Roberts: Norwich City have look of champions
Paddy DavittNorwich City's former title-winner Iwan Roberts believes Paul Lambert's men will prove to be the real deal.Roberts is confident history can repeat itself this season after helping spearhead the club's previous championship success under Nigel Worthington in 2004.Paddy Davitt
Norwich City's former title-winner Iwan Roberts believes Paul Lambert's men will prove to be the real deal.
Roberts is confident history can repeat itself this season after helping spearhead the club's previous championship success under Nigel Worthington in 2004.
The popular Welshman insists City's latest hard fought League One success against Hartlepool at the weekend bore the hallmarks of a promotion-winning outfit.
"By all accounts they didn't play well on Saturday but you don't win titles by playing good football all the time," he said. "There's going to be certain games when either you aren't playing at your best or things might not go your way, but it's about grinding the wins out and getting those all important three points between now and the end of the season.
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"Of course Norwich fans want to see them play attractive football, but at this stage it's almost more important to think about the result than the performance.
"The squad is massively confident after picking up seven or eight wins on the spin. I genuinely think Norwich are a stronger side than Leeds who also at the moment have the distraction of the FA Cup."
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Roberts insists City can cope with being frontrunners.
"I remember we beat Ipswich around Christmas and never really looked back from then on," he said. "Our mindset was we didn't expect to drop points and you almost get that invincible feeling. I don't think we really felt under any pressure - certainly it's not the same as being in a team at the bottom fighting relegation.
"If anything it's a pressure that you enjoy. Nigel used to say to us, 'never look behind you, just keep focusing on what is in front. If you get 80 or 90 points you won't be too far away.'
"We did look at the results of other teams but we knew we had a good side with individuals who could go out and win us a game. We just knew we weren't going to drop many points and the likes of West Brom who were chasing were very inconsistent. I look at this current squad and they seem so powerful."
The City Hall of Famer also feels coping without suspended top scorer Grant Holt has sent a clear message to the Canaries' promotion rivals.
"The most important thing for me is they have goals right through the team," said Roberts. "They've got the front three who have had a superb season but look at the likes of Doc (Gary Doherty) as well chipping in. Bringing him into that back four again with his experience and the likes of Adam Drury alongside - you're talking about players who know what it's all about at the top level.
"You need a bit of luck with injuries and suspensions and I know Grant has been missing for a few games but they are still winning. That will instil even more belief."
Roberts is also adamant Norwich's pending league match-ups against Leeds and Charlton will not dictate the outcome of the race for automatic promotion: "I don't think you can over emphasize those games any more than taking points off the likes of Brighton or Gillingham," he said.
"Whether it's the title or going up in second, the massive thing for me is they do go up."