Norwich City goalkeeper Mark Bunn prepared for the big test that lies ahead
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Mark Bunn hopes his Norwich City form will see him keep the gloves in Chris Hughton's starting XI – even when John Ruddy is fit enough to return to action.
Bunn's summer arrival as back-up to the Canaries' England goalkeeper looked an inspired piece of business from the moment Ruddy tore a thigh muscle in the draw at Everton in November.
The City number one is due to be back in full training before Norwich's trip to Wigan on March 30, after which Ruddy will be hoping to get down to action with a view to not only helping out his club but also performing for his country.
Roy Hodgson's England host a friendly with the Republic of Ireland on March 29, before travelling to Rio for a return friendly with Brazil on June 2.
But standing in his way is a man on form, who has now made more Premier League appearances than Ruddy this season and is just one short of his clean sheet total.
'Every goalkeeper wants to play,' said Bunn. 'I didn't expect to come into the team straight away, but unfortunately for John he's been out with a long injury and I've got to be on top of my game to try to keep him out of the team.
'I think John will be fit in a couple of weeks, so I will just keep working hard and hopefully do my best out there on a matchday and hopefully retain my place.
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'He looks fine. He is still been with the physios so he hasn't actually taken a session with us yet, but I think in the next couple of weeks he should be training with us and then it's down to the manager to pick who is playing. All I can do is keep doing what I am doing.
'I love playing – it's been a while since I've played quite a few games. I'm enjoying it at the moment and I'll just try and keep my place in the team.'
While some of the Canaries' attacking short comings have annoyed a portion of the City support, few can argue with the form of 28-year-old Bunn.
And judging by his excellent save to deny a chip from Southampton's Gaston Ramirez during Saturday's goalless draw, he can do no wrong at the moment.
'It was a bit of a bad decision to come out,' he joked.
'But at least I stood up to save it and that was the main thing – to keep it out of the net.
'I've been delighted with my form really. It was a bit disappointing letting in four at Manchester United but against Southampton I was happy with the couple of saves that I made and it is always pleasing to keep a clean sheet.
'Yes, I think we should be worried (about the lack of goals). We struggled against Southampton to score and it has been disappointing that we have not been scoring, but hopefully we just keep working hard on the training pitch and that will come in future games.'
And those future games are big ones as Norwich City look to put to bed any unease over which division they will ply their trade in next season, with Sunday's trip to Sunderland followed by that visit to Wigan after the international break.
'Southampton was a massive game – you just can't afford to lose against the teams around you,' added Bunn. 'Now we look to Sunderland and that is a massive game next, and hopefully we can get a win against them and then Wigan.
'I think Sunderland next week, that is a winnable game so hopefully we can look forward to that and get the three points.
'They are games against teams around us, so our main aim is not to lose those games, try to take a point away from home and win our home games. If we do that then we will be all right.'
'We don't see ourselves as safe. I think we need a couple more wins and then I think we will be OK. We have got some crucial games coming up.'