Norwich City keeper coach Dean Kiely unfazed by Manchester United test

Declan Rudd is now first choice keeper at Norwich City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Declan Rudd is now first choice keeper at Norwich City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Dean Kiely is warning Norwich City's critics to write off the Canaries at their peril ahead of a daunting Premier League festive double header against Manchester United and Tottenham.

City travel to Old Trafford this weekend in the bottom three after one league win in 11 and Norwich's goalkeeping coach knows few will give them any chance of returning with points.

'They are tough fixtures but working with the players every day at the training ground these are fantastic fixtures,' he said. 'When we were grinding it out in the Championship last year, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday on a relentless schedule this is what we wanted - to get promoted. Now its here and it is a challenge but one we have our teeth into and are really up for.

'We would like to have a few more points on the board, but every team in the same situation would probably say they warranted the same. We are not going to bleat about what might have been. We are working extremely hard, in the here and now in the best league in the world, to be successful. In a month's time, over a busy Christmas period, if we go on a little winning run the complexion changes.'

Kiely is drawing on his top flight experience as a player at West Brom and Charlton to avoid a tense survival slog.

'I don't want to be involved in great escapes,' he said. 'I was involved in one at Portsmouth when I joined in January and we won something like seven of our last 10 games and that was great but I would rather do it a different way. At Charlton we had a mantra as players, which was to get 40, which everyone talks about, with the caveat as quickly as possible. You are not looking for it in May.

'As a newly-promoted side with not the biggest budget in the world it is a challenge but I was at West Brom for eight years and every year was a challenge. To grind it out and keep your Premier League status is a fantastic achievement and that is what we are trying to do. It is a tough division for a new side but as a coach, much like a player, you want to operate at the highest level.'

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Kiely, speaking to Talksport, also praised the way Declan Rudd has grabbed his first team chance since replacing John Ruddy with two standout performances at Watford and against Everton.

'Declan has been knocking on the door and supporting John over the years. He had a year out at Preston and did very well and that was great for his progress,' said Kiely. 'Declan has got his opportunity now and credit to him. When you talk to him about Norwich, I remember in the summer saying to him I was happy with John and him, let's crack on and see what can happen. He looked me straight in the eye and said, 'Dean, I don't know if you know it or not but this is my football club. I have been here since I was eight and I just want to contribute and play for Norwich'. That is really refreshing in this day and age of Premier League football with players going here and there that you have a lad who is Norwich through and through. He has come all through the system and he is relishing his chance.'