Norwich City’s Robert Snodgrass ready for Premier League battle

Robert Snodgrass scored Norwich City's equaliser direct from a free-kick in a 1-1 draw against the S

Robert Snodgrass scored Norwich City's equaliser direct from a free-kick in a 1-1 draw against the Saints at St Mary's Stadium in November, and expects another 'ding-dong' contest. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

There is no substitute for hard graft as Norwich City seek the points that will secure their Premier League future, according to winger Robert Snodgrass.

Snodgrass and team-mate Russell Martin were yesterday named in the Scotland squad to face Wales on March 22 and Serbia on March 26 in World Cup qualifying matches, but before that international double date, both players have more immediate business to attend to at club level.

While 40 points is usually seen as the benchmark for top-flight survival, two wins from the final 10 league games could well be enough for the Canaries to remain among the elite next August, and they will be hoping to secure one of them against Southampton at Carrow Road tomorrow (3pm).

Snodgrass scored City's equaliser direct from a free-kick in a 1-1 draw against the Saints at St Mary's Stadium in November, and expects another 'ding-dong' contest.

He said: 'Every game is a battle. You don't go out there in the Premier League and get an easy game – never. I've not had it since I arrived here and from the feedback from the players, they've not had it either.

'You need to bite and scratch, do everything you possibly can as an individual to try to do better than your opponent.

'That's what it takes for 11 men on the park – to roll your sleeves up and battle. It's dogged down at the bottom of the league. Everyone is fighting for points – you see Queens Park Rangers have just picked up a vital three points and it opens things up again and they might think they've got a chance of staying up.'

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It was at Southampton that QPR picked up those three points with last week's 2-1 win, a result that makes tomorrow's visitors eager to atone.

'They'll want to put things right, first and foremost,' said Snodgrass. 'They've just been beaten by the team at the bottom of the league. They'll want to pick themselves up and go again.

'Everybody's trying to avoid relegation. It doesn't get any easier as the games go on, especially when you're looking over your shoulder to see who's catching you.'

The 25-year-old Scot draws comfort from the Canaries' home record, with 23 of their 32 points garnered in front of their own fans.

'We've done quite well against the teams round about us, and we've done really well at home,' he said. 'It's only Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool who have beaten us at home.

'We've had some real ding-dongs at home and as a player you want to be part of that, fighting for every point and it will be no different tomorrow.'

Snodgrass is convinced City are one of the fittest sides in the top flight, and takes pride in his preparation for each game.

'As a footballer you've got a job to do and it's preparing yourself for Saturday so you can be in the best mental and physical shape you can possibly be,' he said.

'You eat the right things – sometimes you're just like a machine, you need to take care of your body, especially with how physical it is. Take care of yourself on and off the park and make sure you're physically right for the high demands the Premier League sets upon you.

'As an individual, I do that. We have a great bunch of lads, honest, hard-working and a great nutrition and fitness side of things and that's why people have noticed this season that Norwich do work very, very hard. If you work harder than your opponents, you've got a better chance.'

Snodgrass recalled that City might have claimed all three points at Southampton.

'In the first half they were the better side, but in the second half there was only one team looking to try to win the game and that was us. That was away from home, so let's hope we can win the game at home,' he said.

'It was nice to get on the scoresheet that day but I'll just be happy if we get three points. That's the main aim.

'People have compared the two clubs a lot, especially with those Grant Holt and Rickie Lambert coming up through the leagues and scoring goals.

'It's Rickie Lambert's first season in the Premier League. I've played against him before and he's very clinical. He will take his chance if it comes so we have to watch him.

'They have some good players in Adam Lallana and Gaston Ramirez so they've a lot going forward but they've also got weaknesses. That's why they're near the bottom of the table.

'They will be thinking the same things about us. I'm looking forward to it, especially being defeated the way we were on Saturday, 4-0 at Manchester United. There is no better way to put it behind you than to win the game.'

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