Ian Clarke: If City are on fire after bonfire night we can start to dream
PUBLISHED: 20:00 17 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:28 18 October 2018
If a week is a long time in politics, then two weeks without domestic football really drags for those who are club rather than country fans.
I know I’m not alone in itching to get back into the cut and thrust of life in the Championship.
To help pass the time without a City match, I’ve been having a close look at the up coming games.
By the time the smoke settles from another bonfire night, the Canaries will have rattled through four more league games plus the League Cup trip to Bournemouth.
At that point Daniel Farke’s men will be more than a third of the way through the campaign. That is certainly a good time to make a well informed judgement on how the season is panning out and if the Canaries really can mount a serious challenge.
Of course there will still be ages to go with countless twists and turns to come.
However, for me the next period will answer key questions I have surrounding the team.
I wrote last time about the crucial togetherness which has played such a massive part in seeing the Canaries to the edge of the play-offs.
Bouncebackabilty is another feature we have witnessed this term which hasn’t been in evidence in some recent seasons,
City have won after each defeat this term. That fact mustn’t be overlooked and says a lot about the character and determination.
Doing it at a sell-out City Ground on Saturday will be far from easy, especially as Forest remain unbeaten on home soil in the league.
However, the East Midlands ground has been a pretty happy hunting ground for City in the past few years with three of the last five matches being away wins.
Everything is crossed that man of the moment Teemu Pukki hasn’t picked up a serious injury after his time with Finland.
It won’t be a disaster if he can’t start on Saturday. After all Jordan Rhodes is a man in form and will be fresh after the international break.
Pukki, however, has been such a massively positive influence on the club so we want him back as soon as is humanly possible.
I’ve been thrilled by the emergence of the Fab Three of Jamal Lewis, Max Aarons and Todd Cantwell.
Farke deserves huge credit for giving them a chance. His faith is being rewarded in bucket loads by the trio.
I so hope they can carry on the momentum. What a brilliant advert they are for the academy. For me the success of the club going forward will be mirrored by the extent to which the kids can keep progressing.
On paper the visit of Villa to NR1 shouldn’t pose too many problems on Tuesday night.
If nothing else, City are loving the midweek fixtures this season - with five wins and a draw from the six matches.
The Midlanders find themselves in 15th place in the table and have just one win on the road.
What we do need to be wary of, though, is the spring that the new management duo of Dean Smith and John Terry are likely to inject.
It seems likely we’ll be in for an entertaining evening. Forty goals have been scored in Villa’s games this campaign, third highest behind West Brom and Preston.
Brentford are sure to be smarting from the loss of Smith and the seventh-placed Bees will definitely be a test for the Canaries the following Saturday.
If you’re looking for positives, however, they still have yet to record an away win from their six games and have only managed an average of one goal per match. That’s in stark contrast to their sparkling home form.
Is the trip to Bournemouth a free hit with no pressure? Possibly.
Farke has made it clear that he takes the cups seriously and the way he has approached the three games so far backs that up.
I’m pretty sure Eddie Howe will be well up for it. His team are nicely placed in sixth place in the top flight. He’s got to have a great chance for a run deep into the competition.
The victory at Cardiff last month and the performances at Arsenal and Chelsea last season proved City can mix it with the big boys in knockout matches.
A win there would be fantastic.
Fireworks weekend sees Norwich heading to Hillsborough to face Sheffield Wednesday, who are filling the last of the play-off slots and are yet to be beaten in their back yard.
We have to hope any scars from last term’s 5-1 shocker in South Yorkshire have gone. That was the same score as the previous visit to Wednesday and it’s been almost 17 years since City won there. Time to end that barren run.
Right here we go. Let’s hope our boys give us some exciting fireworks on the pitch to remember in the next fortnight - and don’t need a rocket from the boss.... OTBC.
Pride of Anglia
There are certainly some big games on the pitch in the coming days – plus a battle to be pride of Anglia off it.
The Top Of The Terrace at Carrow Road will be the venue for an all-star quiz between teams representing the Canaries and the Blues organised by the Norwich City Fans Social Club.
NCFSC put on some great nights and raise lots of money for the Community Sports Foundation and the latest event on Thursday, October 25, 7 for 7.30pm will certainly be one to remember.
City legend Darren Eadie will be host and the yellows will be represented by derby hat-trick hero Grant Holt plus Radio Norfolk duo Chris Goreham and Rob Butler.
Media pundit Stuart Jarrold, veteran journalist Mel Henderson and former star defender Terry Butcher will be in the blue corner.
The quiz will be followed by a Q&A session. Pay at the door - £3 adults, £1 children.
Website www.ncfsc.co.uk , twitter @NorwichCityFSC and facebook Norwich City Fans Social Club.
Holding the baby...or not
It’s been great to hear lots of fantastic memories this week as we mark the 25th anniversary of that amazing UEFA Cup triumph in Munich.
For supporters of a certain age, it was unbelievable to finally see our beloved team play in a European competition.
I watched the home leg of the first round as we overcame Vitesse Arnhem. I would have loved to have travelled to Germany for the second round tie but our first daughter Emily had just been born, so thought it best to stay on these shores.
The night of the game was the first time since we became parents that my wife went out leaving me in charge.
I didn’t have huge expectation of an upset, so thought I’d cuddle our little treasure on the sofa while tuning in on the radio.
Well, messrs Goss and Bowen had other plans! It was while I was doing the bottle feeding that Gossy banged in THAT goal - and I just couldn’t contain my joy. Fortunately I just (and I mean just) managed to hang on to Emily!