Norris: Conditions Were Definitely Adverse
Friday, 17th Jan 2020 12:02
Dealing with different pitches from one game to another is all part of a goalkeeper’s lot and Town’s Will Norris is ready to put the monsoon conditions at Oxford behind him and deal with the challenge that the sticky, soggy playing surface at Tranmere is set to present tomorrow.
Norris takes a similarly pragmatic view to that of Town boss Paul Lambert, who actually expects the pitch at Prenton Park to be in worse shape than that at the Kassam Stadium on Tuesday when the game only continued after the referee ordered a break in play that lasted 18 minutes and allowed the ground staff to deal with surface water.
The fact that the rain actually ceased was the real saving grace, however, and Wolves loanee Norris admitted: “It was tough but, obviously, it was the same for both teams. However, conditions were definitely adverse.
“They made it very difficult for there to be any real quality in the game, especially in the final moments when you need a bit. In the end it was a good point, a clean sheet, and it’s a building block for Tranmere tomorrow.
“I think it was a decent point and as a keeper I was delighted to keep a clean sheet. I was very disappointed we didn’t get one against Accrington last weekend when we gave away a penalty near the end.
“We also conceded a goal in our previous league game when we drew at Wycombe, so that’s why the clean sheet at Oxford meant so much to me – it was the first since Gillingham on Boxing Day.”
Asked for his thoughts on Town’s current form – they are now unbeaten in three league games and the win over Accrington was their first in 12 outings in all competitions – Norris added: “I think we’ve lacked a bit of a killer instinct in both boxes. The change in system has been helpful to us, maybe the consistency in personnel has helped and we’re on an upwards turn at the moment.
“We really need to start keeping clean sheets and we really need to iron out the finer details in our own box. Like I said before, Saturday was a good building block for Tuesday at Oxford and the deserved draw at Oxford can be another one for tomorrow at Tranmere.”
In a game of few scoring chances at the Kassam Stadium it was Norris who made the game’s top save, hurling himself full length to his right to keep out a 25-yard drive from Josh Ruffels.
But he played down the significance of the 77th minute stop, stating: “It took a little deflection but it was one of those that I expect to make to be honest.”
Norris was self-critical following Town’s 5-3 defeat at Lincoln, especially about the Imps’ goal that followed his decision to come off his line, but he explained: “I came out to try and make it difficult for their player but it was a great finish. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I could have stayed on my line.
“But you’re always looking over your shoulder when the goalkeeping department is so strong and the manager likes to change it.
“You might think to yourself that he might want to make a change but I’ve got a good dialogue with the gaffer and he believes in me and my ability, and what I can do.
“You need to have a thick skin in this industry. You don’t want mistakes to become a pattern and you should learn from them. It can be a tough job but someone’s got to do it!
“No one is sure of their place in this team, as you can see from the gaffer’s rotation policy, which is why you might expect to be dropped. But it’s just one of those things and the gaffer has every right to do it.
“From my perspective I hope I can continue to pull the jersey on and do the job I’ve been doing.
“It has been a more settled side in our recent league games and I think that helps. We’re getting into a good rhythm.
“From a keeper’s point of view it’s good to have a consistent team in front of you because you need to build relationships, although if players drop out we have others who can come in and do an equally good job. It is nice but not the end of the world if the team changes.
“If you can count on one hand the number of mistakes you make in a season that’s a good thing.
“But if you make five mistakes as a goalkeeper it tends to mean you concede five goals, whereas a striker can make five mistakes in one game but if he also scores a goal in that game he’s a hero. That’s the nature of the beast and it is what it is.”
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