I can’t wait to see Alex Pritchard back for Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Following Norwich City through this new era has taken on a Kafkaesque complexity.
My journeys down to Carrow Road on match days have an ambivalent feeling about them, a feeling that intensifies with each game we fail to yield three points. Yet when Daniel Farke’s team bus is out on tour I have the utmost confidence that we will secure the smash and grab result we have managed to get down to a fine art, through our transformed defence and James Maddison’s valuable right foot, which is probably now worth considerably more than its weight in gold.
It begs the question as to whether Farke’s modus operandi can be equally as effective at home as it has been away. Two wins from our first seven attempts at Carrow Road represents a relatively meagre sum in contrast to the five victories we had accumulated by this stage last season. Is it down to bad luck? Or are we just resigned to the fact that an extremely injury-prone Nelson Oliveira and the regressing potency of Cameron Jerome means we are going to struggle to score goals until we bring in some reinforcements in January?
I have heard numerous accounts stating that the likes of Burton, Bristol City and Hull were terrific defensively. As much as that may be true, I would apportion more of the cause towards our inability to put teams to the sword. With a lack of competition in the striking department, you do wonder whether Norwich will be able to administer goals in abundance. Having yet to score more than two goals in a league game this season, the negativity does start to set in further, especially with the ominous task of early-season pacesetters Wolves on the horizon.
We have a return of six goals in seven league games, the same amount as we managed during 45 minutes of the Reading rampage at the back end of last season. Alex Pritchard was a catalyst in that dazzling performance and his impending return is hotly anticipated by all connected to the Canaries. In Pritchard’s absence, the pressure is mounting on Maddison to deliver and it is starting to feel we have developed an over-dependency on him to provide the goals, with our alternative attacking options looking increasingly devoid of confidence.
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Wes Hoolahan, yet to score in the league this campaign, had a forgettable afternoon in what not all City fans would agree is his most effective position on the right side of midfield. Both Mario Vrancic and Marley Watkins haven’t looked particularly threatening since their summer arrivals. As for Jerome, a return of one goal from eight games is disappointing for a striker whose commitment to the cause cannot be questioned.
There’s no question that the Canaries are in a far more prosperous position since the mauling from the Millwall Lions last month. The return of Timm Klose and emergence of Tom Trybull have been the catalyst for the uprising of a nastier Norwich who are able to win the ugly games we were surrendering without as much of a whimper under Alex Neil.
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However, with an extended period of absence imminent for Oliveira, and a jaded forward in Jerome, you do feel that if Norwich are going to have a sustained challenge for promotion, striking recruits in January are an absolute necessity.
Oh, and we could do certainly do with the services of one Mr Pritchard, who is very much notable in his absence.