We need fresh blood and a bit of luck

PUBLISHED: 12:40 07 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:06 14 September 2010

If this column had been written last week, after the win at Leicester, it might have been a bit over the top. The decision to wait until after the Preston game does mean it's a more realistic view of our club at the beginning of 2006.

If this column had been written last week, after the win at Leicester, it might have been a bit over the top. The decision to wait until after the Preston game does mean it's a more realistic view of our club at the beginning of 2006. So, no excess euphoria over the five straight wins.

By the time you read this, Dean Ashton may no longer be a Norwich City player, and Dickson Etuhu will have signed his contract.

Monday's walloping by Preston was a comprehensive defeat by a better team. For the first 45 minutes Norwich honestly looked as if they might be happy with a point. City basically threw it away - tiredness and errors being the culprits.

Apart from Mr Miller, the referee, who seemed to be working hard for the “worst ref ever seen at Carrow Road” award (not just for the penalty/no penalty decisions, but because he did absolutely nothing to prevent Preston's time-wasting tactics throughout the game) the other outstanding message from the game was that we are all at sea without Safri. Robinson put in a few neat passes, but once he retired hurt, there was no midfield, no width and no hope left - except when Green hoofed the occasional ball towards Ashton.

It isn't a fluke that our recent huge upturn in form has coincided with good service to Ashton - from Safri's corners, crosses from Drury and accurate passing from McVeigh and Huckerby.

I really want Ashton to stay but with no service to him, he is an expensive luxury. It's a bit like having a Ferrari in the garage during a fuel shortage - a good-looking waste of space.

Against Preston there was no Safri, McVeigh and Huckerby were exhausted from loony scheduling, Drury was injured and there were some interesting/eccentric substitutions.

So this January we need some new, really good players all over the pitch particularly in midfield. I like what I have seen of Robinson, the jury is still out on Etuhu and we seriously need a real goal-scoring striker.

With some fresh blood and a bit of luck, we can still make the play-offs.

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