Brown predicts a tough afternoon

Norwich City legend Ken Brown predicts a tough afternoon in store when the patched-up Canaries bid to kickstart their Championship playoff push at Plymouth this weekend.

Norwich City legend Ken Brown predicts a tough afternoon in store when the patched-up Canaries bid to kickstart their Championship playoff push at Plymouth this weekend.

Brown is well placed to offer an informed opinion having managed both clubs in a ten year spell during the 1980s. The Carrow Road Hall of Fame inductee was an interested spectator when Nigel Worthington's men triumphed 2-0 back in September.

The man who guided Norwich to League Cup success in 1985 and promotion from English football's second tier the following year would happily settle for a repeat performance from Worthington's injury-ravaged squad this Saturday.

“Plymouth just seem to have picked up of late and it has always been a difficult to place to go,” he said. “I think Norwich will do well to get a point with all the current injury problems. For me the two clubs share a lot in common.

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“In my time at Plymouth there was a huge amount of potential and they always had a regular home support. We tried to play on the fact it was the only professional club in the area and actively looked to attract fans from further afield, into Cornwall and those sort of areas.

“I don't really follow Plymouth's fortunes too closely these days, apart from the game earlier in the season I watched them a few seasons ago at Ipswich, but I enjoyed my time there. It was a great area and my brother was living down in Cornwall too.

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“Unfortunately I wasn't given long enough to try and build something. There wasn't any money available and it was a big job. At Norwich we were able to do things gradually over a much longer period.”

Brown spent seven years in the Carrow Road hotseat and sees plenty of parallels with the difficult task faced by the current incumbent in attempting to plot an instant Premiership return.

“When we won the Milk Cup and went down that season we managed to persuade all the players to stay and have a proper crack at it,” he said. “Luckily we came straight back up but to do that in the modern game is so difficult. I don't really know Nigel as a person although he has proved what a good manager he is.

“Back then you could pick up players no one had ever heard of, school them for a season or two and sell them on for very, very big profits. The club always had to be on the lookout for bargains and I don't see too many around in the game any longer. Managers aren't given the time, either, because the pressure to produce is always there. The only club I think that bucks the trend is Crewe and Dario Gradi.”

Worthington was forced to blood Academy youngsters Rossi Jarvis, Michael Spillane and Andrew Cave-Brown in Saturday's FA Cup defeat to West Ham.

Brown championed the fast tracking of Norwich's 1983 FA youth cup winning side which produced the likes of Dale Gordon, Jeremy Goss and Louie Donowa, but the former Canaries chief admits putting your faith in raw talent is a two-way street.

“I was a big believer in that and the Norwich fans love to see a homegrown player coming through,” he said. “You just have to be careful and dip them in and out because it's hard to throw Academy lads in against proven Premiership players. I was very impressed with Jason Shackell last season, but he has had his fair share of injuries since them.”

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