Norwich City need to find win by any means possible

Call-up: Anthony Pilkington is in the Republic of Ireland squad. Call-up: Anthony Pilkington is in the Republic of Ireland squad.

Iwan Roberts
Friday, January 25, 2013
5:42 PM

Having collected just one point from their last six games, Norwich City are getting sucked into this relegation battle, I’m afraid.

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I know people will point out that they are still seven points in front of Reading, who are currently third from bottom in the Premier League.

I’m normally a half full (not half empty) type of person and always try to look at the positives. However, having lost five of the last six games in the league, scoring just one goal in their last three games – not counting the victory at Peterborough in the FA Cup – I’m beginning to think that the team is going to be in for a right dogfight to keep their Premier League status from now until the end of the season.

Somehow they just need to scrape a win from somewhere.

Whether that is by rolling their sleeves up and winning ugly or by playing the type of football we know they’re more than capable of producing, they desperately need three points to take the pressure off and open a more comfortable gap to the relegation zone.

Last Saturday was poor and I’m sure the players, Chris Hughton, and his staff know this and won’t need me telling them.

For the second time in a row they conceded five goals to Liverpool (I bet you’re thinking “Thank God we don’t have to play them every week”).

The team definitely miss Sébastien Bassong when he’s not in the heart of defence.

He was missing because of an ankle injury, but of what I’ve read it was the manager’s decision for him not to play. Maybe Bassong, with the help of an injection, might have been able to play at Anfield, but it looks like Chris didn’t want to risk losing him for a lengthy period of time had he played and made matters worse.

It is certain that he needs to be fit for the remaining 15 games as he is massively important to the football club, and the caution around the injury will hopefully pay dividends in the coming fixtures.

Finally, Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington have been called up by Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni.

They have both been rewarded for their displays for the club by being named by the Italian for the friendly against Poland in Dublin on February 6.

With one under-21 cap to his name, Anthony has yet to represent his country at full level and I’m sure if he starts the friendly next month – or even comes on to earn his first cap – it will be a very special moment for him.

Wes, on the other hand, has won two caps but surely with his form for the Canaries over the past few seasons he really should have won quite a few more.

His first appearance for the Irish came back in May 2008 when he came on as a second-half substitute in their 1-0 win over Colombia, which was played at Craven Cottage.

His second, his home debut, came in a 1-0 defeat by Greece in Dublin last November, a very proud moment for Wes, I’m sure.

• GREAT TO SEE MY OLD PAL PHIL DO SO WELL WITH BRADFORD IN CUP

I was delighted to see Bradford City reach the Capital One Cup final on Tuesday night. What an achievement it is for Phil Parkinson and his players.

It’s the first time a club from the fourth tier of English football has reached a major cup final in more than 50 years, and Bradford thoroughly deserve their place in the final after beating Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa to reach Wembley.

I’ve known Phil for many years and he is a great man and a good coach.

When I was released by Norwich in 2004 I had a few options and joining Parky at Colchester was one of them.

We met on a few occasions at Dunston Hall and got on ever so well, but at the end of the day Colchester were in League One and only offering a one-year contract, so I decided to sign for Gillingham, who were still a Championship side and had offered me a two-year deal in a player-coach capacity.

• FAREWELL TO THE KING OF SPAIN

It’s always sad when a player leaves a football club and I’m sure I can say it came as very sad news to everyone connected with Norwich City this week when it was announced that Simon Lappin had left the club.

After six years at the club, Simon came to an agreement with Norwich City to terminate his contract.

Although he’s found it difficult to get a run in the side over the past three seasons, whenever he’s been asked to play he has never let anyone down. Always the model professional even when he wasn’t in the team, players like him are a manager’s dream.

I spoke to big Malky Mackay the other week about Simon’s loan spell at Cardiff City, and even though the King of Spain received a red card in his first game away at Barnsley, Malky was full of praise for Simon, saying he was a pleasure to have around the place.

He played a total of 126 games for Norwich City, scoring four goals, and I, like everybody else, would like to wish him all the very best when he finds himself a new club.

• CAMP’S EXPERIENCE A KEY FACTOR

So Lee Camp was the first player to arrive at Carrow Road this transfer window.

The former Nottingham Forest joined on a free transfer at the beginning of the week.

I’m not surprised, if I’m honest, as Mark Bunn has had his fair share of criticism in the last few weeks with the team struggling.

Both Bunn and Camp are 28 years old but you can’t compare their experience.

Lee has played far more games in his career, and in my opinion has been one of the best keepers in the Championship for the past few seasons.

I think in the club’s current run of form they need an experienced man between the posts, and with John Ruddy still out injured, I think Lee fits the role perfectly.

He also knows the club a little bit as he played three games here on loan in 2006.

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