Norwich City's opening run of matches following the World Cup pause could be decisive in terms of their season. 

That was the view shared in our latest edition of the Pink Un Podcast this week where host Connor Southwell was joined by Adam Harvey and Along Come Norwich's Jon Punt to discuss all the latest Canaries talking points.


The trio discussed Josh Sargent's injury concern and his performances at the World Cup as well as whether a Carrow Road game is the next step for the club's women's team following their excellent FA Cup second-round win last weekend. 

Norwich return to Championship action a week on Saturday as they travel to Russell Martin's Swansea hoping to display improvement following a poor run of form prior to the league break. 

Ahead of their trip to South Wales, our guests discussed what improvements need to be happen if they are to see an uplift in both performance and results - with head coach Dean Smith under pressure. 

CS: There are going to be no excuses for Norwich City after the break. If you're a member of the club's hierarchy looking for a period to assess then this block of games from when they come back at Swansea until early February looks quite difficult in terms of teams that they are facing. This is going to be a really important block of games for Dean Smith, isn't it?

JP: The first five or six games from when they come back will define their season - they will shape where Norwich City end up.

Dean Smith has been really clear that he knows where their deficiencies lie and he has laid that out clearly. Anyone listening to his press conferences won't necessarily disagree with anything he is saying, they are just a little bit frustrated that he hasn't found a formula that helps fix our frailties.

That is the bit that needs to change. Norwich have to play with a bit more purpose, be better with their pressing, in terms of concentration and if they aren't, then this unravels really quickly.

But if they are, then this can still be a really successful season. I don't think anybody can say with any kind of confidence which way they think it will go.

There is a year's worth of evidence to suggest that maybe this group of players aren't as engaged as perhaps they should be but equally there are moments where it all clicks.

The mitigation for this particular squad of players is that if you look at someone like Isaac Hayden, he was rushed back into duty - same with Sam McCallum. There were particular positions where Norwich just had to make do. Kenny McLean deputised at left-back, Liam Gibbs had to play when nobody expected him to. Those excuses are gone now.

We should be seeing a Norwich side that resembles their best XI. Everyone should be expecting that they can perform and compete. If they don't, then it will be a failure of management and of that there would be no doubt. 

CS: If we look solely at Swansea - the narrative is already there given who occupies the home dugout - but they really found form prior to the break.

It's going to be a real test for Norwich, there will be no easing back into competitive football. What are you hoping to see from their performance, Adam?

Dean Smith has made a fairly long checklist of what needs to improve within their game - what do you specifically want to see when Norwich return to league action in South Wales?

The Pink Un: Norwich City will need some improvement in the final third. Norwich City will need some improvement in the final third. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Limited)

AH: I'm just hoping Norwich perform for a more sustained period of time rather than just for 20 minutes of the game. That's probably the first thing I want to see. I want to see improvements across the board.

They've had their trip to Tampa and that is the opportunity he's been given to work with the players to drill in what he wants to improve. I want to see them improve in the final third.

They've worked opportunities but have been so wasteful. Onel Hernandez has been frustrating in terms of finishing this season and Teemu Pukki hasn't had the service he would typically want in the Championship.

- Listen to the latest edition of our Norwich City podcast above or through your favoured podcast player. 

The mistakes that Norwich have made this season have been an alarming regularity and hopefully this will be eradicated or I fear this season could end negatively in terms of where Norwich are going.

Hopefully, this break will be the revitalisation that they need to ensure the second half of this season is positive.