City winger Lee Croft was keeping his fingers firnly crossed today that he would be fit enough to feature in Saturday's home clash with Sheffield Wednesday.
The 23-year-old prospective City Player of the Season missed the 1-1 draw at Birmingham with a slight ankle knock, but is hopeful of returning to training on Thursday ahead of Norwich's latest six-point survival clash.
“It's getting better,” revealed Croft, speaking at last night's Canary RoadShow event at the Hobart High School, Loddon.
“I've been swimming with the physios and I've not trained for quite a while, so I'm hoping that it'll keep improving and I can get back into training on Thursday or Friday for the game on Saturday.”
There was, clearly, still a little doubt in his mind; people might need to be wary of counting too many chickens.
“I wouldn't say confident,” he said. “I'm hopeful.
“But the way that it's going at the moment – and if the physios keep doing their work – then, hopefully, I'll be involved.”
Missing that spirited 1-1 draw at St Andrew's was a bitter blow, he admitted, after picking up the knock on the day before.
“It killed me to miss Birmingham last week,” he said. “It was the first game that I've sat out and watched for quite a while. And it was just so frustrating. But it gives you that hunger to get back – and get back as fit as possible.
“But it was a hard thing to do – watching the lads away at St Andrew's. So I'm really eager to get back in for the Sheffield Wednesday game.”
Victory over The Owls would keep the wind firmly in the Canaries' sails as the Norfolk club head north with growing conviction that this might not, after all, be their year for the drop.
Ten points from the last 15 is no mean feat at this stage of the season. And if repeats of Blackpool (a) can be kept to a minimum so Norwich might just pull themselves right out of the fire as Bryan Gunn and Co write themselves another chapter in legend.
“The international break has come at a bit of a bad time – it's come when we're on a roll. We just wanted to continue playing, s now we're just looking forward to getting back into matches.”
With six games left, survival remains very much in Norwich's own hands. Six points from the Wednesday and Watford games would get City to within sight of the finishing line; a point from Swansea, a point at Portman Road… Suddenly doing the math isn't quite as daunting as it once was.
“There's still a massive job to do,” warned Croft.
“We're under no illusions – we need to keep doing what we're doing and keep putting in the performances like we have been. And we need to make sure that we take nothing less than three points off Sheffield Wednesday.”
The ultimate, of course, would be to stay up at Portman Road. For someone who has already written himself into derby folklore with that glorious strike in the 2-0 win at Carrow Road earlier this season, for Norwich to confirm their place in the Championship again next season in the heart of Suffolk would be sweet indeed.
“That would be nice,” he admitted. “But we're not looking that far. We're taking each game as it comes – which is important. We need to go into every game like its a cup final now.
“But you do look at the Ipswich fixture and you do look forward to it, but there are important games before then.”
The fact that after the 'blip' that was Blackpool people can even talk about being safe by the end of that derby fixture speaks volumes for how far fortune has shifted of late.
The only danger now, of course, is that a feeling of 'Job done!' seeps into the camp.
“I think after the Blackpool game a lot of people wrote us off,” said Croft. “But we showed good character – we didn't let our heads drop after that game.
“It wasn't a good game. And it wasn't a good performance. But since that we've reall stuck together and we've put in some performances – got wins.
“And, as I say, got good performances along with the results.”
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