John Ruddy looks at the 'bigger picture' in fight for survival

 

Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy maintains the Canaries must see every point gained as one more step towards securing Barclays Premier League survival, no matter how they come about.

Paul Lambert's side ended a run of successive league defeats yesterday with a 1-1 draw against bottom club Wigan at Carrow Road, where the home side were second best for large spells and but for a man-of-the-match display by Ruddy could well have been beaten.

Nevertheless, the Canaries remain comfortably perched in mid-table with 36 points - 14 clear of the drop zone with 10 games to go.

That in itself is an achievement for the Norfolk club, who were favourites to be propping up the league after a swift rise back from npower League One in successive seasons under Lambert.

Norwich head to Newcastle next weekend, and Ruddy feels the "bigger picture" has to be climbing the steps towards the fabled 40-points barrier one rung at a time.

"We were sluggish against Wigan, and we will be the first to admit that," he said.

"But we will take the positives out of getting a point against a side fighting for their lives - it is a point towards the bigger picture and that is staying in this league."

Ruddy continued: "Overall the whole team was below par and it is not the sort of performance that we expect from ourselves.

"That is an indication of how far we have come in a short space of time and of how we have been performing this season.

"But it is just a case of picking up points where we can - it was a below-par performance, but we still managed to pick up a point, which means we are a point closer to Premier League safety."

Ruddy, 25, spilled a couple of long-distance efforts yesterday, but also made a couple of telling blocks as Wigan's front line of Hugo Rodallega and Victor Moses - who netted a fine equaliser midway through the second half - stretched Norwich's rearguard.

The former Everton stopper has been tipped for an England call-up in the run towards Euro 2012.

Ruddy said: "It would be a massive achievement for myself and my career, but it is not something that I am desperate for or something that I am losing any sleep over.

"My performances for Norwich is the main thing and if I keep performing well for them then who knows?"

Another Norwich player who has an outside chance of summer action in Poland and the Ukraine is Wes Hoolahan.

The Republic of Ireland midfielder, lasted capped back in 2008 when playing for Blackpool, put Norwich ahead with a well-executed volley after 10 minutes.

Like Ruddy, the 29-year-old has his focus firmly on club matters.

Hoolahan said: "It has been a great season so far and so far has been successful so far.

"I don't think anyone would have expected us to have 36 points at this stage of the season when we started.

"We are doing well. We just need to keep that going and hopefully we can get a few points before the end of the season."

Wigan are far from cut adrift at the bottom, as only four points separate them from 16th placed Blackburn, and Latics manager Roberto Martinez remains positive.

He said: "There will be a lot of games between now and the end of the season which will dictate the points tally needed to survive, but we'll focus our attentions on each game as it comes.

"If we replicate the levels shown against Norwich and approach those games with the same attitude then I am in no doubt we will get the points we need to stay up."

PA

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