Norwich City hero Crofts hails fighting spirit

Norwich City goalscoring hero Andrew Crofts believes the squad's 'never-say-die attitude' saw them through against Sheffield United on Saturday and is providing the platform for success this season.

After a disappointing first-half display where the Blades were well on top but couldn't find the breakthrough, City turned things round in the second period, culminating in Crofts' brace bagging all three points and pushing his side up to third in the Championship table.

Such a possibility did not look likely in the first period at Bramall Lane, but Crofts revealed the team bond that has been created inspired the recovery.

'It was a really tough battle out there but it's a pleasure to play with those lads,' said Crofts, who played on the right hand side of a midfield diamond. 'We were always in the game and we showed a never-say-attitude.

'We kept going right until the end and got our reward. It was a bit scrappy in the first half as they came out with a gameplan to stop us playing and they were pretty direct. But it opened up a bit in the second half, we played some nice football and got the win.'

Crofts' goals were very similar in their execution with the former Brighton man loitering on the edge of the penalty area waiting for the second ball after Sheffield United failed to clear from two corners properly.

After Ched Evans had cancelled out his first strike, Crofts provided another controlled finish to hand his side all three points and take his own personal tally to six for the season.

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'I think the second goal gave me the most pleasure because it was quite close to the end and I was just hoping that would be the winner,' he said.

'I've always said before that goals are a bonus to my game and I like to think that I bring other things to the team but six isn't bad so far and I want to build on that.'

The fact that Crofts has now moved two goals ahead of Russell Martin in the club goalscoring stakes will undoubtedly have been mentioned on the coach ride home after the full-back had pulled level following his last-minute equaliser against Cardiff City last weekend.

'Four for a right-back is great and Russell has been on fire recently,' added Crofts. 'I was thinking 'Jesus, he is catching me up!' He is a great lad and he is getting his reward for all the hard work that he is putting in. But I've got a little bit of leeway now and we'll see what happens from here.'

Lambert described Crofts as one of the best midfielders in the Championship so far this season in his post match interview, but the Welsh international knows he has got to maintain that to keep his place with Norwich enjoying a wealth of options across the midfield when everyone is fit.

The City boss may have provided himself with a few nice selection headaches when you consider Henri Lansbury returns on loan this week and Andrew Surman is close to being available again following a knee injury.

Crofts believes that this level of competition for places is one of the main reasons City have enjoyed such a stellar first half to the season.

'There's nothing better than competition for places to keep you on your toes,' he added. 'All the lads are sticking together, even the ones that aren't always involved.

'Personally, I love getting up and down and doing my work in both boxes. With Foxy (David Fox) there he gives you that protection and a great range of passing. It's been great playing with him along with Wes (Hoolahan) and Chrissy (Chris Martin) in the hole. It's been working really well.'

If Lambert gets his way then he could be throwing another name into the mix in the shape of Elliott Bennett, who Crofts knows well from his days at Brighton.

Crofts believes the flying winger would be an ideal addition.

'I played with Benno last year and he is a great player. I don't know what's been going on and whether we are going to get him, but he is doing great for Brighton and he would definitely be a good signing. He's a good lad as well.'

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