Happy memories of my old pal Simon Grayson’s Preston
- Credit: PA
It's Preston for the lads this weekend – they're managed by a good friend of mine in Simon Grayson.
I played with Simon at Leicester. Larry's (as we used to call him) side have won only one away game this season and that's a statistic I can't see changing tomorrow, because Norwich are so strong at home.
I remember a special goal that I scored at Carrow Road against Preston back in February 2002.
It was a Friday night and it was my game comeback after being out for six weeks with a knee injury – something that didn't happen to me that often, thankfully.
I'd been out for six weeks and hadn't really trained much with the rest of the lads. However, Nigel (Worthington) asked me to play because we weren't in the best of form, having won just one of our previous six games, and he felt my presence would give everyone a bit of a lift.
It was the perfect comeback for me – we won 3-0 and I managed to last the full 90 minutes. Plus, I scored our first goal just after the hour mark with a trademark header from a brilliant Steen Nedergaard free-kick from the right-hand side. Steeno could deliver a ball to be fair to him – he would cross it with so much power all you had to do was get your forehead on to the ball and steer it home... easy!
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What a start to the season Wes Hoolahan, inset, has had. I think it's fair to say that he has to be the best attacking player in the league with his creativity, vision and a great eye for a pass.
It seems Wes is getting better with age and looks like he can carry on for a good few years to come.
One thing that Wes has never really relied on is his pace as it's fair to say he wasn't blessed with blistering speed, so it's not as if he's going to lose a yard or two, which would be enough to finish some players.
His goal last week was sublime, from Alex Pritchard's inch-perfect pass to the little Irishman's composure in front of goal.
His balance, awareness and quickness of feet were exceptional and the finish was just so cool in front of the Barclay faithful. It's as if he's come back from the Euros an even better player.
I bet Chris Martin enjoyed his equalising goal the other night.
There's no better feeling than scoring a goal against a former club, especially one that's given you a free transfer.
I've always liked Chris and I think he's a great example to any young player that gets released from a club that it's not the end of the world, even though it must feel like that at the time.
He had his off-field problems but he's knuckled down, worked hard and scored plenty of goals for Derby in the last few seasons.
I'm shocked Derby allowed him to go out on loan, especially to another Championship club. In his last three seasons he's scored 60 goals in all competitions for the Rams and if you look at their dismal goals for column it's absolutely shocking – they've not scored in eight of their 13 league games making them the lowest scores in the division with just seven – an awful record that I am certain Chris could have done something about.
It's now 10 games and 30 years since Norwich last tasted victory at Craven Cottage – and they probably won't have a better chance of breaking that hoodoo than the one they had on Tuesday.
Having completely dominated the first 45 minutes and gone in at the break two goals up thanks to two very coolly taken penalties from Graham Dorrans, a sloppy second-half display by Alex Neil's men and the same old lapses of concentration defensively let Fulham back into a game when they really should have been dead and buried well before former Canaries man Chris Martin equalised in the 66th minute.
Whatever anyone says, it's two points dropped, even though many people would have taken a point before the game. Fulham had lost four out of their last five home games.
Clearly the lads didn't go there purposely to play with less intensity than they did in the first half and there's no way Neil would have sent them out there to defend the whole of the second half. Why would he after a brilliant first-half performance? I don't think the lads went out there with the attitude that the game was won – they just let their level of performance drop and that was enough to open the door slightly.
I remember when Nigel Worthington was our manager. He used to take a lot of stick from fans for sitting back on a lead, but to be fair to him he never once instructed us to go back out there and be more defensive and protect what we had.
We as players had to take more responsibilities and keep doing the things that had got us into a strong position to win the game in the first place.