City young gun Korey Smith has claimed that while Charlton are clearly a decent side, the Canaries have to start showing what they can do – starting today.
With the league leaders in town, it offers a real chance for Paul Lambert’s men to send out a message to the rest of the division.
And people will certainly sit up and take notice if City can become the first club to defeat to the south London side in 2009/10.
“They’ve won a lot of matches and are top of the league. We know they are a good team but I’m sure if we do well we can get a result,” said the Academy product, talking to the press at Colney yesterday.
“At the end of the day it’s just another match and we’ll go out and do it as a team. If we win it will be excellent because people can then see what we can do.”
Despite indifferent results, this season has certainly been a personal triumph for the 18-year-old and he has featured in every league game since Paul Lambert’s arrival.
The former youth team captain has really come of age and he impressed in a holding role during the 2-1 defeat to MK Dons on Monday night.
But he’s not about to take his place for granted – Smith will work harder than ever to keep the shirt.
“I’m young so maybe I expected to get a few games like I did at the end of last season but it is amazing to think that I’ve been starting a lot of matches in the first team. It’s unreal,” he continued.
“But there are a lot of players in the squad so it doesn’t mean I’ve secured a place. I’ve got to work hard and try and keep my place in the team.
“I like playing anywhere in the centre of midfield really. I played in the holding role against MK Dons and got some good feedback.”
And with the Canaries in the midst of a midfield injury crisis, he has plenty of his Academy pals for company – something that can only help him become acclimatised to first-team life quicker.
“Against MK Dons, Tom [Adeyemi] and I played in the middle which was an excellent experience even though we lost.
“But to play centre-midfield in the first team alongside someone I went through the youth team with is quality.”
The Hatfield-born youngster has also shown leadership qualities in his short time in the first team setup and having skippered Canary youth sides, he has revealed that he’s not afraid to give it plenty of chat on the pitch.
What odds on him captaining the Norfolk club in years to come?
“A lot of things changed around me on Monday night, firstly one of the centre-midfielders that I was playing with went off, then the other went to left-back.
“Although I’m young, I had to stay in my position and tell other players who to be marking. I was the captain of the youth team so I’m not shy when it comes to talking on the pitch.”
And despite a positive campaign so far, Smith will be hoping that he doesn’t have any nightmares when face-to-face with those red and white shirts this afternoon.
The tough-tackling midfielder made his full debut against the same opposition but unfortunately for him, City’s relegation to the third tier is the overriding memory from that fateful day.
“Obviously last time was my full debut but the way it ended was disappointing. Tomorrow is a good chance to show we’ve moved on as a team.”