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The smiles are back, Carrow Road is rocking again - so let’s kick on for those play-offs

Cameron Jerome has been back to his best for City.  Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Cameron Jerome has been back to his best for City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222

So have you got your breath back yet then?!

City's players are putting the smiles back on fans' faces. 
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267
14/02/2017City's players are putting the smiles back on fans' faces. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 14/02/2017

What an incredible week we’ve had as Norwich City fans.

Two barnstorming Carrow Road matches, four points, seven goals in our favour (and yes three against) and two genuine contenders for the best ever strikes at NR1.

The atmosphere has been back to how it should be at Carra - and fans are smiling again.

Think back to the dreadful reactions to the losses to Huddersfield, Leeds and Preston (and I haven’t even started on away games) and it shows how amazing the turn in fortunes has been,

The fact that we were genuinely disappointed not to have held on to beat the league leaders and favourites to lift the title, shows how far we have come in such a short space of time (and how badly we had plunged during those dark days).

Saturday’s victory was all about brilliant shooting, slick passing, confidence and swagger.

Getting the point against the Magpies was down to character, fight and a never-say-die attitude.

So many of those varied attributes were missing as the team slipped down the league before Christmas.

Jonny Howson has been pure class in recent weeks. As well as his worldie, he has done exactly what a central midfielder should do.

Wes has looked more confident to weave his magic (as well as hitting the net from 30 yards). He has looked a more complete player and his contribution has ranged from that fabulous ball through for Josh’s goal on Saturday to filling in as a tireless support at left back as Newcastle pressed.

Jerome was immense on Tuesday. He is at his best when he hassles and bullies defenders (remember Wembley?)

He never let the Magpies’ backline settle. He played a huge part in the equaliser on Tuesday and it’s easy to see why Karl Darlow looked uneasy as he prowled and did that beautiful air kick.

And then there’s John Ruddy.

If the midweek point proves significant at the end of the season, then we owe a huge debt of thanks to the big man.

He pulled off a string of fantastic saves and generally has looked so much more commanding as the Canaries’ fortunes have improved.

Alex Pritchard was brilliant against Forest and if hadn’t have been for Jonny and Wes, we would have been talking more about his excellent goals.

And I must mention two men mountains otherwise known as Mitchell “The Beast” Dijks and Alex Tettey,

Newcastle players were being knocked down by the giant left back like skittles in an alley.

Tettey certainly seemed to have been revitalised by his enforced lay off and was so dominant in the engine room.

So have all our problems gone and are we gliding gracefully to the play-offs?

Er, no.

The foundations are certainly in place to challenge the top six.

City have only lost one in the last nine and are second to Huddersfield in the current form table over the last six games

Four wins and two draws with 15 goals for and six against is certainly promotion chasing form.

But such was the gap caused by the demise that there’s a lot of making up to do.

There’s no doubt that Norwich are more than good enough on home soil to go up.

We are third in the home form table, only behind Brighton and Reading.

Eleven wins, two draws and three defeats with a 36-15 goal difference at Carrow Road is very acceptable indeed.

Sadly those meanies at the FA force half of the games to be played out of Norfolk and that is where the stark difference in fortunes is shown up.

City are a poor 15th in the away league with four wins, four draws and eight defeats and a 21-30 goal difference. Only 16 of the 51 points have come on the road.

Brighton and Reading still have to come to NR1 and we have to be confident of success in those games.

It is the tough visits to Yorkshire for clashes with Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds and Huddersfield which will prove whether we have genuine promotion hopes.

So yes there’s a hard road ahead and we have to be concerned about all the injuries (especially Nelson Oliveira), whether our defence is good enough against the top teams and whether the travel sickness can be cured.

But for now it’s so good to be enjoying watching the Canaries again and not hearing groans and boos. OTBC.

Don’t count any derby day chickens just yet

As if there wasn’t enough to talk about at half-time during Tuesday’s match, we got news that Tom Lawrence had been booked.

Normally confirmation that an Ipswich player had got a yellow card wouldn’t be that significant for us Canaries.

But such has been the impact the Leicester loanee has made at Portman Road, that his suspension from the derby next week after picking up a 10th caution will clearly affect the Blues.

He has scored eight league goals since arriving from the Midlands - several of them have been spectacular strikes.

Lawrence has also been a big reason why the Tractor Boys been on a relatively good run.

However, before we get carried away and think that victory is certain, let’s keep our feet on the ground.

Yes we’ll be favourites. Yes we’ve won five and drawn two of the last seven derbies with a 17-5 goal difference.

But Mick’s boys can still be dangerous and we mustn’t be complacent.

Fash’s strike is still my favourite

How many times have you watched back THAT goal from Jonny Howson?

I must be heading towards three figures - and it’s probably a similar number for Wes’ wonder strike.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen two such incredible finishes from two City players in one game in all my time as a Canary fan.

In their own way they were both very special (and seconds before Jonny’s volley I had moaned to my mate that Wes hadn’t cleared the first man with his corner!)

Quite rightly they triggered polls and discussions about our favourite ever City goals at Carrow Road.

Rosario v Southampton, Safri against Newcastle and Hucks’ solo effort when Birmingham visited were among the contenders.

My favourite, however, is still Justin Fashanu’s turn and shot past Ray Clemence back in 1980.

I loved the build up, the fact that it all happened on such a bobbly pitch and against a brilliant Liverpool side.

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11 comments

  • NCFC was 80-1 for automatic promotion 2 weeks ago...worth a tenner. Bookies are never wrong though - are they? Jut ask Leicester fans.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    blagger56

    Friday, February 17, 2017

  • One of my sons is a season ticket holder. He enjoys any good moments but is realistic about NCFC's prospects in the wider football world. I don't envy him trying to be entertained sat amongst so many pessimists and know all gripers.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Green Ink from Tunbridge Wells

    Friday, February 17, 2017

  • Ps. This article is pathetically and painfully positive. Get a grip. The massive holes in our squad quality and frailties in the mind still exist. Here's to going up with the same squad of losers! Yaaaaaa.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    JimBob

    Friday, February 17, 2017

  • You can't and don't deserve to make the playoffs if you can't beat anyone in the top half. It's a disgraceful record that cannot be tolerated, no matter what the outcome of this season is. You can't expect to keep your job if you flop against any half decent team when you're targeting the prem. The result against Newcastle was a bad one. Their top scorer was out, we were winning the game and the usual frailties kick in. Next year will be horrendous if we go up with Neil. Horrendous.

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    JimBob

    Friday, February 17, 2017

  • Has someone seen a swallow.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    brereton

    Friday, February 17, 2017

  • Just seen the computer predictions for the top 6 places in the chaampionship, and NCFC does not feaature. In fact we are 8th, with Huddersfield 7th, and Reading, Derby, Sheffield W., and Leeds in the 6th - 3rd spots. Not very encouraging. Hope we can prove the computer wrong.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    MichiganCanary

    Friday, February 17, 2017

  • There are more than enough games left to get into the playoffs, if of course we win at Burton and keep momentum going. I agree were are also relying on Sheff Weds and Leeds dropping points, whereas Reading and Huddersfield are almost certain of the playoffs or better. I don't particularly care what is 'uttered by the powers that be'. What I care about is the performance of the players on the pitch. We have had enough gloomy moments this season like losing at Rotherham, that I am more than happy to enjoy and revel in a 5-1 victory whomever we play, whether it is Nottingham Forest or Ipswich.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Bruce87

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • Not entirely clear who and what these 'doom and gloom' merchants are, Bruce. I can only assume you mean the sizeable group of realists that inhabit this and other boards; ie those who do nor swallow hook line and sinker every morsel uttered by the powers that be And who are not as easily satisfied as some. The bottom line, as Michi (and to a lesser degree Ian Clarke) says is that , even after 5-1 demolitions of a poor Forest team and the like, our abject run in the autumn has left us with a mountain to climb, and the cards are stacked against us. Even you yourself allude to it when you say that anything less than sixth place will constitute failure . Of course I hope that we keep this run going, and snag wins at Elland Rd etc, because, realistically that will be the only way we will get into the playoffs.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Rick

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • I too hope we get in the play offs, because if we don't, I believe the team and the management will have failed this season. We have to win at Burton on Saturday to keep up the momentum, otherwise the doom and gloom merchants will appear to the fore again in our roller-coaster season.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Bruce87

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • Obviously I really hope we get into the playoffs and get promotion via Wembley, but being realistic, Leeds are 6 points ahead on the same number of games, with 14 games left. This means we have to make-up half a point every game on them. Going to be tough unless they hit a lean spell. Hope we do it, but not very confident.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    MichiganCanary

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • Oh how fickle!! - Well at least AN is safe until the end of the season after a couple of good results - in fact he just might have the skills to take us to the EPL!!.......or maybe not. Enjoy the good times yes, but let's not get carried away here!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    walkerman1009

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

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