Melissa Rudd

There would have been a cruel irony if Russell Martin’s departure last week had preceded a first derby loss since before he joined the club.

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While there is little doubt that table-toppers Leeds would cause most Championship teams problems playing how they did on Saturday, their comfortable win at Carrow Road highlighted more worrying wider issues for City.

The League Cup may be a staple in the English footballing calendar, but since Norwich City lifted it at Wembley 33 years ago there’s little doubt its stature in the game has dwindled, along with its attendances.

In the 13-week period that Norwich City’s fortunes did not pre-occupy supporters’ minds this summer, those of us who followed every kick of England’s exploits in Russia were reminded how special this game can be when hope far outweighs expectation.

It was a freezing February night in 1996 when I first laid eyes on Carrow Road.

As the Fulham fans belted out chants of “We are going up” at the full-time whistle on Good Friday, it was hard not to feel envious.

If ever a crowd needed to see goals to warm them up, Saturday was it.

It says a lot about where Norwich City find themselves at this moment in time that matters on the pitch were almost a sideshow this week.

When the stadium announcer declared that six minutes had been added on against Bolton on Saturday there was an audible gasp of excitement.

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