Drury welcomes competition for place

CHRIS LAKEY Canaries skipper Adam Drury has welcomed the competition that could see him lose his place in the Norwich City starting line-up for tomorrow's home FA Cup replay against Blackpool.


Canaries skipper Adam Drury has welcomed the competition that could see him lose his place in the Norwich City starting line-up for tomorrow's home FA Cup replay against Blackpool.

Drury served a one-game suspension while new boy Simon Lappin put in an impressive performance in the 2-1 win over Leeds last weekend to put the left-back position in doubt.

“The boys did well against Leeds and it's up to the gaffer to see what team he picks,” said Drury.

“We need that competition all over the squad really. We haven't had that for a while - the squad has been very small and in this league you need a decent squad to challenge for anything because if you get any injuries or suspensions you have got to have players who can come in and do a job and I thought Simon did very well.

“It makes a massive difference, you ask any player. If you know there is someone to take your place if you are suspended or injured or not playing well, then with that in your head you go out and not necessarily play better but it is at the back of your mind.

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“And you don't need it just for competition for places, you need it in general. You don't want to be thinking if players are injured or out of form there is no one who can come in and the team is not going to do as well, so it is great for the side.”

Manager Peter Grant brought Lappin and Mark Fotheringham in on the last day of the January transfer window to help the balance of his squad - and ensure there were fewer “emergency cover” jobs for the likes of Andy Hughes, who has been shifted around midfield and defence covering gaps this season.

“Sometimes it means you have to shift the side about, which is not great, you want to try and keep a settled side so players get to know how to play with each other,” said Drury. “I think it gives us the added benefit as well of Hucks (Darren Huckerby) playing up front because I think he makes a massive difference up front.”

It was Huckerby who scored the winner against Leeds and Huckerby who Drury has to cover when both play on the left flank. The option is there for Grant to move Lappin to left midfield, reinstate Drury and play Huckerby alongside striker Chris Brown.

Huckerby is the man in form, and with Robert Earnshaw absent through injury, the man who carries most responsibility for scoring. And Drury believes he's the man for the job.

“People forget that Hucks, when he first came here, played up front, the year we went up,” he said. “He causes teams a massive problem. He still pulls out to the left, but people don't know how to mark him. You've seen in the last two home games when he has played up front the problems that he has caused and he is very effective there.

“If he is playing left wing he is picking the ball up on the halfway line or perhaps a little bit deeper and he has to beat three or four players before he is anywhere near their box, whereas now he is basically through on goal or he is on the last man every time he gets it and any defender will tell you once you have pace against you no one likes it.

“He has got the pace and any defender, perhaps they will give themselves a few more yards or you stand off him a little bit more because you are worried about being done for pace, and he'll perhaps pass it earlier. People worry about him so much that they might put two in him and they might give other people a chance to get on the ball and it makes a massive difference for us.”

Huckerby's form has certainly increased the goal chances tally and helped City to a much-needed home win over Leeds, after the disappointment of losing against Wolves four days earlier.

“It was massive,” said Drury. “I think it's the biggest result of the season so far, easily. It was a massive game for us, but we are not out of trouble yet, we have to keep getting results and putting wins together.”