Time for Norwich City to reverse horror record
Norwich City will need to improve one of their worst away records of all if they are to leapfrog Coventry City in the Championship top six.
The Canaries have beaten the Sky Blues only three times in 52 visits in all competitions, but can go above them in the table if they chalk up a rare success at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday (3pm).
Aidy Boothroyd’s side moved one point ahead of Norwich at the weekend, courtesy of a goalless draw at Reading, though they stayed in fifth place as both clubs were overtaken by Leeds.
City’s last win at Coventry was a 2-0 success at Highfield Road in the Nationwide League title-winning season of 2003-04, goals from current Academy assistant manager Gary Holt and fellow midfielder Jim Brennan securing a Valentine’s Day victory.
The only other post-war success at Coventry was a 1-0 win in Division One in 1980, a goal from full-back Greg Downs effectively clinching the manager’s job for Ken Brown. Downs later joined Coventry and was a member of their FA Cup-winning side in 1987.
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Norwich have yet to win at the Ricoh Arena in four attempts and have failed to score on their last three visits – the most recent on the opening day of the 2008-09 campaign when a penalty by Elliott Ward, now with City, and a goal by ex-Canary Leon McKenzie sent them home empty-handed.
One factor in the current Canaries’ favour is that they have yet to lose two successive league games in the same season under manager Paul Lambert, who is not the slightest bit worried by past statistics or so-called hoodoos. Already this season, he has presided over their first win at Bristol City for 30 years and the first four-goal display in a league derby against Ipswich.
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Another boost is that a different G Holt – skipper and top scorer Grant – should be back in the starting line-up after missing the 2-0 home defeat by Portsmouth through suspension.
Coventry, however, are aiming for a club record run of clean sheets. They have not conceded a goal in their past four games, since a 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace on November 13.
Kieren Westwood has not been beaten for 396 minutes and if he keeps the Canaries at bay it will match the five clean sheets achieved under Roland Nilsson in October 2001.
The target is the club’s all-time record of six in a row – a record that dates back 75 years to the mid-1930s.
Despite Norwich’s lean time at Coventry, there are a few places where they have found it just as hard to win, illustrated by one victories in 26 trips to Wolves in all competitions and three wins in 31 visits to Manchester City.