Iwan Roberts: Rhodes and Pukki – would you play them both, City fans?

PUBLISHED: 18:00 17 January 2019 | UPDATED: 18:20 17 January 2019

Teemu Pukki is replaced by Jordan Rhodes at Blackburn
 Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Teemu Pukki is replaced by Jordan Rhodes at Blackburn Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Paul Chesterton

After Jordan Rhodes came off the bench to score the equaliser and win a very valuable point for City at The Hawthorns, I’ve had a few conversations with supporters about whether Daniel Farke should play both Rhodes and top scorer Teemu Pukki together up front?

Darren Huckerby celebrates with Iwan Roberts after scoring City's final goal in a 3-1 home win over Ipswich in 2004 Picture: ArchantDarren Huckerby celebrates with Iwan Roberts after scoring City's final goal in a 3-1 home win over Ipswich in 2004 Picture: Archant

You know me, I’m a bit old-fashioned and set in my ways and, yes, I love seeing two quality strikers playing together and form a formidable and lethal partnership with an understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses – a bit like I did with Craig Bellamy and Darren Huckerby in my last season at Norwich.

But my answer to those people who have asked the question this week is quite simply NO!

Last season my answer would have been very different, with the team looking defensively solid but finding it very difficult to put the ball in the back of the nex. Last season the team scored just 49 goals in their 46 league games – even bottom-of-the-table Sunderland scored more goals.

But this season there’s been no such problem in front of goal. Norwich are joint second top scorers in the league – only last weekend’s opponents have scored more. Jordan’s equalising goal against The Baggies was the club’s 49th this season, already equalling last season’s tally with 19 games to play! So, no, I don’t think the manager needs to change to two forwards up front.

I’ve seen plenty of fights between team-mates of the years but never witnessed one while the squad was in a yoga class!

That’s exactly what happened between Fulham’s Aleksander Mitrovic and Aboubaker Kamara this week while they were in their weekly yoga session. I get the feeling that this feud has been brewing up for a couple of weeks now since Kamara took it upon himself to take a penalty against Huddersfield, one which he missed while the game was 0-0.

Mitrovic – who I hasten to add is Fulham’s designated penalty taker – saved Kamara’s blushes with a last-minute winner, but I guess he never quite forgave Kamara for going against Claudio Ranieri’s wishes and thinking of himself and not the team, and it all boiled over while they were all doing the cobra pose!

The best fight I’ve seen happened while we were on a winter break in the Spanish golf resort of La Manga with Wolves. All the players were in the hotel bar one night when all of a sudden England internationals Steve Bull and Geoff Thomas started arguing. For some reason there was no love lost between the pair and they’d never really got on and of course after a few drinks in the bar a few home truths were told and all hell broke loose!

They both started going at each other, fists were flying, arms were swinging until a few of us, including our manager Mark McGhee, jumped in and pulled them apart. Other hotel guests who were in the bar couldn’t quite believe what they’d witnessed and even though the incident had only lasted a few seconds it seemed to have gone on for ages.

As we pulled them apart their shirts were ripped and if my memory serves me correctly Geoff had a bloody lip, but Bully didn’t have a mark on him. Then McGhee started slaughtering Geoff, but didn’t say a word to Bully, which obviously didn’t sit well with Geoff and so he started squaring up to the manager. Thank goodness a few of the lads intervened before Geoff had done something he’d regret for the rest of his career.

I found out later that it had all kicked off because Bully had taken the mickey out of Geoff’s attempted chip over the French goalkeeper Gilles Rousset at Wembley in February 1992. It was a shocking chip that nearly hit the corner flag when Geoff was clean through with just Rousset to beat. I think Geoff had taken plenty of flak for this over the years and I guess Bully’s comments that fateful night were the straw that broke the camel’s back.

He only played a handful of games for Mark McGhee after that. I guess the manager never quite forgave him for some of the things he’d said to him and he was given a free transfer and so joined Nottingham Forest in 1997.

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