Bristol Rovers: Norburn's ready to show what he has to offer
OLIVER Norburn looks set to put a frustrating four-week period behind him by getting an opportunity to reclaim a regular place in the centre of Bristol Rovers' midfield.
The former Chelsea and Leicester trainee has endured a stop-start beginning to his Bristol Rovers career after being brought in by Mark McGhee with the future in mind over the summer.
Norburn impressed during pre-season, but was forced to wait on the sidelines for a chance to start his first league game for the club until well over a month into the season as the likes of Matt Gill, Wayne Brown and Matthew Lund were all preferred by the manager.
The 20-year-old was finally given a start at Plymouth midway through September and was a focal point in a seven-game run that followed in which Rovers lost just once.
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A poor display in defeat at Accrington Stanley at the end of October, however, forced the manager into a shake-up of which Norburn was one of the first casualties.
He has yet to start a game since, a period in which the midfielder has also missed three games through suspension after being sent off in the final few minutes of a match against Southend United.
A return from the bench was made in last weekend's 2-0 defeat at Wycombe, however, and with Lund suspended and Gill struggling with a knee problem, Norburn looks set to be in contention to start his first game in over a month against Dagenham & Redbridge at the Memorial Stadium tomorrow.
Norburn said: "It has been a bit frustrating. I don't like being on the bench, but that is the manager's decision and as a player you have to accept that and get on with it.
"The manager picks the 11 he sees as the best to do the job on a Saturday and the only way I can convince him that I should be in the team is by showing him in training.
"I felt I've played well and performed when asked to this season and I'm just pleased to be back involved again."
Norburn, however, knows that he hasn't helped himself in terms of making himself unavailable for three games following his sending off in the 3-2 defeat against Paul Sturrock's side.
He added: "You learn your lesson from it when you are not allowed to play for three games because you are suspended. There's nothing worse than training all week and then being forced to watch a game on a Saturday when you are fit and raring to play.
"I didn't go in for the tackle with any intentions to hurt the lad. I'm 100 per cent committed to the cause and I was just focused on winning the ball. It was just one of those things that happens sometimes and I'll learn from it."
Rovers, meanwhile, could do with a result against John Still's side if they are to ease the pressure that comes with a poor run of form.
McGhee's side slipped to one place outside the relegation zone following last weekend's disappointing trip to Wycombe and Norburn said: "We're obviously down in a position we don't want to be in, so we really need to kick on now.
"The manager sets us up to do certain jobs before we go out and play and we need to take responsibility for seeing those instructions through when we are out on the pitch.
"We have to hold our hands up and say that we haven't been performing anywhere close to the standards we feel capable of, but we have a lot of good players in the squad."