Grant talks up top-flight chances
CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City boss Peter Grant is preparing for FA Cup glory tonight - but yearning for an unlikely promotion play-off spot for the Canaries. City dropped a place to 18th in the table at the weekend after their game at Luton was postponed, but Grant insists the Premiership is a reality, not just an ambition.
Norwich City boss Peter Grant is preparing for FA Cup glory tonight - but yearning for an unlikely promotion play-off spot for the Canaries.
City dropped a place to 18th in the table at the weekend after their game at Luton was postponed, but Grant insists the Premiership is a reality, not just an ambition.
“The top three or four have put a consistent run together, that's what they have done,” said Grant, on the eve of the FA Cup fourth round replay against Blackpool. “Whether you are a million miles from catching Derby it doesn't matter, they all have to play each other and they have still to be fighting because they all want that top two place.
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“There is still a nervousness to come and that could play a big part. Who is going to be strong enough? Who is going to be consistent enough in this period?
“When I came in I said you are only champions come May. You are not that at Christmas, you are not that at Easter. That is the only time you are judged for definite, May time, and May is a long way off.
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“What we have to do between now and then is get much more consistency and win many more games. But it is still in our hands, and as long as it is still in our hands we have a chance, no doubt of that.”
The gap between City and the final play-off spot, currently held by Cardiff, is 16 points - and they have just 16 games to play catch-up.
But Grant believes the dog-eat-dog scrap above the Canaries between now and May could work in their favour.
“Yes, you have to win a big percentage of your games and we haven't done that, that consistency has not been there,” he said. “I would love to go on a run of games. Even if you go on a five/six-game unbeaten run, anything can happen in this division because they have all still got to play each other.
“We still have to play some of them, but a lot have to play each other which is more important. It means we can look after ourselves and know what we have got to do.
“As long as we know what we can do and win our games it is still in our hands. It is once it goes out of your hands and you are hoping for everybody else.
“The way the league goes, because there are so many swings all the time, people have lost games you don't expect them to lose, people have won games you don't expect them to win. That has probably summed up the Championship this year.”
The priority today is Blackpool, but Grant was quick to point out where the FA Cup lies in his order of preference.
“Apart from winning the Championship, second,” he said. “You want to win them all. I am not a believer in prioritising anything. The biggest thing here is to get promotion to the Premier League, there is no doubt about that.
“If you said to me if we could win the cups I'd do that as well. I want to win every game we play in and I never change from that.
“Each game is as important as the next and for us we are still involved in the FA Cup and the priority is tomorrow evening and getting through to the next round.”
Should City beat Blackpool tonight it's a glamour fifth round tie at Premiership champions Chelsea on Saturday - although Grant says that subject hasn't arisen yet.
“I hope not - at the end of the day that is like saying we could play Liverpool in two or three years time,” he said. “This game is the most important - everybody else can talk about it if they want, but it doesn't interest me because it could be a million miles away.
“We will deal with that once the final whistle has gone and we are hopefully in the next round. I wouldn't care if it was Tamworth in the next round, it would still be the same focus.”