The most memorable aspect of Norwich City’s goalless draw on Saturday was the giant meat pie that was, at one stage, walking towards me.  

It turned out to be Wigan’s cult mascot ‘Crusty the Pie’ but for a moment I wondered whether this was an hallucination brought on by a month on The David Wagner diet. 

Six league games in to life under the new head coach and it’s been feast or famine.  

The Canaries have scored 11 goals. It’s a marked improvement given that the six Championship matches before Wagner arrived brought a meagre total of just four Norwich City goals. What makes the German’s start all the more remarkable is that in three of those games City haven’t scored at all.  

Wigan joined Bristol City and Burnley in shutting out the shot-shy Canaries. Could this really be the same squad that had plundered four goals against Preston and Coventry and hammered three past Hull just a few days earlier? 

The Pink Un: David Wagner has had to shuffle his front line recentlyDavid Wagner has had to shuffle his front line recently (Image: Focus Images)

Well, it was and it wasn’t. Wagner is grappling with two main issues. One being a lack of Canary consistency and the other the looming prospect of the post-Pukki era. 

Wagner’s immediate new manager bounce was inspired by an attacking awesome foursome. Onel Hernandez, Kieran Dowell, Josh Sargent and Teemu Pukki were displaying all the chemistry of a 90’s boyband but without the high stools.  

A few short weeks later injuries and musical differences had taken their toll. City were struggling to trouble bottom-of-the-table Wigan, ending with a tribute band in attack of Christos Tzolis, Liam Gibbs, Marcelino Nunez and Adam Idah. You would have got good odds on that line-up coming together a month ago.  

All four have shown promise to varying degrees in their Canary careers to date but are yet to harness anything like the consistency required to power a play-off push.  

It often seems that nothing improves a player’s reputation more than an injury. The answer to whatever issue a team has tends to lie in the treatment room. Last Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Hull City suggested that life without Teemu Pukki, whenever that comes to pass, may not be the lost cause that Norwich fans have been fearing.  

Some were even daring to suggest that an over reliance on the fine Finn was becoming an issue in itself. Perhaps others would be able to thrive given an opportunity to step out of Pukki’s long shadow.  

Then came the tame 0-0 at Wigan. Suddenly it wasn’t just Pukki’s goal threat that was conspicuous by its absence. His movement, his presence, his ability to lay on chances for team mates. Only one player has provided more assists in the entire Championship this season. When he does go, and remember his contract expires at the end of this season, Pukki’s certainly going to take some replacing. But we’ve said that about players before. Change is all part of it, or we’d still be relying on Robert Fleck and Robert Rosario to do a job up front together at the ages of 57 and 56 respectively.  

The successful evolution of a squad is a constant battle and one that has stalled at Carrow Road during the yo-yo years.  

Wagner is certainly having a good look at the Pukki alternatives that already exist. The broad trend over the past month has been encouraging. It was three wins from 16 games before this current run of three from six.  

He must now find a way of spreading the treats a little more evenly. A season’s worth of 11 goals every six games would make a total of 84 in The Championship. That’s nine more than City got in their most recent title winning campaign. Instead of these binges Wagner needs to make Norwich City goals part of a more balanced diet.  


Home comforts? 


It’s going to be a big week at Carrow Road.  

When Josh Sargent crashed in the third goal against Hull last Tuesday night the old place began to rediscover its voice. One win in 11 home games had taken its toll. David Wagner seemed genuinely surprised in the post-match interviews that he had just overseen City’s first Carrow Road win since before Lionel Messi had won a World Cup.  

It’s a fanbase that has been starved of success in recent times. Wagner must know that repeating the Hull performance and result is the surest way to endear himself to his new supporters.  

The Pink Un: Blackburn have a better record at Carrow Road than Norwich City this yearBlackburn have a better record at Carrow Road than Norwich City this year (Image: Focus Images)

Home games against Birmingham and Cardiff tonight and on Saturday provide an opportunity. The Championship and Norwich City don’t really deal in home bankers but if a late charge into the top six really is a possibility a healthy return against two of the bottom seven this week is an absolute must.  

Norwich’s first task is to catch-up with Blackburn Rovers and not just in terms of league position. Rovers are currently two places and three points better off than the Canaries. However, and this is probably one of the most startling and yet telling facts about Norwich City this season, Blackburn have won more times at Carrow Road since October than the Canaries.  

Their two wins in league and cup either side of Christmas make them NR1’s most successful team in recent months.  

If that’s still the case at the end of this week it might be time to do a full Chris Sutton and actively get behind Blackburn Rovers’ Premier League ambitions. Not that I think they’d be prepared to pay anything like £5 million for our services.