Norwood: A Massive Disappointment If I Don't Hit Double Figures
Friday, 7th May 2021 13:27
James Norwood has admitted he will be disappointed if he doesn’t score the goal he needs against Fleetwood on Sunday to achieve a double-figures tally for the ninth successive season.
The striker, who has been plagued by injury problems during his two campaigns at Portman Road, did it for the first time in the 2013/14 season for Forest Green, where he spent three seasons in the National League before remaining at that level for a further three years after joining Tranmere, with whom he won promotion to League Two.
It was after his haul of 32 goals in the 2018/19 campaign that then-Town boss Paul Lambert snapped him up and he was the Blues’ joint-leading marksman in his first season with 11 goals - long with Kayden Jackson - in 22 starts, while he has so far netted nine in 18 for the current term.
Norwood said: “I would be massively disappointed if I don’t get into double figures this season, especially after missing the penalty at Swindon last week that would have put me on 10 for the season so far.
“For me it’s a numbers game – goals to minutes played – and that’s how I have to look at it this season.
“A couple of freak accidents have brought on hamstring injuries and that’s just unfortunate, nothing to do with physios or the way I live.
“It’s been a niggling problem that I’m hoping to sort this summer but I would back myself to get double figures next season if I don’t do it this season.
“I’ve had a niggling hamstring injury all season and it’s stemming from somewhere. I’ve had enough scans to keep the NHS afloat but they haven’t come up with the answer.
“During the first lockdown I worked with a physio in Crewe who sorted my groin out and was able to bring me back for a little bit of pre-season so I’ve arranged to go and see him again in the summer to hopefully strengthen the hamstring and try to figure out what’s wrong.
“That’s about it really. He’s not going to be doing any fitness with me; he’s going to be trying to realign my body and get me into a position where I’m able to be injury-free and almost risk-free as well.”
One area in which Norwood has been consistent is his disciplinary record, having collected six yellow cards in each of his two seasons as a Town player, his most recent coming in Tuesday’s 0-0 draw at Shrewsbury just before the break when his patience snapped and he kicked the ball over the stand and into the adjoining car park.
Did he immediately regret his action? “Yes and no,” he said. “Obviously, I managed to stay on the pitch for the 90 minutes and didn’t put a foot wrong in terms of getting carded again. I think it was just borne out of frustration because of how the game was going.
“We had decisions going against us and we weren’t completely at it. It was just one of things that happen rarely. I took the yellow card and it didn’t really cause too much of an issue after that.”
Asked if he had to focus on keeping his temper under control, he replied: “No, not at all. I play on the edge and I’ve never been sent off in my time at Ipswich.
“I may look angry but inside I’m quite cool, calm and collected. I try to get myself geed up and on the rare occasions I get a yellow card I don’t find myself going on to be sent off. Anger’s not really an issue for me at all.
“If you look at any top pro they’ve got that little bit of anger in them. I think you need something there to burn and make you want to win so much that things make you angry. For me, personally, I have to play on the edge.
“It took me a few years to know where the line was on that edge. Dobs [Armando Dobra] is the same – he’s like a dog with a ball the way he chases around – and he just needs to find the right balance to make sure he stays on the pitch for the whole game.
“In terms of ability Dobs can go wherever he wants to go. He’s still very young but if he listens to what the manager and other players have to say he can have a very bright future.
“He’s got some of the best feet I’ve seen in the league and he’s got the ability to go where he wants to go with the ball. He can tie people in knots and if he keeps looking to improve – he’s already come a long way this season – he can go all the way.”
While Town’s disappointing season that initially promised so much will end on Sunday, Norwood will have plenty to interest him in the weeks ahead as former club Tranmere look to clinch a League Two play-off place and the club he has followed since childhood, West Ham, chase qualification for next season’s Champions League.
He also has good reason to hope that Cambridge United win automatic promotion to League One because he shares a house near Bury St Edmunds with their top scorer Paul Mullin, also a former colleague at Tranmere.
Norwood added: “Paul’s my housemate and he’s the joint leading scorer in the four top English leagues. I’m hoping he does the job on Saturday to make sure they come up.
“They just need a point and I’m hoping Tranmere can book a place in the play-offs. That’s about it really and if one of my mates has a game I’ll go and watch.
“The Hammers are absolutely flying and the Champions League is on. It’s been a pleasure to watch them this season and David Moyes has done a fantastic job.
“We were down near the bottom last season but it just shows how quickly things can change when you find the right sort of chemistry within the team.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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