Worthy goes on the attack
DAVID CUFFLEY Attack looks like being the best form of defence for Norwich City after Robert Earnshaw joined their pre-season goalscoring spree in Scotland last night.
Attack looks like being the best form of defence for Norwich City after Robert Earnshaw joined their pre-season goalscoring spree in Scotland last night.
The Wales international striker scored both second-half goals in a 2-0 victory over Scottish League Division One side Livingston at Almondvale Stadium, making it six different forwards to have found the net in the Canaries' first three warm-up games.
Earnshaw's top-quality double delighted manager Nigel Worthington, still pondering his best attacking combination with the opening Coca-Cola Championship match at Leeds 2½ weeks away.
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But whoever plays up front, £2.75m man Earnshaw, 25, is clearly the man of whom City expect great things.
“There's no question about that,” said Worthington. “He's got a proven record as a striker at this level. We have paid fair money for a very, very good player and he will be a huge asset for Norwich City - but it's also a case of him working hard for the team as well as scoring goals because we're setting out our stall with everyone working hard.
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“We only gave Robert 45 minutes last night because the second half at Cambridge was the first chance we'd had to give him a run.
“The first goal was typical Earnshaw, a goal of great quality, and the second was a case of being in the right place with a good finish in the six-yard box.”
City operated a 4-3-3 system last night with Peter Thorne, Darren Huckerby and Ian Henderson in the attacking roles and Paul McVeigh operating just behind Thorne in the first half, while Earnshaw, Leon McKenzie, Andy Hughes and substitute Ryan Jarvis were given a slice of the action during the second period.
“There's every possibility we could play 4-3-3 when the season starts,” said Worthington.
With Huckerby, Ryan Jarvis, Thorne, Henderson and McKenzie all scoring in the first two matches - admittedly against non-league opposition - competition for places in attack should be keen.
“It's a good problem to have. You can never have enough goalscorers and that let us down last year a little bit,” said Worthington, pleased to report no injury worries as City bid for a fourth straight win at Falkirk on Saturday.
“It was a good physical test. The referee let one or two challenges go that might have been yellow cards in league matches, but it was a good physical encounter.”
He also paid tribute to City fans who travelled north of the border to watch the game.
“There must have been at least 150 fans up here and we always appreciate it when people give up their time and money to travel to games like this,” said Worthington.
If some fans have combined a Scottish holiday with their football, there will be little time for sightseeing for the Canaries, with double training sessions still their pre-season diet.
“We're out at 9.45 again today until 12.30 before having a rest in the afternoon, then back from 4.30 to 6.30 for another session.
“I am delighted, we have worked hard in pre-season on the fitness side and that has shown through. I am delighted to see the opposition physio coming on to the pitch more than our own. We have to keep working at the toughness and pushing that because that will be a big thing in the Championship. Coming up here helps us a little bit with that.”