Taylor: Norwood Close to First Start
Tuesday, 15th Sep 2020 11:20
Assistant boss Stuart Taylor says striker James Norwood isn’t too far away from his first start of the season.
Norwood, 30, played only 45 minutes of football in pre-season, in the 1-0 defeat at Cambridge, having spent most of his time continuing his rehabilitation from the groin injury he underwent in February, the second time he had gone under the knife during 2019/20.
The former Tranmere man was introduced as a 55th-minute sub in the 2-1 EFL Trophy defeat to Arsenal's U21s then came on at half-time in Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Wigan in the Blues' League One opener.
Asked whether Norwood, the Blues joint-top scorer with 11 goals last season, is now close to his first start with Aaron Drinan appearing likely to miss Wednesday's Carabao Cup tie against Fulham, Taylor said: "He's not too far away. He's had a long time out, just short of a year really when you look at it, so we have to be careful.
“We've got to build our players up and we need to make sure we don't bring them back to soon.
“I think there's been something like a 22 per cent injury rise in every club since we came back and something we've been very cautious of, albeit we have picked up injures. But I don't think there's anything more that we could have done or changed to have prevented that.
“And regards to Nors, he’s like other lads coming back from long-term injuries, we have to make sure we approach it right and be careful we don’t do too much too soon.
“But, yes, he’s a professional footballer and he’s dealt with himself in the right way. We will push him as much as we can. He pushes himself anyway so he doesn’t really need that extra from us. But in answer to your question, he’s not too far away from being able to start games.
“That’s a different question to one about lasting the 90 minutes. There are so many different factors to look at, will you get more out of him starting or more out of him coming off the bench? How do we build him up and give him longer coming off the bench? Just different factors to look at, but he’s not too far away.”
Unsurprisingly, Taylor says Norwood is desperate to start a game for the first time since the 0-0 draw at Wimbledon in February.
“I think the lads are recognising that it is competition for places and they are all hungry to go and play and go and perform, which should be the case.
“But it's always nice to see, and obviously, it's a good position for the gaffer in terms of he's got everybody desperate to go and play and desperate to be involved and desperate to be in that winning side.
“So the work ethic has been massive for us, and it's proved to be a big part of the success.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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