John Ruddy ready for tough road ahead at Norwich City

John Ruddy has twice won promotion from the Championship with Norwich City. Picture by Paul Chestert

John Ruddy has twice won promotion from the Championship with Norwich City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

John Ruddy is under no illusions how tough a hat-trick of Championship promotions is going to be at Norwich City.

City have lost seven out of the last nine league games and head to Reading on Boxing Day four points out of the play-off spots. Ruddy was a key part of Norwich teams who went up in 2011 and 2015 but with Newcastle United and Brighton pulling clear at the top and the likes of Huddersfield, Leeds and Aston Villa all on the rise it just keeps getting harder.

'Yes, I think it is tougher this time around as a league,' said the City number one, speaking prior to the Terriers' 2-1 Carrow Road win. 'But again what holds true is on the day any team can beat any other team and it seems no matter how well you do you don't stretch away from anybody and, equally, however bad you never seem to be cut adrift. You are always in with a shout if you are picking up points. I remember around this time of the year when Neil Adams was still in charge and we had gone through a rough patch and it was about building momentum going into the back-end of the season.

'We have all been in this situation before when you go through a bad period. Maybe this one has been a little bit elongated, no-one enjoys being in it but it is about breaking it down and highlighting what is wrong and what we can improve.'

Ruddy insists City's winning surge earlier this season, which earned Alex Neil September's manager-of-the-month prize, proves they can handle the Championship cut and thrust.

'I don't think it is a case we had to adjust from playing in the Premier League because we won seven out of eight,' he said. 'Perhaps it is the volume of games and the Saturday, Tuesday flow which does take some getting used to. It does take a toll. We are all professionals. We have been in the game a long time and the minimum standard is to run around and work hard and if we do that to a man we will pick up more results. The worst thing you want as a professional is for someone to question your work-rate.'

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