Upward mobility in reach for City chief

Daniel Sinani had a loan spell to remember at Huddersfield but is part of Norwich City's Championship quest

Daniel Sinani had a loan spell to remember at Huddersfield but is part of Norwich City's Championship quest - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Dean Smith is convinced the statistics do lie around Norwich City’s patchy Championship start. 

The Canaries have taken one point from the opening nine available, ahead of Huddersfield’s midweek visit to Carrow Road. 

But in terms of chance creation, control of possession and Tim Krul’s lack of meaningful work Smith feels the underlying metrics are sound. 

“We are harder to beat. I mean, it sounds weird, because I'm saying that and we've just lost two out of the first three,” he said. “But Cardiff didn't have a shot on target, because I'm not counting the pass that led to their goal.

"Tim did not have many saves against Wigan, but we presented the opposition with a chance from a big mistake. The same at Hull. It was a mistake from us in the 43rd minute that cost us.  

“In terms of defensive soundness I think we haven't given the opposition too much at all. People here have probably seen more of Max Aarons than me at Norwich, and very rarely would he make that type of mistake.

"That's something that you can't legislate for. But we won't see it too often.  

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"You don't have to go and tell Max not to kick the ball at Andrew (Omobamidele). He knows that and understands that. Ben Gibson gave a pass away against Wigan. That happens. If they didn't know then it'd be worrying but they certainly do know.

"There's not an awful lot wrong, apart from the results at the moment. So as long as we keep knocking on the door, then results will change.” 

Smith is trying to strike the balance between injecting self-belief into his squad and mapping out his red lines. 

“I keep stressing to the players that all they can control is their performances. Their performances have been good enough for the last couple of games to win them both,” said the City chief.

“They weren't good enough to win the Cardiff game, because we didn't create enough. But we're creating enough in the last two games to win them. I think prior to the Hull game we'd had the most shots in the league.  

“The size of the chances that we're creating are very good. The conversion rates need to be higher. But if Kieran Dowell and AJ (Aaron Ramsey) had the chances again they had on Saturday at Hull I guarantee they score.

"It was just one of those days. All you can do is keep creating opportunities.” 

The Terriers were one of the surprise packages last season in a run to a Wembley play-off final that featured City loanee Danel Sinani. 

Dean Smith is sure Norwich City is on the right track 

Dean Smith is sure Norwich City is on the right track - Credit: Focus Images Ltd

Smith has thus far resisted the temptation to hand the Luxembourg international a Championship start. 

“He is in our thoughts because of the way he's trained and the way he played against Birmingham City as well (in the cup),” said the Norwich boss. “We had a good look at him in pre-season as well and he knows what's required. He's a good player. He's one that we're happy to have around us.

"I've seen quite a bit of them and know their players because of watching Danel last season. So another tough test. But again, it's about concentrating on ourselves. 

“We started very well in both the Wigan and Hull games, but teams will come back into a game at some stage. Then it's our job to change that around. We wanted to press Hull a certain way on Saturday and after 15 minutes we had to change it because they changed their system slightly.” 

Jacob Sorensen (foot) has now joined Dimi Giannoulis (ankle) and Sam McCallum as a longer term injury absentee.

Smith indicated on Monday Huddersfield's visit would come too soon for Sam Byram and Adam Idah. Teemu Pukki was also set for a precautionary x-ray on a bruised foot, but Smith was confident he would be fit to lead the line.