It’s now Norwich City’s to throw away
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
With just seven games remaining, the run in to the final game of the season at Goodison Park on May 15 promises to be even more of a bumpier ride than the one that has got us to this point of the season.
After the heady Christmas period, we all thought that we had turned the corner to then once again be back on our knees praying for a miracle.
After a very encouraging draw against Manchester City and an even more impressive away win at West Bromwich Albion, we have now at least put ourselves back in the driving seat.
It is now ours to throw away and as worrying as that maybe sounds based on the season so far, I am like many of you feeling good again that we can now avoid the drop.
Four wins must be a target now from the remaining seven games and it should be enough. But based on the season’s rollercoaster ride to date, nothing is guaranteed. But maybe, just maybe, our mojo is finally working. Maybe we can be more consistent and keep a regular starting eleven. Let’s hope so.
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John Ruddy is looking very sharp, back to his best in recent games and Timm Klose is now playing like the player that we hoped he would be when we signed him. His lack of fitness, getting used to new team mates in a different country and playing in the Premier League all appear to have been sorted now.
Let’s hope that Ryan Bennett is soon back in the team to play alongside him, as I do believe that we are a better team without Martin and Bassong anywhere near the central defensive partnership.
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In Gary O’Neil and Jonny Howson we appear to have at last found some stability in the middle of the park.
That headband of O’Neil’s so reminds me of the legendary performances of Trevor ‘the bush kangaroo’ Hockey back in the 1973 season, it and he are both inspiring on the pitch as was Hockey back in the day when he helped to keep us in the top flight. I hope that he keeps fit and continues to be able to lead us to survival as he is absolutely vital to our efforts.
I have to be brutally honest and say that unlike many of you I am not disappointed that Nathan Redmond is out for the next month or so. That may sound harsh? But my reasoning is this, whilst you can argue that we need everyone fit for the run in. We also need everyone fully committed to giving maximum effort in keeping us in the Premier League. My feelings are that if Redmond was fit then he would be a certain starter and I kind of get that for when he is on top of his game, but I maintain that he is more of a liability than a threat and we need solidity in our performances and not the laziness that all too often comes with his package.
Darren Huckerby wasn’t renowned for his defensive qualities, but he offered much more consistency up the top end of the pitch, he won countless games for us, Redmond has not.
We need players that will lay themselves on the line in every single minute of every single game to keep us up and maybe in the process earn themselves a new or improved contract.
I think that Matt Jarvis is the better man, the right man for the job and he fully deserves his place in the starting eleven or from the bench in front of Redmond. He along with Robbie Brady and Patrick Bamford certainly have goals in them. In also having Steven Naismith fit if that’s possible and Wes Hoolahan ready to terrorise any team, we have a fighting chance.
Inconsistency has been the downfall of our season to date, by having too many players from our hangover of three years ago still paying an all too regular role in team selections, we/they have just not been good enough on too many occasions.
Let us hope and pray that the past two results have not been a false dawn in our stop-start season.
I am fed up of saying this and of reading it also, but whether we manage to avoid the drop or not, can we please sign the players that we need to ensure that we are more comfortable in the top flight when it matters most, in the summer.
Can you remember how West Bromwich Albion used to be the Premier league yo-yo club? Now they are established and that has to be our goal. Ambition needs to start off the pitch rather than keep wiping away all of the hard work and money that we earn and spend on our way to getting to the promised land each time.
The supporters have stuck with their team and the manager, even when it has felt like rock bottom on occasion and full credit to them for that. The atmosphere should be white hot during the run-in and particularly during the next three games both home and away.
You couldn’t make it up could you? Newcastle United and Sunderland at home sandwiched in between an away day at a free-falling Crystal Palace.
As I said earlier, it is ours to throw away now. I am going for four consecutive wins, which will give us our best run since the one that started back in September where we had four games without defeat.
Oh my goodness, wouldn’t life be dull supporting any other club other than the Canaries?
• You can follow Steve Plunkett on Twitter at @plunkykos