Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Nothing is decided during the opening weeks of the football season but Norwich City manager Neil Adams knows the huge opportunity his side have to launch their promotion campaign this week.
Tonight the Canaries take on Blackburn Rovers at Carrow Road as they look to build on Saturday’s pressure-relieving victory against Watford.
Following tonight’s Championship clash is a televised revival of the East Anglian Derby at Portman Road at Saturday lunchtime, pitting City against their main rivals for the first time since April 2011 – when the Canaries won 5-1 in Suffolk.
Both Blackburn and Ipswich have built hopes of a brighter future after spells of stability but Adams knows, should his side win both, a strong launch pad back to the top flight will be in place.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Adams said. “It’s tough games, everybody looked at the games and thought that’s a really tough start for Norwich but again, I’m not trying to be clever by saying it, but we’ve got to play these teams throughout the season and we have to play them early on then great, we’ve got to make sure we’re right for it.
“Ipswich we know is just round the corner but we’re not even talking about that at the moment, we’re talking about Blackburn. We get that one done and dusted and then of course the focus will be on the local derby which we understand is a massive game for everybody but at the minute it literally hasn’t been talked about at all.”
Adams confirmed he will still be without Jonny Howson (knee) and Gary Hooper (calf), although added that he hoped both would be back ‘sooner rather than later’.
Sebastien Bassong and Luciano Becchio look unlikely to be considered, although Adams said neither is close to leaving the club either.
“Seb had a couple of weeks rest because he had a bit of a knee problem but he’s back out there now,” Adams said. “Luciano has trained and is fine but they will both be available and be fit enough very soon.
“Seb just did a little bit with the sports scientists but isn’t very far away from being ready.”
With Martin Olsson suspended for a further three games, that means Adams is likely to name an unchanged defence, which he knows must be alive to the threat of Blackburn’s £8m striker, former Ipswich Town trainee Jordan Rhodes.
“I know his dad very well, I obviously played with his dad at Oldham, Andy, and he’s followed Andy around when he was a kid at Ipswich and has moved on,” the City boss added.
“What you know with Jordan Rhodes is he scores goals, plain and simple, wherever he plays, he scores goals by the bucketful season in, season out, and that’s why he had such a high price when he moved to Blackburn and, I think they’ve just offered him another contract because the price of somebody in the modern game who can bang in 25 goals a season, that’s why people covet them and obviously why Blackburn would want to keep him.”