An ideal time for the Canaries to rediscover their winning habit
Here we are again then – another shot at cup glory. Norwich City’s record in knock-out competition over the last decade and more is shocking. But for the last three seasons, it was an itch bringing only mild frustration as the league heights soothed.
So where are we in 2012-13 ahead of Doncaster Rovers’ League Cup third round visit on Wednesday night?
Well, certainly not where some had their sights in the final weeks of last season – when a top-10 finish, Europe and a cup final were on some people’s wish list.
Fortunately – and through some of City’s results, unfortunately – the expectations have been readjusted to more sensible proportions.
So what of City’s game with Donny? The argument is easy: City will dare not take it lightly, and dare not lose out.
It’s all a little sticky at Carrow Road at the moment. The air isn’t as breezy and some fans are already sitting uncomfortably – whether that’s right or not. Just a few minutes on the pinkun.com Norwich City matchday coverage can tell you that.
And in terms of momentum and perception in the crowd, losing tonight’s League Cup game is a different matter to slipping up at home to MK Dons last term.
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I’m not trying to ramp up the pressure; merely reflect it. And there will be no getting away from it inside Carrow Road. That will need to be accepted and dealt with – dealing with it arguably being the real challenge.
City were excellent against Scunthorpe in the second round, and with a few fresh faces expected, it should be the same again. With Saturday’s fascinating top-flight visit from Liverpool on the horizon, it needs to be.
City are not far off getting it right, as most of us will agree. And we are all willing it to happen, sooner or later. And clearly, the sooner the better.
Pundit Kris Kamara agrees – and respect to him for taking time out of his no doubt busy comedy TV advert schedule to comment.
“Even though Norwich are playing well they are not winning games and that is obviously the main priority for Chris Hughton and for the club,” he said.
“Chris will need to make sure that everyone is focused for Doncaster because that is an important game for the club given the way the season has gone so far.
“Given what has happened, there won’t even be a chance for Chris to think he could rest any players in the game against Doncaster.
“In many ways he might not want to anyway because when you have a start like they have, the most important thing is to try to get some wins and build momentum.
“If Norwich are going to stay in the Premier League this year Carrow Road needs to be a place where they can pick up plenty of points – so a win against Doncaster would get them started.”
Kamara is busy doing his bit to spruce up the Capital One Cup – definitely not the Cocup – by doing more of his comedy videos (facebook.com/capitaloneuk should you wish). But maybe the cups still have a bit of magic left in them yet.
“The attitude to the cup from clubs has changed and you see every team in the Premier League minus the top four playing their best players and wanting to win it because they know how important trophies can be,” added Kamara.
“Arsenal, Liverpool and Birmingham have shown that in the last two seasons…and Norwich will be no different and will be going out to try to win the cup.”
Indeed – but for now, winning the next game is most important.