Worthy: Let’s not trip up

CHRIS WISE Nigel Worthington wants to reward Norwich City's most loyal fans by extending a proud away record at Plymouth this afternoon.

CHRIS WISE

Nigel Worthington wants to reward Norwich City's most loyal fans by extending a proud away record at Plymouth this afternoon.

The Canaries travel to Home Park looking for a fourth straight win on the road, something they have not achieved for nearly 10 years.

Victory would take City to within touching distance of an all-time club record, and would also keep the pressure on the sides above them in an increasingly tight battle for a place in the end of season play-offs.

But, perhaps more importantly than that, it would make a 720-mile round trip well worth while for a hardy band of die-hards, some of whom departed for the south west at 3am this morning - and Worthington hopes his players will be inspired by that levl of dedication as they attempt to keep up the recent good work on their travels.

"The journey to Plymouth is no problem for us because we are flying down - but it will certainly be a factor for the supporters," he said.

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"The ones who will be going down there are the real die-hards. They are the ones who are always giving up their time, money and everything else to travel all over the country to watch the team. They are the sort of people you want to reward.

"They are facing a very long journey on a coach and it's important that we go and perform and get a good result for them."

The Canaries are actually on a two-game losing streak going into their first visit to Plymouth for nearly 38 years, having lost successive Carrow Road encounters against Preston and West Ham.

But away from home it has been a very different story, with the side who not so long ago went 22 games without tasting victory on the road suddenly finding some form to see off Crewe (2-1), Sheffield United (3-1) and Leicester (1-0).

That's the most impressive sequence since the closing stages of the triumphant 2003-4 season, when City also won three on the trot - and if they could win again this afternoon it would be their best away run since the start of the 1996-97 season when Mike Walker's team reeled off four straight wins. The all-time record of five victories was set eight years earlier, when Dave Stringer's outfit made a flying start to the campaign to storm to the top of the old Division One.

Worthington is more interested in points than records - but he would dearly love to make the long journey back to Norfolk with another victory in the bag

"It's nice to win games, whether it is at home or away," he said. "I have always said your home form is of prime importance and whatever you pick up on the road is always a plus. But if we can maintain our recent record I will be very pleased.

"We have had some good results away from home recently and we have got to keep it going. It's not three on and one off. We have got to be relentless in what we are trying to achieve.

"We are three points outside the play-offs and are in a nice position as we speak. But we have got to keep our heads down and stay focused on the job. We have got to believe in it - and make it happen."

Worthington is confident his under-strength side will shrug of the double disappointment of dropping three points to play-off rivals Preston and bowing out the FA Cup at the third round stage for the eighth time in nine years after a brave battle against Premiership opposition.

"We are disappointed that we got beaten against Preston but the players were dead on their feet in that one," he said. "Preston had played one less game over the holiday period and I think that showed on the day. They were much brighter and better than ourselves. It is a case of getting rid of that one and moving on.

"It's the same with the West Ham game. I thought the overall performance was very good. They paid us a lot of respect by putting out a very strong team and on another day we could easily have taken them back to Upton Park for a replay."

City face a Plymouth side who have made steady progress since Tony Pulis took charge in September. The Pilgrims are still just three points clear of the relegation zone, but they have made life tough for a number of promotion-chasing clubs in recent months - and Worthington is expecting another testing encounter this afternoon.

"I have been to Plymouth with different teams in the past and it is a very tough place to go," he said. "You have got to go there with a strong mental attitude and be ready for a tough game. And that's exactly what we will be doing."