Canary full-back Adam Drury knows exactly where he would like to be this Saturday afternoon – hid behind the sofa with the TeleText controller in his hand.
In reality, of course, the former City skipper will be at Carrow Road to watch Norwich's crucial home clash with Queen's Park Rangers unfold complete with whatever agonies and extacies this weekend brings. Both by the bucketload, if everyone is on usual Norwich City form.
But for Drury – ruled out for virtually the whole season by the serious knee injury he sustained in the home clash with Bristol City way back in the autumn – being a spectator remains a very painful experience, even if his rebuilt right knee joint is now firmly on the mend.
“For me, this season has been exactly like being a fan,” said Drury, speaking at Archbishop Sancroft High School in Harleston yesterday, where he joined team-mate Darren Huckerby in promoting cancer awareness alongside Stephanie Moore, the widow of England World Cup skipper Bobby Moore.
“But a fan who knows he could be playing as well,” said the City left-back, left to watch as a combination of Mo Camara and Ryan Bertrand cover his old beat. This weekend and Drury – like every other fan – will be keeping every finger crossed that the Canaries can do a big job against Queen's Park Rangers and finally lay this sorry season to rest.
“Obviously I'm just rooting for the lads to get the job done on Saturday – that's what it is all about. And that's what we want to happen.”
Sitting in the stands has not, it seems, been a good place to be.
“It's been very frustrating – I haven't trained for one day with the new manager yet. Or not even played a game – I was injured when he came in. So that's what pre-season is going to be for – for me to get myself fit and get myself back involved.
“So I'm looking forward to pre-season now – and it's not very often that you say that!”
Before then, of course, there is Saturday's little hurdle to leap.
“It is going to be an unbelievable atmosphere,” he said, as everyone prepared to say their Norfolk farewells to Dion Dublin and, potentially, Drury's long-time side-kick, Darren Huckerby.
“It's not just the fact that the two lads could be leaving, but where we are in the league as well. We need everyone pulling in the right direction and getting right behind us – and I think they will. I think the atmosphere is going to be fantastic on Saturday.”
Is he a good spectator? “No,” was the simple and immediate response.
“To be honest with you, if I had the choice – and obviously I want to go and watch and support the lads – I'd rather turn the TV on and find out the score at the end of the game on Saturday and see that it is all done and dusted. Because going through it all week in, week out can be so frustrating,” said Drury, suddenly speaking on behalf of 20,000-odd season ticket holders and every other poor soul put through the emotional mill at three o'clock every Saturday.
The fact that 52 points was still no guarantee of safety was, said Drury, a slight surprise – but then nothing much surprises anyone in this topsy-turvy division.
“You look at the top end of the league as well – it's probably going to be one of the lowest totals to win automatic promotion for a long, long while and when you think when we did it. And at the bottom end of the league it is going to be very, very close.
“I wish we had done it already, but we haven't. We've just got to make sure that we finish it off. If we get the job done ourselves, it doesn't matter what other people are doing – it's in our own hands. And that's where you want it to be.”
It is still not a pleasant place to be – with so much still in the balance. “The feeling is indescribable as to what it's like – obviously everybody's worried about what everyone else is going to do, but like I said already – it's down to what we do. And if we win both our games – or even one of them, probably – that will be enough hopefully.”
Drury has, of course, seen one or two tight finishes to the season before – but then he was dreaming upwards, not down. “When you get promoted, it's an exciting race – it's still exciting now but not in a good way. At the minute, everyone just wants it done and finished. That's the way we want it to be, but it's even harder for me because I'm not involved at all. I'm relying on the rest of the lads to do their job.”
He is, however, getting ever closer to being involved as Canary physio Neal Reynolds slowly lets his long-term charge off the leash.
“I'm going quite well, to be honest with you,” said the 29-year-old, as he issued his own latest, medical update.
“They're holding me back a little bit because they want me to be fully ready to go in pre-season, but I'm back out running; doing ball work; other bits and pieces. It's all going very well.”
Drury's injury was not the full cruciate rupture of the Matthew Bates-kind; what it did, however, necessitate was the use of hamstring tendon taken from his right thigh to help with the rebuild work. It is now making sure that the area around where the 'donor' hamstring was taken from is fully up to strength as opposed to waiting for the knee to be up to speed.
“It's just frustrating not being involved,” added Drury, yet to enjoy a single training session under new boss Glenn Roeder. “At the end of the week everyone's going off and playing a game and I don't get to do that.”
The manager has, he said, done his bit to keep the long-serving Canary star 'in the family'. “He's done his best to keep me involved,” said Drury. “He checks on me every day and now I'm back outside running about and doing ball work I can watch the lads and see what's going on as well.”
One, final question. There is the small matter of the Player of the Season vote. Drury's vote was split. “There's two that I would pick out – Marshy [David Marshall] and Dion.
“In some games Marshy's made saves that have ended up with us getting points when we could have been dead and buried and then Dion. At 39, 40 he's one of our main players and obviously we rely on him week in, week out. At his age, to be playing at the level he is – and how well he is still playing – has been fantastic.”
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