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McKenna: Norwood is an Important Part of the Squad
Thursday, 13th Jan 2022 15:43

Town manager Kieran McKenna says striker James Norwood is an important part of his squad, the previously-out-of-favour frontman having scored four goals in his last four league games and having carried off December’s PFA Vertu Motors League One Fans’ Player of the Month.

Having been consigned to the U23s in the latter stages of Paul Cook’s time in charge, Norwood returned to the Town side under interim manager John McGreal and has kept his place since Kieran McKenna took over.

“Really pleased for him. Obviously his goals are the headline, he’s scored for a few games in a row,” McKenna said.

“But, as I’ve said a few times, I’m really pleased with his work-rate on the pitch, that’s been the big thing from my point of view, the way he’s worked for the team, the way he’s worked without the ball, the willingness to sacrifice himself at times.

“He’s played in a few different roles, he’s had his position tweaked across a few different games and he’s shown a willingness to learn, to work for the team, to adapt to his position when needs be.

“Obviously, individual honours are nice, it’s nice for James to get that, but the most important thing for me is the team, and James is buying into that, everyone being ready to work for the team and I think James would certainly say himself that the team has had a big part in him getting that reward.

“He’s been the one able to score the goals but the rest of the team, his strike partner, Macauley [Bonne], has been involved in a couple of goals and it’s about how they work for each other to create chances when we have the ball and stop the other team when we don’t have it.

“It’s great to see James getting that reward and I think it’s a credit to the team for the way that they’ve helped support him and also credit for how he’s support the team.”

Norwood is among the players who are out of contract in the summer but McKenna says it’s too early to start discussing those situations with CEO Mark Ashton.

“Not when the guys who are contracted until the end of the season,” he said. “Obviously we’ve only had two games so far with the squad that we have here, so we’re in constant dialogue about the squad and I’ll fill them in on how happy I’ve been with certain aspects and other things that I think can be improved upon.

“But I don’t think it’s the time yet to start talking too much about the squad for next season and what the balance is going to look like. I think it’s a little bit early for that.

“I think the immediate priority is working with the players that are here for the rest of this season and improving the here and nows, the next game being on Saturday.

“Obviously, we’re talking a lot about January and anything that might happen there, in or out, that can improve the squad or it might be the right thing for a player who is here [to move on].

“I think probably a little bit further down the line will be the time to have a chat about next season and the players who are leaving and who is going to be the right balance and the right fit for the squad that we want going into next year.”

At the end of last year, during Norwood’s time out of the squad and spell training with the U23s, working with Kieron Dyer, to whom he recently paid credit, it was understood that the striker would be made available for transfer in January.

Given his current form, it was suggested that that would be something McKenna now wouldn’t want to happen.

“No, he’s been an important part of the squad, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “As I said before, he’s been important in terms of goals, he’s been important in terms of his performances, his effort and attitude on the pitch has been infectious.

“And he’s also been a good influence around the group in the time that I’ve been here. He’s been training hard, and he’s had his head down; he’s been supportive of his teammates, very much working for the group and working for the team.

“I can speak of the time that I’ve been here, I’ve been happy with him, he’s been working really hard for the team and he’s in form, and we’re seeing him being an important part of the team at the moment.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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SheptonMalletBlue added 16:04 - Jan 13
I used to read the first couple of paragraphs and skip to the comments when Cook, Lambert etc had something to say. But with McKenna you have to treat to the end, really love what he has to say!

notoriousITFC added 16:34 - Jan 13

Who's your favourite McKenna?

HOG500 added 17:03 - Jan 13

PositivelyPortman added 17:09 - Jan 13
Vindication for Nors and I’m very pleased for him.
There’ll be a few on here unable to believe KM’s comments about him.

Nesspointrunner added 17:12 - Jan 13
Who was that player we had who played his skin off when he was trying to get a new contract and then was a completely useless afterwards ? We had to bail him out from his gambling debts. We must be aware that Nors has not impressed the last two managers.

ITFC_Singapore added 17:52 - Jan 13 you mean Michael Chopra ?

BlueHope22 added 18:20 - Jan 13
Nice one Norwood Just keep your head down mate always work for the team and the fans who are some if the best fans in the world COYB 🚜🚜🚜

Karlosfandangal added 18:25 - Jan 13
Ness……. Let’s hope he has finally turned the corner and is fully focused on his football as he could be a legend for Town and I think he will cause havoc in the Championship.

Hopefully Town have got on top of his injury problems

mojo added 19:17 - Jan 13
@ Notorious Virginia of course for her tireless work with the Born Free Foundation

vanmunt added 20:27 - Jan 13
Call me old fashioned but it was nice to reference the players by their names and not nicknames.

adamisablue2 added 21:44 - Jan 13
I try to avoid speculation wherever possible but this really does make you wonder. When the goals and chances dried up, we had Nors, a proven goal getter training with the u23's and seemingly out of the door.

Was Cookie told to drop him by Ashton? Was it this sort of thing that led to Pauls utter belligerence to not change the system? Were there arguments behind the scenes which led to Mark Ashton getting a rollocking from the board for trying to get too involved in first team affairs? Or was it simply a case of Nors and Cookie having a massive bust up over a substitution that never happened and they were playing the diplomatic game for the press?

It's just a bit funny that as soon as Paul left, Nors was back with everyone's blessing. There's something that doesn't quite fit here but I suppose that's been our last 3 managers in a nutshell really

Karlosfandangal added 01:58 - Jan 14

Agree with you if you look at Norwood goals to game and Assits stats they are good so it makes you wonder.
I think his injury problems has never helped, however if the club has that under control as it seems to be with the whole squared at the minute, Town have a player who could just take us up, hopefully this season

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