Pack a punch - Canary boss

CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant has called on his Norwich City players to pack a Boxing Day punch this afternoon as the Canaries attempt to get their festive programme up and running with a win against bottom club Southend.

CHRIS LAKEY

Peter Grant has called on his Norwich City players to pack a Boxing Day punch this afternoon as the Canaries attempt to get their festive programme up and running with a win against bottom club Southend.

The City boss was furious after Saturday's 2-2 draw at Wolves, when his side were denied a vital three-point haul deep into injury time, and says they must shed the tag of easy touch if they are to harbour serious thoughts of promotion.

The Canaries have lost vital points this season by conceding late, late goals and Grant is wary of his team building up a reputation.


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“You have to be ruthless at periods in the game and we just weren't that in that final period when we were well in control,” he complained.

“We were in a very, very strong position then, no danger whatsoever, and we end up losing a goal. I don't want that typical Norwich label with my teams, that we are a soft touch.”

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It's a case of one down, three to go over the holiday period for City, but Grant is demanding immediate results before the play-offs become an unrealistic target.

“We have to put a run together,” he said. “It's not a question of can we, we have to, it's as simple as that. There are no waiting places in football.

“We have got to start winning games of football. Now, not next week, or two weeks or three weeks down the lines. We have to start doing it now if we are going to be in there challenging.

“Thankfully with the way results have gone everybody is still in touching distance but we can t let that get much bigger. Championships are not won at Christmas, but they can have a big say in what happens. We have to be much more consistent and hopefully today can be the start of that - but we have got to start winning, that is the most important thing.”

Grant comes up against a team he knows well, and one player in particular - Freddy Eastwood.

“When I was at West Ham I used to go and see them because they were a local team,” he said. “Some of the performances have been outstanding, they just couldn't get the results, but their general play was excellent and they always have a chance because they have a scorer and that's a big thing - if you create chances and you have somebody to take them.

“He has been outstanding for them. I think they have proved in the big games how good a side they are. They probably play better against sides that can actually play and have come out to play against them. We know it is going to be a very difficult game, no doubt.”

Grant will have assessed the bumps and knocks from Saturday's trip on Christmas Eve, but will be hoping 37-year-old Dion Dublin comes through unscathed to once again partner two-goal Robert Earnshaw today.

“The way we rest him is important,” said Grant. “He has been in the game long enough - I would trust his judgement on that. I am not going to flog a dead horse.

“But he is such an effect on team, I don't mean just his general performance, his organisation, he is vociferous to the boys when he is on the pitch and that is very important. You just shout to him and tell him what you want from the rest of the team and he knows what you are talking about so that's important to me.

“I'd be disappointed if he couldn't play come Tuesday because he is a big, big player for us - whether he starts or not I will mull over in the next couple of days.”

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