Sears: Form and the Table Go Out the Window
Thursday, 7th Feb 2019 16:50
Town attacker Freddie Sears has admitted ahead of Sunday’s East Anglian derby at Carrow Road that he has been shocked by the impressive form surge that has taken the Canaries to pole position in the Championship table.
When the teams last met at Portman Road in September the 1-1 scoreline left Town with three points from six games and their rivals on six.
But since then the men from Norfolk have only lost two of their subsequent 24 league games and the length of the table – plus 39 points – separates the sides.
Sears said: “I’ve been surprised and I think you’d agree that if you watched the game back in September you’d have looked at both teams and thought they were both probably going to have average seasons.
“Norwich have kicked on – fair play to them – and it’s hard to ignore they’re top of the league, flying and playing well. It’s going to be tough on Sunday.
“But you’ve got to be positive going into these games. It’s a derby so a lot of the form and what the league table looks like always goes out of the window. It’s all down to one game and we’re going there to win.
“The bulk of the pressure is definitely on them as the home team because they are strongly fancied to win the game.
“They are top of the league and want to get promoted so the pressure is on them to win. We’re bottom of the league and they should beat us but we need results too and we need them quickly.
“We’ve got to go out there and press from the start. The first 10 or 15 minutes are going to be very important.
“We’ve got to get in their faces and try to affect their style of play. We’re not going there to park the bus and hang on for 90 minutes.
“I don’t think the manager would want to do that anyway. He wants to go there and cause an upset, and as players we have to believe we can go there and beat them.
“Okay, it’s easy to sit here and say what we’re going to do and what we’re not going to do. We’ve been working on tactics for the game and an early goal could change everything.
“If it does go wrong and we concede early on we’ll have to be brave and rely on the experienced players. Hopefully Chambo will be back and we’ll have to pull together and keep going.”
Sunday’s clash has extra appeal because Town boss Paul Lambert is returning to the club where he enjoyed great success between 2009 and 2012, lifting the Canaries from close to the bottom of League One and leaving them after they finished 12th in the Premier League.
Sears, 29, added: “There’s obviously history between the gaffer and Norwich, and it’s a big game for everyone. We all know about the derby.
“As soon as the Sheffield Wednesday game finished last Saturday it was derby week.
“Because it’s a Sunday game the training schedule has been different but everyone’s ready for it. The training is going well and ultimately all that matters is Sunday at 12 o’clock.
“I love the derbies. It’s always a great atmosphere, whether it’s at Portman Road or their place, and they’re sure to be bouncing at the minute being top of the league with us at the bottom. It’s time for us to stand up and start doing our talking out on the pitch.
“I think we could right a few wrongs with our supporters by putting in a performance and coming away with the points. We owe the fans because they have been brilliant for us this season, especially as it’s been so tough for everybody. They have stuck with us and to be honest I’ve never seen anything like it.
“Normally, if you’re at the bottom of the league, no one comes to support you or you could be getting booed on to the pitch and off again at the end. We really do owe them something.”
Asked if he felt victory would mean more than three points, in terms of what it would do for team morale, he replied: “I think it would. At the minute any three points would be massive for us but this could be really special if we can go there and beat them in their own back yard.
“But we’re not thinking it is going to be easy. We know it’s going to be tough and it’s down to us to try to upset them and get the job done.”
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