Dublin: Slump is down to players

CHRIS LAKEY Dion Dublin is ready to ride to the rescue for Norwich City tonight - and says it's the players, not the manager, who is to blame for the current slump.


Dion Dublin is ready to ride to the rescue for Norwich City tonight - and says it's the players, not the manager, who is to blame for the current slump.

The veteran striker-cum-defender is available after serving a three-match suspension and while manager Peter Grant has injury issues to consider, it would be a major surprise if the name Dublin isn't one of the first on his team sheet for the crucial home clash against Scunthorpe United.

Grant is desperate to halt City's slide down the table - a decline which hit new lows on Saturday when City were booed off after a home defeat by Sheffield Wednesday.

But Dublin insists it's the players who are at fault, not Grant.

“It is completely unacceptable and it is down to us, down to the players,” said the 38-year-old. “The manager picks the team and picks the formation, but it's the players that go out there and try and uphold what he has told us to do. We haven't done it, at all, we should be embarrassed, we shouldn't be down there and we're the ones that should be taking the flak.

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“We want to turn things around for the manager and for the fans as well because they pay good money to come and watch us play and we haven't played. At all.

“We want to turn it around for ourselves, so we feel better in the morning after a game and we can look at the table and say, 'yes, we have got three points and we are not in a bad position'. It is so much nicer when you wake up in the morning and you have had a good game.”

In Dublin's absence City have lost at Wolves and at home to Wednesday, but he believes the spirit in the dressing room is good.

“It's a dressing room that knows that things need to change, it is a dressing room that is going to have to take responsibility for the actions that they have done in the last few games,” he said. “It's a very positive dressing room. We know what we have got to do, we know we have got to do it tomorrow. We can't wait any longer because we are in a position that is embarrassing.”

City's supporters will be keeping a keen eye on tonight's performance, but a repeat of the last two is likely to provoke more unrest - although Dublin asked for a stay of execution.

“They are free to air their views, but stick by us because I am confident in our ability that we are going to turn it around,” he said.

“I can understand the way they are, I can understand their frustrations, I can understand their actions, but performances like that are not done on purpose. I don't think we have been the luckiest team around, but again I suppose you could say you have got to earn your luck.

“Performances haven't been good enough, simple as that, and they are going to get on our backs if that's the case because they do work from Monday to Friday in order to come to a game and watch their team perform to a certain standard and our standard hasn't been high enough.

“We have to turn that around pretty sharpish, get the fans back on our side, get the fans off the manager's back and do something for the manager instead of the manager doing things for us all the time.”

Sitting on the sidelines hasn't made life any easier for Dublin.

“It's been difficult,” he said. “I have been fortunate it's only been a week for me, but very frustrated. But it is over now and I am going to forget the three games I have missed and look forward to the games, hopefully, I will be involved in.

“We have got to look forward - if we keep looking back to things like that we are all going to be very depressed in our results and the way players have been sent off and stuff. That's all done and dusted now, deal with the consequences and move forward.”

The question now is where does Grant play Dublin - in defence or attack? If Gary Doherty fails to shake of a nagging groin problem then it will be defence; if not, Grant could well be tempted to play Dublin up front, where goals have been few and far between.

And as far as Dublin is concerned if his third of the season comes off his backside, it won't bother him.

“It'd do me off the ref's backside I don't mind,” he laughed. “I just think we need to get a win. Me personally, I don't care how it comes about, I don't care how we play, we just need to have three points on the board come Tuesday evening.”