Town’s Manager previews Saturday’s game at Norwich
Chris Powell wants his side to use the momentum gained from Saturday’s win over Brentford to improve its away form – starting at Norwich City this weekend.
Town ended a four game spell without a win on Saturday at the John Smith’s Stadium with a 2-1 win over the Bees and Powell mentioned the importance of this win at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
“We certainly needed the win. We hadn’t won in four games, although admittedly we played some tough teams. A lot of teams would lose away at Derby and even though it was a tough night we actually had some good spells in the game.
“We then lose one game at Bolton and go down to 19th. We win one game and go back up to 15th - that’s the Championship.
“Who would’ve called the game last week? Brentford arrived with five straight wins, we hadn’t won in four and we go 2-0 up and really should’ve been 3-0 up. We should’ve killed the game and their spirit, but then of course they get a goal and we were under the cosh for the last 10-15 minutes. I’m pleased we held out; Alex Smithies continued the decent form he showed at Bolton and saved us on a couple of occasions.
“You have to strive for a level of consistency to keep ourselves in this position and climb even higher and that’s what we’re here to do. We’re not here to make up the numbers - we’re here to get points.
“It’s away from home that we know we have to improve. We know we have to be a bit more miserly away from home and pick up a point or three on our travels.
“You look at our performances at Ipswich, Blackburn and obviously Wolves and I think you can draw inspiration from those games.”
Saturday’s opponents Norwich have been better on the road so far this season, with just three wins at Carrow Road.
Chris continued: “Norwich got a terrific result away from home last week, but they have found it tougher at home and they will be looking to rectify that. We will be looking to continue that struggle and show the same level of performance and desire as we did last week to really get ourselves in the game.
“It will be difficult; they’re an ex-Premier League side with a very good squad and some money behind them and some very good purchases. But they’re in the same league as us and we’ve got to believe we’re at the same level and are capable of getting something from Carrow Road. Once we’re out there, we will be looking to impose ourselves and getting a positive result.”
Anthony Gerrard was brought back into the squad last Saturday following an injury to Joel Lynch and Powell explained his progress back to the bench:
“He wasn’t fit when I came in and he hadn’t been fit since the summer, but he’s worked hard to get himself back to a level and played in a number of Under-21 games to get up to speed.
“Since then Joel Lynch and Mark Hudson formed a good partnership, although at times we lost one or two games. Murray Wallace has been sitting there patiently too. Anthony has had to bide his time, but I spoke to him a few times about it and he’s got on with it.
“We’ve now lost Joel Lynch to injury so I put Murray in, who was waiting for his chance and Anthony comes into the 18. We will see now how that works for him and for us.
“He’s back involved and like I always say to players, you’ve got to be ready. He is and if I have to call upon him I’ve got no problems in doing that.”
Of Lynch’s groin injury, Powell said:
“It’s slow progress, so he won’t be ready for this weekend. Let’s hope he can come in contention for Birmingham, but we will have to wait and see.”
James Vaughan returned for Town last weekend, making an appearance off the bench. Powell told us about his reintroduction to First Team action:
“I think he’s shown a real appetite to get fit. He’s been training really well. He came on last week, got involved and got booked - but that’s the sort of player he is! He’s got a terrific attitude and his aggression, if used in the right way, is a real lift for the team.
“I do want to be careful with him, introducing him slowly. It was good for him to get back on home soil last week and I’m sure he will be looking to start if he can on Saturday. If not, I’m sure he will be ready to change the dynamic of the game and come on to score a goal.”
Town’s nine goal top scorer Nahki Wells hasn’t found the net since the start of November, but Powell has no doubts he will start scoring again soon.
“Nahki has been getting into the positions to score; he won’t ever lose that ability. One just has to go in - and it will. He will be fine. He’s working hard and finishing well in training. His movement is good and will always cause problems.
“The good thing is we are creating those chances through various players; through the likes of Sean Scannell and Jack Robinson, who was involved in both goals last weekend. Jacob Butterfield is always in and around the box looking for that defence-splitting pass too.”
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