Pain draws deep for Etuhu

CHRIS LAKEY Dickson Etuhu says the midweek cave-in at Southend upset him more than missing out on a place in the Premiership.


Dickson Etuhu says the midweek cave-in at Southend upset him more than missing out on a place in the Premiership.

Etuhu was a sub for the Preston team which lost 1-0 to West Ham in last year's Championship play-off final at the Millennium Stadium.

But Tuesday's 3-3 draw - a game City were leading 3-1 at one stage - hit him harder.

“It actually upset me more than when I lost the play-off final with Preston, I was so upset on Tuesday,” said Etuhu. “But it is a learning point for us.

“We are not happy, it felt like a loss for us and we are not going to let that happen again. If we are winning 3-1 we just shouldn't let them back in the game. It has happened now, forget about it. I feel a lot better now than I did Tuesday night and I'm looking forward to Saturday.”

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By the time City step out against Crystal Palace today, the 24-year-old should be back to 100pc fitness after a tangle with a chest infection.

“I have still got stuff on my chest and on Tuesday I still felt quite weak, but obviously it was an important game for us and I wanted to take part in that,” he said. “I felt a lot better than I did on Saturday - last 20-25 minutes I felt tired but I just kept going.”

The visit of Crystal Palace gives Etuhu, who scored City's third at Roots Hall with his opening league goal of the campaign, the chance to home in on a wager he has with manager Nigel Worthington.

“The manager always says I should get more goals so we have a little thing going that I can get 10 - I believe I can and that's what I am going to do,” said Etuhu. “It's a good thing, good for me if I get 10 goals and good for the club and it would be nice to get the goals.”

Worthington added: “He has got the energy he has got the strength. He has proved that he can score goals and he will get every encouragement to do that. I have a few little personal deals - we will keep them personal.”

Worthington clearly believes Etuhu, who should be making his 25th start this afternoon after his winter move from Preston, has goals in him, although the player admits that's not become his priority until recently.

“The manager keeps telling me I can get goals and I know I can get goals, but at the time it was not my number one priority,” he said. “It was more important me playing football and playing well than actually scoring, but obviously now that my confidence is actually growing I think I should get a few more goals.”

Etuhu credits City's wide men, Darren Huckerby and Lee Croft - supplier of his midweek goal - with helping him on the scoresheet, but says a lot of it is pure luck.

“Croft is very good at crossing the ball and I just gambled and was lucky,” he said. “You can't score if you are not in the box, but it's all to do with luck as well, arriving at the right time and obviously getting the ball in the box from the wide men, Hucks and Crofty. If they don't do that I'm just running into the box for no reason.”

That City didn't follow his goal by closing out the match still irks, but Etuhu says a vital lesson has been learned.

“That if you are 3-1 up you have to get control the game and keep the other team away from your goal and I don't think as a team we did that,” he said. “Credit to them, they didn't give up, they kept going, their fans kept behind them and gave them that extra urge and they did well to get back into it.

“On the day on thought we were the better team for most of the game - everybody can see that, it was like men versus boys but then obviously they got into it.”