John Ruddy is ready to roll with the punches to clinch Championship promotion at Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City's Championship quality is not in doubt but John Ruddy knows they have to show their fighting spirit to prevail against the likes of struggling Millwall.
The Canaries' failed to match Wigan's endeavour at Carrow Road after a six-game winning run which propelled Alex Neil's side firmly into contention for automatic promotion.
Ruddy is one of the few survivors from Norwich's last successful season at this level in 2011 and the City number one feels they are building to a similar crescendo.
'It's almost a mirror image. We hung around outside the play-offs for a little bit and then kicked on towards the back of the season and never looked back,' he said. 'We have shown our footballing side but we can also mix it up physically as well and that is important in this league. We are confident we can stop teams hurting us and maintain that threat.
'Earlier in the season I think the problem we had was we would put a couple of wins together and everyone got carried away and thought we could go unbeaten for the rest of the season. That wasn't going to happen and we realised soon enough we had to pull our fingers out. We know you are not getting promoted from two wins in a row so we just need to keep picking up points.'
Ruddy believes the Championship second time around is a much tougher proposition after City slipped back in from the top tier.
'I think the squads are better, there are a lot more teams trying to play football but there is also a lot more teams who can hurt you by being direct and physical. It is a weird mix,' he said. 'We were probably caught up in the wave of League One promotion last time around. I came in at the start of the following season and everyone was still riding that crest of a wave and you sort of get caught up in that and don't think too much what is happening around you.
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'This time you come down from a higher league where everyone tries to play a similar style and you almost get taken aback a bit. All of sudden people are pumping the balls into the box and you are thinking it is like the 'Alamo', but I think we have coped with that very well.'
The 28-year-old insists Neil's squad realise how how high the stakes over the run-in.
'The aim for every player in the changing room and the club is to get back to the Premier League,' he said. 'We have to maintain the focus and the desire and go about our business the last few weeks and hopefully that is where we will be come the end of the season.'
• Former Norwich City midfielder Owain Tudur Jones has announced his retirement after falling to recover from a long term knee injury.
The 30-year-old, who made eight appearances for the Canaries in a two-year stint following his £250,000 move from Swansea in July 2009, had played only six times for Falkirk in the Scottish Championhip this season. His last outing came in a 2-1 league win over Alloa in October.