A break in play we really did not need

PUBLISHED: 11:35 30 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:09 10 September 2010

Daphne Griffith, NCISA

What a strange week. No games in the Championship, and just when we are beginning to see a glimmer of light at the end of a long and treacherous tunnel.

What a strange week. No games in the Championship, and just when we are beginning to see a glimmer of light at the end of a long and treacherous tunnel.

The improvement in morale, passion and football quality has taken us clear of the bottom three, but leaves everything to fight for.

As Neil Adams said on this week's The Scrimmage: “If we keep winning we won't go down.” We could have done without the international break. The impetus we have built up over the past two months has been really impressive. Let's hope that the management and players come back against Sheffield Wednesday refreshed and even more determined.

Someone who has really impressed me this week is Ian Butterworth. If you haven't read David Cuffley's Pink 'Un interview with Ian, published online on March 24, then please try to.

Sometimes we fans wonder if those in the technical area see what is blatantly obvious from the stands. At last, in this interview, Ian has pinpointed the basic errors that have lost us too many games this season and how changes that have been made are proving effective.

Less impressive this season have been those many, many fans who have been constantly groaning about our loan players.

Norwich City have played by the rules of the loan system - so, if you don't like the system, vent your spleen on those who make the rules.

If you think we have the money to be able to buy enough players of sufficient quality - dream on. A look at the first team appearances table in the back of the last matchday programme shows that over this season, 50 per cent of the players making at least one first team appearance have been “our” players, the other 50 per cent have been loanees.

This statistic is enough to raise a lot of eyebrows, but the only real question is surely who has been playing well for Norwich City?

Based on this table, and including last week's epic against Birmingham, I have done my personal ratings on player performances so far this season. I have excluded any player, however brilliant, who has only made one substitute appearance (Cody McDonald).

I have to admit that this is totally subjective and unscientific, but it may stimulate some discussion. So, in no particular order: Best NCFC players: Croft, Clingan, Doherty, Hoolahan. Pretty sound on the whole: Marshall, Otsemobor, Russell. Best loan players: Shackell, Gow, Mooney, Bertrand, Lita. Pretty sound on the whole: Kennedy, Grounds, Lupoli, Omozusi.

These are the players, “ours” and loanees alike, who I feel have put in the effort, who have excited me, made me applaud, occasionally driven me to distraction - and for whom I don't feel my season ticket cost has been wasted, whatever happens after May 3.

As for Gunny and his management team, words can't describe the difference they have made.

Bring on Wednesday!

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