City's Sky Blue thinking
David Cuffley Manager Bryan Gunn is under no illusions about the task facing relegation-threatened Norwich City tomorrow as they bid for their first win in seven Championship games.
Manager Bryan Gunn is under no illusions about the task facing relegation-threatened Norwich City tomorrow as they bid for their first win in seven Championship games.
Coventry City visit Carrow Road (3pm) fresh from their FA Cup fifth round replay victory over Blackburn, which booked them a quarter-final at home to Chelsea.
And after the Sky Blues' successive league home wins against the top two sides, Wolves and Birmingham, Gunn realises the Canaries are facing one of the division's form teams.
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Gunn and assistant manager Ian Butterworth, a former Coventry player, watched the beat Blackburn and came away impressed.
He said: “They've won some big matches, derby matches. They're very confident. Ian and I were at the Ricoh Arena on Tuesday night and they thoroughly deserved their victory. It was 1-0 but we thought they were the better team.
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“They took their chance and defended well, there was a good goalkeeping performance from Kieran Westwood, they look a solid defensive unit and they have some experience in the side with Clinton Morrison up front alongside Leon Best. He's playing with his mask at the moment but doesn't seem to be fearing anyone.
“They put in a brave performance up front so we'll have a difficult task against a team that are bang in form.
“But we will be approaching it in the right manner and we hope we can keep up the level of performance we showed against Burnley and get something from the game.”
The Canaries have been criticised in some quarters for lack of striking power this season, with winger Lee Croft's five goals making him the top scorer among those still at the club.
But the Championship table shows only one side outside the top 10 has bettered City's tally of 44 league goals. By contrast, only bottom club Charlton have conceded more, with 55 to Norwich's 53.
“Last weekend we would have been happy to win the game 1-0, we'd have been delighted,” said Gunn. “But we have had some games this season where we've scored plenty - five against Wolves, four against Barnsley, three at Wolves.
“Last week we made enough chances in the game to win it convincingly but for an excellent goalkeeping performance by Brian Jensen.
“The qualities we showed and our passing and movement were as good as we've had over a longer period. We've had excellent halves against Barnsley and Southampton, but over a period of 90 minutes, that was one of the best performances we've had at home.
“There is a fine line and we can get to the other side of that line if we can get our 'goals for' record up and be a little bit meaner at the back.”
Gunn is expecting on-loan striker Alan Gow, who missed the Burnley match with a thigh injury, to be fit after he returned to training yesterday, but Jamie Cureton will be hoping to keep his place for his 100th City appearance after scoring last week.
“I hope I will have everyone available apart from Adam Drury, who will still be on his rest period after visiting the specialist, and Dejan Stefanovic,” he said.
Midfielder Sammy Clingan suffered no reaction to a thigh strain after returning to action against Burnley.
“It's good to have Sammy back - we were probably right to rest him or hold him back,” said Gunn. “Sammy wanted to push on but I think there are too many games for us to take a chance on him in case he pulled up. It was good to have him back, fit and raring to go.”
Coventry boss Chris Coleman may rest centre-half Ben Turner because of a tight hamstring, which could mean a recall for Scott Dann.
Former Norwich winger David Bell, cup-tied on Tuesday, looks set to be recalled on the left flank instead of striker Freddie Eastwood, who was played out of position against Blackburn.
There is also a possible change in central midfield where Guillaume Beuzelin could play if Coleman decides to rest Aran Gunnarsson or Michael Doyle.
Ex-Canary goalkeeper Andy Marshall is likely to be on the bench - he has never been on the losing side in six meetings with the Canaries since leaving the club - but striker Leon McKenzie is out for nine months after rupturing an Achilles tendon against Birmingham last week.