Jack Reeve: The excitement levels are finally coming back to Carrow Road

City fans sang loud and proud during their side's 0-0 draw against Chelsea. Picture: Paul Chesterton

City fans sang loud and proud during their side's 0-0 draw against Chelsea. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

First of all, I want to start off this article by saying how lovely it is going to Carrow Road and enjoying yourself again.

Jamal Lewis on the pitch for Norwich City. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Jamal Lewis on the pitch for Norwich City. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

I’m sure I’m not the only one in saying that it was getting pretty tough to get excited for a home game over the past few months.

I’m probably one of Daniel Farke’s biggest fans but even I was questioning the exact direction we were going in before the Christmas period.

Having seen City pick up seven points from nine in their last three league encounters and bossing the Premier League champions for large parts of the game on Saturday I’m now feeling a little more confident about things at Carrow Road.

I’m sure Saturday’s game against the star-studded Chelsea side was hardly exciting for the neutral but I thoroughly enjoyed my evening and am very happy to say I was proud of the players that are lucky enough to wear the City crest on their shirt. Not only did we manage to draw against Antonio Conte’s side but at times we looked like the Premier League team.

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Farke was brave to revert back to the tactic that he clearly wanted to implement when he first came to Norfolk but decided it maybe wasn’t for the best after looking defensively abject at Fulham on the first day.

Since then we’ve become a lot more resolute at the back, mainly thanks to the superb form of Timm Klose, Cristoph Zimmermann and Grant Hanley.

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Opting to play with all of the aforementioned centre backs and also the hugely impressive Jamal Lewis and ever present Ivo Pinto worked wonders.

For the first time this season we looked a team that had balance throughout and could hit the opposition on the counter with real venom.

For me though Saturday’s game was enjoyable for more than just the superb tactical work from Daniel Farke. It gave me much needed hope that this new regime is the right one for us and if we’re patient with it, then it may work after all.

Farke looks like he’s starting to grasp the English game more and more every week and we have players that can effectively step into the system that the head coach wants to deploy.

It’s so refreshing to see young players flourishing too. I think we can all admit that the return on investment on our academy one status has been poor but maybe we do just need to be patient with it. I had a really good chat with Darren Huckerby a few weeks back about the current state of affairs with youth development and he seemed incredibly optimistic with the current players we have coming through, he knows better than anyone having worked with lots of them during his time there and it’s now easy to see for the average fan too.

Lewis has broken into the setup, Aston Oxborough is now third choice keeper and the likes of Ben Godfrey and Carlton Morris are exceeding expectations out on loan playing a good standard of league football. With the current financial setup at the club we’re going to be relying on these players as soon as next season, and it’s nice to be able to sit back and have faith in the young crop coming through.

On a light hearted note as well, it was absolutely brilliant to see Angus Gunn and Josh Murphy demolishing kebabs and chanting with the City faithful down Prince of Wales Road on Saturday night.

I think we all forget that our players are human – at the end of the day, both Angus and Josh are young lads enjoying their football with their boyhood clubs. One kebab here and there is going to do no harm at all and these kind of moments are what unite the fans and players.

I’m not saying incidents like this should be happening on a weekly basis, but it’s great to see here and there. I’ve got a lot of respect for players who go about their lives like normal people and interact with the people who hold them in such high regard.

We certainly haven’t turned a corner just yet, but things are looking a lot brighter than they did before Christmas. Here is to a successful 2018.

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