Iwan Roberts: City must raise their game to stay on top

Cafu of Nottingham Forest and Josh Martin of Norwich in action during the Sky Bet Championship match

Josh Martin takes on Nottingham Forest's Cafu during City's 2-1 win - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

It was good to see Chris Hughton and his assistant Paul Trollope back at Carrow Road on Wednesday night. 

I’ve always found Chris to be an absolute gentleman whenever I’ve met him and I’ve been in many a Welsh squad with Paul and he’s a top bloke. 

I’m pleased they are both back in work - they are good footballing people. But boy even though Nottingham Forest are just above the relegation zone, just one point in front of Wayne Rooney’s Derby, they have got an almighty job on their hands to keep Forest in The Championship. 

This has to be one if not the worst Forest side I’ve seen. The great Brian Clough would be turning in his grave watching this lot. 

Samba Sow of Nottingham Forest and Marco Stiepermann of Norwich in action during the Sky Bet Champio

Marco Stiepermann shields the ball away from Samba Sow - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

This is a team that’s suffering an horrendous hangover from not making the play-offs last season when they lost their final game 4-1 at The City Ground to Stoke which meant they missed out on finishing in 6th position. All they had to do was to equal Swansea’s result on the night and they would have been fine, had they lost 3-1 they would have made it but with Swansea beating Reading 4-1 at The Mad Stad it meant that they pipped Forest by just the one goal. 

You can only beat what’s in front of you and that’s what the lads did on Wednesday night but I have to say they were well below par on the night. Once again they found a way to win and two consecutive 2-1 home wins was just what was needed after that disappointing defeat at Luton. 

In both these games the lads have left it late to win, I guess it’s not a bad habit to get into scoring late goals but I think it’s fair to say that performances need to improve as you’re not always going to be as fortunate as they were on Wednesday night when Emi Buendia,’s strike took a wicked deflection off Joe Worrell to leave Forest keeper Brice Samaba helpless. Had it not taken that massive deflection Samba would have gathered it comfortably. 

Emiliano Buendia of Norwich goes close during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich

Emiliano Buendia goes close for City during their 2-1 win on Wednesday night - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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In the next four games Norwich face much tougher tests when they play teams in the top half of the table and they can’t produce lacklustre performances like the other night in these next four if they are to maintain their position at the top of the Championship going into the New Year. 

The first of the four is at Ewood Park on Saturday when they face The Championship’s top scorers Blackburn Rovers with former Ipswich Town defender Tony Mowbray in charge. How he would love to get one over the Canaries! Up front they have the league’s joint top scorer Adam Armstrong who has made a great start with his 14 goals in 16 appearances. Let’s hope that Grant Hanley and Co. can do what they failed to do against Brentford’s Ivan Toney the other joint top scorer in the league when he scored against Norwich at the back end of October, when they face Armstrong. 

Blackburn have won their last three games at Ewood Park against QPR, Barnsley and Millwall sides that if you’ve any ambition of a top six finish you have to take maximum points from. 

Mind you they are also the only team that’s lost at home to Nottingham Forest this season and I’ve already given my opinion on them, I guess that sums up The Championship right there! 

Norwich have taken 16 of the 34 points they’ve won this season away from home which is impressive and they will be itching to get back to winning ways away from home tomorrow after that surprising loss at Luton the last time they were on their travels. 

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