Norwich City pride wins through
I’m not sure whether it’s worse listening to City away games on the radio or trying to watch on an internet link which frequently breaks or stops altogether!
Regardless of that, Saturday afternoon, while nerve wracking at times, was a wonderful experience as the euphoria of last Sunday refused to dissipate during another cracking game of football. To take on a side who have won their last six home games and play them off the park for long periods is really something special.
Once again, our away form continues to be promotion class, but I think that the win at Derby had much more significance than simply a great away win. Whereas at the start of the season we seemed to be unable to develop an alternative to the diamond, all of a sudden we have flexibility, not just in terms of being able to use different systems, but also in terms of switching players within systems.
I, like many, felt that Hoolahan’s presence in the starting line up pretty much dictated him being at the tip of the diamond, yet we saw him on the left of a very fluid midfield four with Lansbury the one who most often popped up behind the central strikers. Lansbury has been a real revelation and hopefully we can get Arsenal to let us have him for a bit longer, particularly with Surman now out until the New Year. In addition, Fox did a great job at the base, freeing Crofts up to get forward and threaten goal.
Talking about loanees, surely we have to knock down any obstacle to ensure that Leon Barnett becomes a permanent signing? His partnership with Ward, while still not perfect, is developing all the time and he clearly has added to the burgeoning confidence of Russell Martin. With Ruddy getting better and better, Ward and Barnett, Crofts, Holt and Martin we have a strong spine, which is the key to building any team.
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We now have a really good balance of power and creativity and some of the possession football that we’ve witnessed over the last couple of games has been a joy to watch.
I’m gutted that I will miss the Pompey game, but I fully expect another three points. We are close to the mid point of the season and the playoffs continue to look highly achievable, but it is still too early to get too carried away.
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I think we are all still amazed at how quickly we have adapted to Championship football, but this is a really tough league and much will depend on which clubs are able to strengthen in January. With that in mind the announcement that Lambert will have a budget is very welcome.
I’m sure that the man himself will also be extremely relieved to get back to the dugout next week. Watching him go through agonies in the stand over the last couple of games has been painful, but that’s all over now and he’ll be back in the tracksuit, doing what he does better than most managers!