Ruddy confident Norwich City can last the pace
Goalkeeper John Ruddy is confident Norwich City can stay ahead of the required rate as they accumulate the points they hope will keep them in the Premier League.
Today's visit of Fulham to Carrow Road (3pm) completes the first half of the fixture list, with the Canaries having taken 21 points from games against the other 18 top-flight clubs.
Only one side in the past 10 years has been relegated with more than 40 points, and Ruddy believes a similar tally is likely to mean safety for City.
'I think everyone looks at the 40-point mark. We're over halfway there, albeit by a point, but we're well on course for doing what we want,' said the 25-year-old 'keeper.
'We're not near the bottom of the table, we're sitting in 11th, we've got a few points ahead of the teams below us.
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'If we can maintain that sort of margin and keep picking up points in games, we're going to be on the right track.'
Two clubs were relegated from the Premier League with 39 points last season, but the spread of points this time means one point per match ought to be enough to survive as the Canaries prepare to face everyone for the second time.
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But does familiarity make it easier playing teams in the return fixture – or harder because the opposition know more about Norwich than before?
'I think it's a bit of both,' said Ruddy. 'We know what to expect from other teams but once you get January out of the way, and the transfer window closes, you never know what they're going to bring in.
'So if they've got new players, you don't know how that's going to affect them.
'But we've also still got a lot of teams to come to us. We've played four or five of the top teams away from home already so they've still got to come to us and I think Tottenham and Arsenal will vouch for the fact that it's not an easy place to come and we're confident we can pick points up along the way.'
City and bottom club Blackburn remain the only teams in the top flight yet to keep a clean sheet, but Ruddy, as the last line of defence, is not unduly worried by the statistic.
'It's not something we're overly concerned about. If we weren't scoring and weren't creating chances and weren't playing well, yes, it's a problem,' he said.
'But we're playing well enough to merit a clean sheet. It's just in some games we haven't had the bounce. You look at the first five games, we gave five penalties away. Without the penalties, a couple of those could have been clean sheets, so it's one of those things.
'But I don't think it matters how many goals you score or concede, as long as you're putting points on the board.
'Every team wants to stay in the league and we're no different. If we're going to stay in the league without keeping a clean sheet, so be it.
'From a personal point of view it might not be too good, but I'm here for Norwich City and every player wants to stay in this league and I'm no different. Clean sheet or not, that's the aim.'
Ruddy was nine minutes away from his first shut-out since promotion when City led 1-0 at Everton with nine minutes left, a fortnight ago.
He said: 'Sometimes you just can't help what happens. The Everton game, we genuinely thought that was going to be the game to get a clean sheet but a soft goal, if you like, but very good play from Leon Osman, has taken that away from us. We know how good we are as a unit and as a whole team and we know it will come when the time is right.'