Players not bothered by speculation

CHRIS LAKEY Jason Shackell says Norwich City players are ignoring speculation over the identity of the new manager and concentrating on making a fresh start to the season.


Jason Shackell says Norwich City players are ignoring speculation over the identity of the new manager and concentrating on making a fresh start to the season.

“I like to stay away from all that and I know all the rest of the boys do as well,” said the Canaries skipper. “Whoever takes charge it's a good job to get and we look forward to working with whoever it may be.

“Now and again there is a bit of banter flying about, but you stay away from it. At the moment we have more worries on the pitch and we have to make sure we get that right first. Whoever comes in, whether it be Jim or anyone else, we need to make sure we get some results for them.

“From our point of view Jim had a chat with us a few days ago and said we have to work hard, we have to get results for ourselves and Jim obviously wants to do well while he is charge. We just do what we are told and until we hear otherwise we are quite happy to play under Jim.

“He hasn't really changed much to be honest; he has tinkered a few bits here and there, he is going to have a few things he wants to do differently, but on the whole it's pretty similar. Again, he is like the gaffer - he wants the best for us and the boys have reacted well to that and we are looking forward to Saturday.”

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City face Bristol City tomorrow on the back of five winless games and 555 minutes without a goal, but Shackell - made skipper by the sacked Peter Grant - says it's time to start again.

“We are disappointed with the last gaffer going, but that is the way we have got to look at it now,” he said. “There has been a bit of change, it has made us think even more that we have got to look at ourselves, we are not performing well enough. With the gaffer going we have got to look at ourselves and say we are not performing well enough so we have to take it as a fresh start.

“It's been a two-week break - we wanted a game as soon as possible, but it might have done us good. We will get together and we have got to be ready for a big push.

“All the boys have got on very well here, we just need to make sure we take that off-the-pitch attitude on to the pitch, make sure we stick together and hopefully, with a little bit of luck, we can get a run together.”

Shackell believes City go into the match in good spirits, despite the poor results and last week's departure of the manager.

“It has been good,” he said. “The boys have been working hard. We know we have got a lot to work on the way we are playing at the moment, so we have been working hard and keeping our heads down.

“It has been hard, like everybody knows there has been a lot going on lately. It's been a long time for us, we didn't play well in our last game and we are looking to rectify that. It is another important game for us. Bristol have been doing really well, they are a good team so it is going to be tough, but we are at home and we have to go out with a positive attitude and look to win the game.”

City will be looking to loan signing John Hartson for goals - although Shackell admitted he wasn't sure how City would celebrate if they break their scoring drought.

“I think we will all be in shock,” he said. “It will just be nice to get a goal, just as quickly as possible. We need to make sure we defend properly, see if we can get an early goal and go on from there.

“It is hard because our strikers work their socks off, they are not quite getting the luck or the breaks at the moment. We're not helping them with the supply, but John is another great addition to the squad. Hopefully he will bring some much-needed firepower and hopefully he can score some goals.”