Paddy Davitt delivers his Coventry verdict after Norwich City’s stirring Championship comeback win.

1. ‘2-1 to the sexy boys’

A mad second half of football at Carrow Road. Three goals, one red card for Coventry’s Liam Kitching. And a sublime match winning strike from Borja Sainz’s box of tricks. Not quite as far out as his stunning solo effort against Liverpool at Anfield on FA Cup duty last weekend, but in the bigger picture, arguably far more significant.

Coventry were in the top six at kick-off, and on a run of just one defeat in 16 in all competitions. They also took the lead through their talisman Callum O’Hare.

But David Wagner’s side dug deep. After wins over West Brom and Hull City, a battling draw against Southampton and plenty of spirit in a narrow defeat at Leeds, this was more evidence for the prosecution in assessing their genuine play-off credentials.

When the Sky Blues took the lead, their large travelling support mocked Wagner for, in their eyes and maybe those of Mark Robins, disparaging pre-match comments about Coventry’s status in the Championship.

Wagner also spoke in glowing terms about the job Robins has done in the West Midlands, but that would appear to have been lost in translation. A point the man himself brought up in his post-match media, with an unprompted apology for any misrepresentation of his pre-match sound bites. 

But it was the home fans who could delight in that chant when Sainz completed a comeback against the 10-players that, much like the previous home win over the Baggies, felt so much bigger than simply another three points to a growing Championship tally.

Add in a late debut for deadline night signing Sydney van Hooijdonk and this was not far off the perfect afternoon.

2. Games within games

When Kitching departed with just under 20 minutes left of normal time, after he clipped the excellent Josh Sargent, it felt like Wagner may have reached a defining point in his, and Norwich’s, season.

For 10 minutes or so thereafter, after Gabby Sara had clipped the following free kick against the top of Collins’ bar, it was Coventry who looked to be handling the imbalance in numbers.

But for Angus Gunn’s reflexes Kasey Palmer would have smashed Coventry in front. But Wagner held his nerve, when plenty were baying for van Hooijdonk to enter the fray. Ashley Barnes had a key role in the equaliser slammed home by Sargent within two minutes of his arrival.

Then it was Sam McCallum controlling Kenny McLean’s raking crossfield ball, before shovelling it inside for Sainz to exchange a pass with Barnes and curl a sumptuous finish around Collins.

Norwich, and Gunn, managed the time that remained with few real alarms. The outcome may have far-reaching ramifications on how the rest of this season unfolds.

Make no mistake, a single point in such favourable circumstances, would have exposed Wagner to forensic scrutiny.

Not only did he land the win, but he stalled Coventry's upward trajectory and sucked them back into that scrap which has a posse of clubs below the top four.

3.  Window of opportunity

Quite the confidence trick engineered by Ben Knapper to effectively reduce your senior panel by two players in the January transfer window, but engender a genuine sense of excitement around the deadline night arrival of van Hooijdonk.

The official confirmation came 10 minutes before the clock ticked past 11pm, but van Hooijdonk was in the building from the previous night, and there was nothing in the intervening period that triggered any alarms inside the camp of a sour late twist in that particular transfer drama.

A 23-year-old forward with a famous family name and, more importantly, an impressive goalscoring ratio in a Dutch league perhaps more of a barometer of Championship combat than the higher quality and technical threshold of Serie A.

That is not to dismiss van Hooijdonk’s limited game time this season at Bologna, but a recognition he is the not the finished article for one of Europe’s major leagues.

Weigh in with goals, and eyecatching performances down the stretch, and it would be no surprise if that buy option is exercised. A potential spearhead of the Dutchman and Sargent might have more than few City fans salivating.

There was no real chance in a brief cameo against Coventry to showcase his predatory instincts inside the box. But the broad smile across his features as he headed down the tunnel at the final whistle suggested he had enjoyed his first taste of featuring in green and yellow.

The pursuit of Jonathan Varane, meanwhile, went as far as it became clear Sporting Gijon’s valuation was some way higher than City’s for a player of promise, but who they view as another mid to longer term option.

But there is a thread connecting both players, given Knapper arrived with a desire to lower the age profile of the squad he inherited.

It might not have sated the appetite for a busier window for some - which overlooks the trends in the game generally and the financial picture at Carrow Road - but it did suggest the upcoming summer window could bring more excitement, if they can source more emerging talent.

4. Bouncing Bhoy

A first Celtic appearance and a first Celtic assist for Adam Idah in the Scottish giants’ 1-1 Scottish Premiership draw at Aberdeen earlier on Saturday.

Not a bad introduction for the Irishman, whose head must have been spinning when the Parkhead club made their move after Verona’s initial interest stalled over their buy option offer to the Canaries.

No such complication in the deal that brought Idah to Glasgow. He will return to the Canaries in the summer. But it feels a faultline has been crossed.

If he did not see a route to regular first team football under Wagner now, he must feel the same will be true when he returns. While Norwich’s willingness to eventually grant him his wish tells you the view inside the building.

City’s loan with a buy option for van Hooijdonk already feels like they are moving on. Knapper and Norwich will hope Idah delivers the goal contributions that raise his profile and should they opt to cash in mean there are plenty of suitors beyond Celtic.

Brendan Rodgers hit the nail on the head in his first public pronouncements after Idah’s arrival. There is a young player of some talent but his challenge is to unlock that potential. Whether it was Idah himself or a succession of Norwich head coaches since his teenage debut at first team level that talent remains unfulfilled.

Time will tell who has got the better end of this striker shuffle.