Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 0-0 Championship shutout against Nottingham Forest
PUBLISHED: 13:49 07 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:49 07 March 2018
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Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Carrow Road
1. Unforgiveable - Put to one side the fact Nelson Oliveira has scored once since Christmas Day.
Or that the Portugal international has form for petulance, after a bare-chested act of defiance towards his head coach at Fulham on the opening weekend.
Daniel Farke effectively questioned Oliveira’s professionalism as he explained his post-match decision to demote the striker.
To publicly suggest his absence from the matchday squad hinged on a ‘sluggish’ approach to training of late is scarcely believable.
This from a player who has been backed and praised in equal measure by his coach during a long dry spell. Even the decision to offload Cameron Jerome was in part a signal of how highly Oliveira is valued. That value may now be measured in pounds sterling come the summer transfer window.
How many more times he has to be indulged is the question.
There may well be a player of some ability in there, but the temperamental outbursts and the limited productivity make a compelling case to shove him out the door.
2. Dennis the menace - Not on the early evidence.
Srbeny is game and willing but there are plenty of rough edges that need to be refined.
Farke clearly felt the raw material was worth a gamble when he plucked him from the relative obscurity of the lower leagues in Germany. It has certainly worked with Christoph Zimmermann.
And it is the towering centre back’s career path at Norwich that requires restraint before making any definitive judgements on the young striker.
Zimmermann, at times, has looked out of his depth. Forest’s winner at the City Ground owed much to his failure to sense danger at the near post from Daryl Murphy.
Yet patience has been rewarded. Zimmermann has grown into the Championship.
It will take until next season before Srbeny can be judged. But he needs to sharpen up in every aspect of his forward play to bridge the gulf.
3. Why the mood music is so important - Stirring displays at Wolves and Derby recently re-affirm the belief Farke is on to something.
But the anaemic offerings at Carrow Road against Bolton and now Nottingham Forest are simply more of the same for long-suffering home fans.
It has been thin gruel and as the second half meandered on Tuesday it felt like palpable disinterest as hush descended.
Jamal Lewis spoke on the eve of this latest stalemate about the explosion of noise that greeted Timm Klose’s recent equaliser to deny Ipswich a victory.
That might be an extreme example of the ingredients readily available, but such potential exists.
Irrespective of the final league position this season, Farke and his squad must up the ante now to avoid the pessimism that might engulf too many supporters entering the summer if signs of progress are suffocated by underlying frustration.
4. Hail Hanley - There is one shining light through the attacking gloom; a prime cut of Scottish beef.
The jury will remain out on some recruitment decisions at this stage of the development process, but the powerhouse centre back has been a revelation.
Hanley’s play has a healthy arrogance to it that comes from a soaring confidence rooted in regular game-time.
The way he steamed across in the first half to bail out Klose earned him a spontaneous round of applause from many home sections.
Hanley appears to have been christened with the same terrace ditty that used to accompany Forest and England centre back Des Walker in his prime. If Hanley continues at a rapid rate of progress then he will warrant being mentioned in such exalted company.
5. On your bike, Ed - That image of Ed Sheeran proudly wearing an Ipswich Town shirt, which surfaced ahead of the game, was mocked on social media by Norwich fans with a super-imposed frame of Klose’s wild-eyed derby delight.
But given Town returned from Sheffield Wednesday with all three points, as Norwich limped to a fifth consecutive league draw, it brought into sharp focus one very real target still on the table between now and the end of the season.
Klose’s stoppage time goal may have prolonged Ipswich’s wait for a win in the neighbourly squabble but Blues’ fans will delight in finishing above Norwich for the first time in many a year.
Farke was at pains to stress last week there will be no coasting down the home straight on his watch.
A weekly glance at the league table from here should focus the minds.
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