Canaries look to rebuild fortress

Norwich City will be aiming to rebuild their fortress over the remaining three months of the season - after seeing it come tumbling down in spectacular fashion since the turn of the year.

Norwich City will be aiming to rebuild their fortress over the remaining three months of the season - after seeing it come tumbling down in spectacular fashion since the turn of the year.

When the Canaries came out distinctly second best in Sunday's East Anglian derby it was their fourth successive defeat at Carrow Road.

That's the worst run of home form from a Norwich City side in nearly 40 years, so it was hardly surprising that a significant number of fans chose to voice their disapproval at the end, with some of them continuing their protests in the street oustide the stadium after the game.

You have to go back to the early stages of the 1968-69 season - when Lol Morgan was manager - for the previous occasion the Carrow Road faithful were forced to endure such a miserable run. On that occasion the Canaries were beaten by Portsmouth (0-1), Hull (1-2) and Crystal Palace (0-1) in the old Division Two before being hammered 4-0 by Southampton in the League Cup.


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The current dismal sequence is also made up of three league and one knock-out defeat, with City having lost to Preston (0-3), Watford (2-3) and Ipswich (1-2) in the Championship and West Ham (1-2) in the third round of the FA Cup.

Ironically City rounded off 2005 by winning four home games on the spin, but the sudden downturn in fortunes has left them staring at their worst overall record at Carrow Road since the 1987-8 season, when they were beaten eight times in 20 top flight fixtures.

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They have now lost six league games on their own territory this term. That's just one defeat fewer than they suffered during the whole of last season's topsy-turvy Premiership campaign - and there are still seven more fixtures to be played.

It's all a far cry from the first three complete seasons of Nigel Worthington's managerial reign, when the Canaries proved to be extremely difficult to beat on their own ground. The phrase 'Fortress Carrow Road' was first coined during the 2001-2 campaign, when City lost just two home games all season on their way to the Division One play-off final.

Their formed dipped a little the following season, when they were beaten on five occasions, but the high standards were resumed in no uncertain fashion in 2003-4 when they again lost just two home fixtures, with a run of eight straight victories at the start laying the foundations for a stunning title triumph.

The Canaries will probably be relieved that their next fixture is at Hull's KC Stadium, rather than Carrow Road. They may have been hammered 4-0 in their previous away game at Reading - but before then they had strung together an unbeaten four match sequence, with consecutive victories against Crewe (2-1), Sheffield United (3-1) and Leicester (1-0) being followed by a 1-1 draw at Plymouth.

If they could get back to winning ways on Humberside then it would set them up nicely for a touch of fortress re-constructing against Brighton and Derby next week.

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