Croft puts the effort in

Norwich midfielder Lee Croft wants to make life uncomfortable for City boss Glenn Roeder after grabbing a rare chance to impress at Crystal Palace.

Norwich midfielder Lee Croft wants to make life uncomfortable for City boss Glenn Roeder after grabbing a rare chance to impress at Crystal Palace.

Croft made his first start for a month in the New Year's Day Championship draw at Selhurst Park in a wide right role following the departure of on loan Chelsea starlet Jimmy Smith.

Roeder has confirmed he wants to extend Smith's initial loan deal but admitted Croft had done his own chances no harm with an energetic display before making way for Darren Huckerby.

“I thought he took it with both hands,” said Roeder. “He has been very patient and he has been very effective coming on in the second period for half an hour most games. He often pops in to see me just to remind me how much he wants to start a game. He's a super lad to work with and I said, 'you have just got to be patient and an opportunity will come and make sure that when it does, Lee, you play so well that it makes it very difficult for me to take the shirt off you.' He has given me a nice problem - certainly the sort of problems I want more of anyway.”

Croft admitted his bit part role in Roeder's revival had been hard to take.

“It is frustrating,” said the former Man City trainee. “You want to play as many games as you can. The gaffer goes into matches with the intention of winning them and if he wants to set up with one wide player that is up to him. You have to respect his decision but when you do come in off the bench you have to have an input. Maybe there is an extra determination when you do get a start. I spoke to the gaffer and he has been honest with me and told me it's about putting in performances.”

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The 22-year-old insisted a hard fought draw at Crystal Palace - City's third consecutive 1-1 over the festive period - is further evidence the club is on an upward curve.

“The fans want the same as us and that's to be winning games, not picking up draws,” he said. “But under the circumstances we've gone behind against Wolves, not played well, and dug out a point. We've come away from Palace feeling maybe we should have won the game. In the past would we have come to these type of places, defended as well as we did, and got a point? I think going seven games unbeaten means we are confident and enjoying ourselves rather than not going out there tense. We're able to express ourselves and that's all you can do.”

Croft believes there is more to come from him and his team mates over the second half of the campaign after another encouraging display at Selhurst Park.

“I was pleased to get a start and have an input into the game which is what you always want as a winger,” he said. “It's just about working on my end product - that is the same for the other players. We we're happy with a point but we're always striving for a win. I think it was a good point and a good performance. Having taken the lead and not holding onto it you are always going to be a bit disappointed, but I think it was a good showing after playing a lot of games in a short period.”