Iwan Roberts: Next period is a big chance for City to stamp authority on Championship

Emiliano Buendia of Norwich gets a 2nd yellow card and then a is sent off by Referee Geoff Eltringha

Emi Buendia was sent off during Norwich City's 3-2 win at Stoke. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Two years ago Daniel Farke’s team were losing 1-0 at home to Stoke in their 12th game of the season. 

It meant the team had won just 18 points from their opening 12 games and there was quite a lot of doom and gloom about the place, but we all know how that season finished. 

On Tuesday night Daniel took his players to the Bet365 stadium for their 12th league game of the season on the back of a fantastic away win at Middlesbrough. For 69 minutes the lads were magnificent and cruising to three points until Emi Buendia received a second yellow card for a high tackle, and things suddenly took a turn for the worse. 

If I’m honest I thought Buendia was slightly unlucky to receive his third red card for the club. Yes, it was slightly dangerous, his foot was high, but I really don’t think he meant to make contact with the Stoke player. His eyes were clearly fixed on getting a touch on the ball and bringing it down. For me, it was more accidental than malicious. 

After going down to 10 men the lads dug in and eventually came away from a tough place to go with a win. I do think they got lucky right at the death when Stoke scored their third but the referee had spotted a Stoke player breathe on substitute goalkeeper Michael McGovern resulting in the goal being disallowed. 

That’s 13 points taken from their last five games, which means the team has now won nine more points at this stage of the season than they did in the Championship winning season of 2018-19.  

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Considering all of the injury problems Daniel’s already had this season it’s testament to the squad he’s built and the strength in depth he’s got at his disposal. 

After two very tough away trips the lads now have three of their next four games at Carrow Road against teams all in the bottom five. If they carry on performing to the high level they’ve set they should take maximum points from them.  

Already this season Norwich have won exactly the same amount of wins as Coventry, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday combined so these next two or three weeks really gives the lads an opportunity to open up a bit of a gap up at the top of the table. 

Tomorrow Mark Robins brings his Coventry side to Carrow Road for the first of these three home games, as they sit fourth from bottom in the Championship, a position that they would accept right now come the end of the season after winning promotion from League One in the previous campaign. 

Coventry manager Mark Robins celebrates victory after the Sky Bet League Two Playoff match at Meadow

Coventry manager Mark Robins celebrates victory after the Sky Bet League Two Playoff match at Meadow Lane, Nottingham. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Robbo number 2, as I call him, is a good friend of mine. We played together at Leicester and I really enjoyed having him as a strike partner. He had a tough time when he first moved to Filbert Street and the fans got on his back as he never hit the ground running and struggled to score goals. However, he came good and his goals in the second half of the 95-96 season helped us win promotion via the play offs. 

Mark was a great help to me when we both did our UEFA A license in Aberystwyth in 2005, as I struggled with all the course work and the seminars we had to attend.  

Mark Robins during his City days. Picture: Simon Findlay/Archant

Mark Robins during his City days. Picture: Simon Findlay/Archant - Credit: Archant

I wasn’t at my best in the lecture room where we would sit for hours and discuss different aspects of the game. Mark could see I was struggling with all the written stuff we had to do to complete the course, and so he’d sit down with me in the canteen at Aberystwyth University and talk me through everything to make sure I was getting things done properly. 

I could tell after the week we spent together on the course that Robbo was going to go on and become a successful manager. 

He had a good way about him in getting his point over on the training pitch. The sessions he put on and the detail in those sessions were top class. There was only one better on the course and that was Paul Jewell who was Wigan manager at the time and had just won promotion to the Premier League that 2005 season. 

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