winger policy, but the 22-year-old says the competition has proved beneficial.
“Obviously it is disappointing, but it is healthy competition,” he said. “We have players who can play different positions, we have different ways of playing and the manager picks the team game by game, picking a team he thinks will win. The last few weeks I have had fewer chances, but it is a team game. I have been coming off the bench and trying to help in any way I can.
“Hucks has done well since he's been back in - I think he prefers to play on the left but he is doing an job on the right. With us playing with one winger it him or me who gets sacrificed.
“We love it when we're both on - but when we get the opportunity we have to make sure we do both the offensive side, like we did on Saturday while making sure we are not too exposed on the defending side of the game. We have to make sure we help out defensively as well and do the things we enjoy doing - making things happen.”