Nightmare opening scuppers Canaries

CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City's season lurched from bad to worse last night as they found themselves in a battle to keep their heads above water at the bottom of the Championship.


Norwich City's season lurched from bad to worse last night as they found themselves in a battle to keep their heads above water at the bottom of the Championship.

A 2-1 defeat at Burnley, coupled with QPR's goalless draw up the road at Preston means managerless City are level pegging with the London club, with only goal difference separating them from the ignominy of occupying bottom place in the table.

Chris Brown's first senior goal for City was little consolation after a match which was lost within three minutes of the opening whistle, when Burnley managed to score twice - a feat which currently takes Norwich around 11 hours to achieve.

It almost certainly spelt the end of Jim Duffy's Carrow Road career after the Scot presided over his second defeat in three days as caretaker manager.

Duffy is likely to be in charge for the trip to West Brom on Saturday, but insists that on last night's evidence, whoever comes in has foundations to build on.

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“There is light there, but we know we can't just keep saying that,” said Duffy. “We know we have got to turn the corner and turn it quickly.

“My position is the same as it was before the match - I am in charge of the team until someone tells me differently. I am sure the directors will be getting advice from all quarters in who they believe should be the man in charge of Norwich.

“Whoever gets it, whether it is me or anybody else, I think they have a great bunch of players there. They are not rolling over, they are rolling up their sleeves.

“A lot of teams here, even some Norwich teams in the past, at 2-0 down inside four minutes might have capitulated, but they didn't. But in the situation we are in just now it tells you there is a bit of backbone to that team.

“If we get Jimmy Smith back, Jamie Cureton back a little bit fitter, with John Hartson, I think we might start to get things right.”

Duffy insists City deserved a point from their trip into Lancashire, with Cureton only denied late on by a tremendous stop by Gabor Kiraly in the Burnley goal.

“We should have got a point,” he said. “We had a great chance with Jamie but it was a great save by Kiraly. But the players showed a tremendous desire to try and get something from the match. They didn't give in and that is something we have no intention of doing.

“It is very frustrating, not just for me but more importantly for the players because you get goals, you get results and the confidence comes seeping back as quickly as it seeps away.”

Duffy spoke to referee Mike Jones after the game after the penalty decision which gave Burnley their second goal - and claimed Darren Huckerby should have been awarded a spot kick after a challenge just before half-time.

“It doesn't help matters much when the referee gives a penalty,” said Duffy. “The player didn't go to ground, didn't make a rash challenge, he got his body in front, he comes away with the ball completely under control. I don't even think the Burnley players asked for a penalty, I don't think there was a person in the ground thought it was a penalty.

“Those are decisions that baffle you as a manager and frustrate players and for 10, 15 minutes after that we were flat, maybe feeling a little bit sorry for ourselves.

“We managed to grind ourselves back in there and right before half-time Darren Huckerby was through: the boy slides in, he does go to ground, doesn't win the ball, he does connect with Darren Huckerby's ankle - I have seen it on the video - and he doesn't give a penalty.

“We are not saying that is everything to do with the result, but I think it can have a huge bearing on it.”