Iwan Roberts: Pukki deserves his place among the Norwich City greats
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
As a former Norwich City centre forward and someone who knows exactly how difficult it is to score goals I’ve got to start my column this week with Teemu Pukki’s fantastic achievement up at Ewood Park last Saturday.
Fifty goals in 100 appearances for Norwich City is magnificent and there’s plenty more to come, I’m sure.
I played 306 games for the club, scoring 96 goals. That’s a ratio of a goal every 3.1 games and considering I scored seven in my first season (33 appearances) I’m quite pleased with my record. In my career I played 754 games, scoring 239 goals, again a ratio of a goal every 3.1 games.
On June 30, 2018 Teemu joined Norwich on a free transfer and if I’m honest I hadn’t really heard of him. Wales hadn’t played against Finland for a good few years so I hadn’t seen him play really. He’d been at some big clubs but hadn’t stayed anywhere longer than three years, his goal scoring record wasn’t great until he joined Danish club Brondby and in his last two seasons he notched 71 goals in his 164 games there, which caught Norwich’s attention.
I think it’s fair to say Teemu settled quicker than snow at Norwich. He hit the ground running scoring six league goals in his first 10 appearances, that’s one more league goal than I scored in my first 33 games for the club!
He had a tough second half to last season and didn’t score from open play in Norwich’s last 21 games. I said at the beginning of this season that if Norwich were going to bounce straight back to the Premier League getting Teemu confident once again and firing on all cylinders would be vital.
He got off to a slow start this season, scoring just once in the club’s opening six league games but since his goal against Wycombe at Carrow Road on October 24 he’s now got eight goals in his last 12 games. I think it’s fair to say Teemu’s back, and he didn’t mess about on getting close to his second half century with his penalty strike against Reading on Wednesday night.
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I’ve seen a lot of Cardiff over the last few weeks and on their day they can be a real handful. If you’re not ready to compete and think your football will be enough then you’re in for a shock. I saw them last Saturday against Swansea and they were awful, but I saw them at Watford a couple of weeks ago and they were excellent.
Like Norwich they go into the game with injuries in particular to their top scorer Kieffer Moore who’s out for six weeks with hamstring trouble. Their win against Birmingham the other night was their fifth in their last six games but they know they come into this game as big underdogs with Norwich losing just one of their last 15 games and having won 11 of those 15.
I never played against Cardiff on too many occasions but one game I played against them stands out by a country mile. It was at this time of the year back in 2003 we played Cardiff at home in what was Hucks’ last game for the club as his loan was up. He was unplayable that Saturday afternoon, he scored one made two, including one for myself and he absolutely tortured the Cardiff back four all game. They just didn’t know what to do.
After the game we were obviously overjoyed with our performance but we were gutted that that was to be Darren’s last game for the club. However, we needn’t have been as 18 days later Delia and Michael unveiled the best Christmas present we could have wished for on Boxing Day before our home game against Nottingham Forest.