Ian Clarke: City must not ease up - momentum is crucial for survival

Teemu Pukki of Norwich celebrates scoring his sides 1st goal during the Sky Bet Championship match a

Teemu Pukki Celebrates firing Norwich in front against Huddersfield with Todd Cantwell - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Don't you love seeing Norwich City (P) when you look at the Championship table?

Hopefully come 5pm on Saturday, the (P) will be replaced by a (C) to signal the title being wrapped up.

Don't worry, I'm not going to work my way through the entire alphabet and go all Sesame Street on you this week.

But I do want to add one more to the collection which I think is crucial as we look excitedly to the next chapter in Norwich City's history.

Kieran Dowell of Norwich celebrates scoring his sides 5th goal during the Sky Bet Championship match

Emi Buendia, front, Oliver Skipp, right, and Todd Cantwell celebrate after Buendia teed up Kieran Dowell for Norwich City's fifth goal against Huddersfield - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Yes, this column is brought to you in association with the letter M.


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I don't mean majestic, although certainly some of the play from Daniel Farke's men has been just that this term. 

I'm not referring to magnificent, but certainly the success has been just that.

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And the M doesn't stand for mean (even though that trait shown by our defence over recent months will be most welcome in the top flight).

Emi Buendia lit up Norwich City's 7-0 Championship rout of Huddersfield Town

Emi Buendia lit up Norwich City's 7-0 Championship rout of Huddersfield Town - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Momentum is what I'm talking about as we prepare to pop those champagne corks and get that old trophy in to the Carrow Road cabinet.

I was delighted that the boys got back on track so well last weekend at QPR after the two defeats on the bounce to Bournemouth and Watford.

While I never want to see the Canaries lose (especially as it meant we were doubled by the Cherries and Hornets), I certainly didn't enter the panic zone where a few City fans headed.

Minds were elsewhere against Bournemouth as promotion had just been sealed and the game certainly swung on Dimitris Giannoulis' sending off.

NCFC special edition kit

Norwich City players, from left, Josh Martin, Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki model the club's new special edition kit - Credit: Norwich City FC

And there is mitigation in abundance for the aftermath of that karaoke party which clearly impacted on the Watford match.

In his usual wise words, Farke said the memories of that team bonding during the lively promotion celebrations would help them in the inevitably tough times next year.

And I firmly believe the other seeds which are sown in the coming weeks will shape how we fare back in the big time.

That's where the momentum comes in.

We've been spoilt with brilliant football and win after win - and I'm greedy for more.

I want to see a thumping victory to seal the title against a Reading side who basically have nothing to play for.

The home fans celebrate their sideÕs 3rd goal during the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwic

City fans will be hoping to be back at Carrow Road next season. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

And then let's finish in style at Barnsley, who hopefully will be resting their key players ahead of their play-off battles.

There are all kinds of club records up for grabs and you know never know, if Teemu Pukki can get those boots really polished in the final 180 minutes, he could still overtake Ivan Toney as the league's top scorer.

The cumulative impact of all these individual factors cannot be underestimated.

Ending the campaign on a high will send all the players off for their very well deserved break in the best possible spirits.

Supporters are generally massively positive about their team, and two more wins will put a great big cherry on top of a big tasty cake.

Norwich City fans hold up a banner saying 'We're Going Up'

Norwich City fans celebrating promotion at Carrow Road. - Credit: Ben Hardy

On the pitch that momentum has to then be picked up once the action resumes in August at English football's top table.

Last time around, we got off to a pretty decent start.

There were lots of positives in the opening day defeat at Liverpool and then came that Pukki-inspired triumph over Newcastle.

After defeats to Chelsea and West Ham, came that never to be forgotten night against Man City.

While there were a few bright moments from there, the Canaries simply could not build up any momentum and failed to record two wins on the trot in the whole campaign.

The dramatic downward spiral after the restart last summer was fatal.

For me, the foundations are much stronger this time around.

Farke and his backroom team will have learned the mistakes of the relegation and they have a proven track record in improvement.

It's key to get transfer business done as soon as possible to ensure the most time possible for PL preparations.

There are strong indications of a busy summer with lots of ins and outs. 

The Canaries have a strong hand to play in terms of attracting new boys to the squad and fending off the vultures circling for the prizes assets.

Seal the deals nice and quickly - especially as there's the distraction of the Euros this summer - and we'll benefit from a settled squad building up the momentum for the big kick off.

Assuming the lockdown easing continues to go to plan, hopefully we can all back in Carra for the new season.

I know every club will say this but I honestly feel that the momentum our supporters can give will be massive for the team.

The good and the bad

We've seen the very best and also the worst of fans this week.

On a hugely positive note, I've got to heap praise on the amazing fund-raising efforts of my colleague Connor Southwell as he took part in a 24-hour sponsored silence for the mental health charity Mind.

It was a top effort by a top bloke (and anyone who knows how much I talk, I can't imagine being able to manage that!)

The brilliantly crazy Reeve duo Jack and Chris Reeve didn't stop talking for 24 hours as they raised thousands of pounds from their marathon live Talk Norwich City show for Big C.

They got incredible support from players and fans across the world and I don't know how they kept going!

On the flip side, it was massively disappointing to find out that some of the limited edition special "fans" shirts which were unveiled at the weekend, were bought and then sold for a profit on eBay.

It was a great gesture from the club to bring them out and give money towards the fans' experience when we're back and so wrong that some took advantage of that.

Great night ahead

Back to the positive side of City supporters, and the Norwich City Fans Social Club are continuing their great work by holding another virtual event on Tuesday, May 4, 7.30pm.

A great night is in store and will offer fans an insight into the inner workings of the Canaries’ success in the Championship this season.

Joining host Michael Bailey will be City duo Kieran Scott and Steve Weaver, who will be answering questions and explaining their roles.  

Kieran is the club’s head of recruitment and helped bring the likes of Pukki and Emi Buendia to Norfolk.

Steve Weaver is in charge of City’s academy on a day-to-day basis, overseeing the development of City’s stars of tomorrow. The academy has produced a number of talents, including Todd Cantwell, Max Aarons, Ben Godfrey, Jamal Lewis and Adam Idah. 

The event costs £5, which includes a raffle ticket, and all the cash raised is for the Community Sports Foundation.

More details on the website: www.ncfsc.co.uk/about-ncfsc.

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