Bradley Johnson admits Norwich City could do without their Fulham FA Cup replay
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While former Norwich City manager Paul Lambert caused himself more trouble than it was worth when he slighted the arrival of FA Cup hostilities this season, the sentiment might well extend to his old club this week.
The Canaries travel to Fulham for Tuesday evening’s third-round replay off the back of Premier League defeat at Everton and with the need to exert every possible ounce of preparation in the direction of beating Hull at Carrow Road on Saturday.
Those two Premier League reasons are why a cup distraction isn’t really wanted at the moment – according to City midfielder Bradley Johnson
“We could do without the replay this week,” he admitted. “We do want to get as far as we can in the cup and we want to win every game we go into. So the Fulham game is no different. But we want to stay in the Premier League – and that is our main priority this year.
“I would agree the Hull game is a must win. I think our main focus is staying in this league and we’ve got the cup game in midweek, but for myself and I think for everyone, we’re concentrating on winning against Hull.
“Obviously it would be nice to get a good run in the FA Cup but our main priority now is staying in this league and we know we’ve got a massive game on Saturday now.”
But to think there is little at stake – or little relevance – to the Canaries’ league prospects when they take to the pitch at Craven Cottage would not only be wrong. It would be missing a trick.
City’s current run of seven games without a win includes the first attempt at third-round progress against Fulham at Carrow Road: one stick currently being used to beat the Canaries with.
On the other side of the coin are Sunderland, who have found improvements honed in League Cup success sparking their own Premier League revival. How Norwich City would love to shake off any fears that the world is conspiring against them – thanks to some FA Cup progress.
“We’re not getting our heads down,” added Johnson. “We’re creating chances – we went to Everton and created a few chances. We’re just not clinical enough and that’s something we have got to work on.
“We’ve got to work on it. Hopefully the chances will come, and Ricky (van Wolfswinkel) and Hoops (Gary Hooper) will start scoring for us – although we can’t rely on them. It’s a team game and we’ve got to get some goals from all over the pitch. So hopefully we’ll score some soon.”
Still, it is fair to say Tuesday night’s cup tie will come with Premier League baggage for Chris Hughton’s men. Whoever is picked, their actions in west London will have a major impact on the mood facing the Canaries when they walk out at Carrow Road four days later.
Johnson added: “We’re not looking at the bottom three. We’re just concentrating on what we do and we know we’ve got to start winning.
“I know it’s a cliché and we keep on saying we’ve got another game, but we’ve got to do it now. We can’t keep on saying we’ve got another game.”