City striker Chris Brown today vowed to put his battered bonce back on the line for the boss as the Canaries geared up for their first Championship home game of the season against Southampton this Saturday.
Brown, 22, has undoubtedly provided some of the biggest plus points of the summer thus far – his performances thoroughly meriting his starting place ahead of Czech new-boy David Strihavka.
And the one-time Sunderland starlet has also proved he has the heart for the contest ahead after having his nose re-arranged three times in the last fortnight – and only once be design as the surgeons re-set his broken nose ahead of last Saturday's opener at Deepdale.
?I think I just stick my head in the wrong place,? said Brown, with a welcome ability to gently laugh at himself.
?I think nobody can miss with my nose being that big, but it getting a bit embarrassing at the minute – I think it is now three games in a row now. It could be bit of a record.?
At least he wasn't the only one sporting the odd, battle scar on Tuesday night as an inadvertant arm caught one of the visiting Barnet defenders flush in the face.
?It wasn't intentional or anything like that on Tuesday – it was just one of those things. I would never go out to hurt anybody like that in that way,? said Brown, with City boss Peter Grant admitting afterwards that he was whipped off for his own protection as tempers started to flare.
?He didn't look too happy,? admitted Brown. Was he scared of a centre-half's traditional retribution? ?Scared? No – hard as nails me…!?
It all kicked-off nose-wise courtesy of the Vitesse Arnhem keeper, who smashed into Brown as he jumped for a typically brave header on the penalty spot.
?After the Vitesse game I went in to the hospital on the Tuesday to have it re-set, but then someone kicked us in the face against Preston – and I think it just moved it a little bit. I think it's just going to be permanently broken now – I've just got to get on with it.?
How about a rubber nose? That way any future wayward elbow just bounces off. ?Aye possibly – a joke shop one with a fake tache…!?
Overall and Brown was willing to give Norwich's start to the new campaign a good, seven out of ten. Individually, most commentators would have his own efforts up nearer the eight mark.
It was, after all, a towering center-forward's header that sparked Norwich's mini-revival in the pre-season frinedly against West Ham United. He also worked tirelessly for the cause at Deepdale last weekend with diddly-squat by way of service to work off.
In fairness, he has never had much to shine following his switch south from Sunderland last New Year – a niggling nerve-stroke-knee-stroke-hamstring thing undermining his hopes of making an early impact.
His efforts to show just what he may have to offer have not gone unnoticed – by manager and supporter alike.
?Even though we've picked up two positive results, the performance on Saturday wasn't what we're up to – we've picked up a point, but in terms of quality of chances and possession they were on top,? admitted Brown, as the Canaries managed to produce a typically schizophrenic performance in that Carling Cup clash with Barnet.
?The first-half on Tuesday was really good – going forward we looked really good – it was just disappointing second-half to concede. Then again, we won 5-2.?
He also has a willing and able side-kick in Jamie Cureton whose two goals put Norwich on the road to that comfortable, if flawed, cup success.
?Curo is a good player. He'll work as hard as possible for the team and anything that goes into the box, he's always there – as he showed the other night with the two goals in the 18-yard box,? said Brown, clearly enjoying his chance at being 'Curo's' big pal.
?It was good and as long we work as hard as we can, make it as difficult as we can for the opposition – whether it's me and Curo or anyone else – and we do our jobs then that's what the gaffer is after.?
The icing on the cake, of course, would be a goal. Thus far, that's the one thing missing from Brown's City cv – the small matter of a goal.
?It would be nice for one of them to go in – it's something that I'm eyeing to do,? he said. ?But I've got to make sure that I'm doing my job in terms of closing down, holding the ball up, helping the team.
?But if I could get a goal that would be brilliant because the gaffer is on at us to get in better positions – and that is something that I need to work on.?
As for the Saints, Brown was very much in the wounded tiger camp – that after two big stumbles in their opening two games, Southampton were due a result.
?There's no way that they're going to play like that three games in a row and we've got to make sure that we're on out game; we're playing well; playing, hopefully, like we did in the first-half on Tuesday night.?
Do that and the Canaries could be on their way.
?To get that first win at home is massive because it can set you up for the rest of the season,? said Brown. ?You get the fans behind you and if they can see that we're giving 100 per cent on the pitch then they will get behind us.?