Neil Adams - Diamonds are not forever for Norwich City
© Archant Norfolk 2014
Neil Adams preferred to focus on those on duty at Aldiss Park rather than some notable absentees after Norwich City new boy Kyle Lafferty eased the Canaries to a 1-0 friendly win at Dereham Town in their pre-season re-appearance.
"He works hard, he gives us that aerial threat and he can be a nuisance to defenders. I said that about Grant Holt – even when he might not be playing well the opposition knew he was about."
Lafferty lashed a close-range volley past impressive Magpies’ keeper Andy Wilton after the Northern Irish international had anticipated Michael Turner’s towering knock down to end the hosts’ committed resistance.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Seb Bassong and a clutch of other senior men were not part of Norwich’s 21-man squad who made the short trip to Aldiss Park, but it was the displays of Lafferty and fellow summer signing Lewis Grabban that impressed Adams.
The City chief deployed Grabban alongside Gary Hooper in the opening period before Lafferty and Luciano Becchio forged a muscular strike pairing.
“I think everyone could see how hard Kyle works. He got his goal as a reward and perhaps we could have used his height a little bit more,” said Adams. “You saw with the goal when Michael nodded it back and he was there on hand. He has that presence and that is why we brought him in.
“He works hard, he gives us that aerial threat and he can be a nuisance to defenders. I said that about Grant Holt – even when he might not be playing well the opposition knew he was about. One thing you’ll find with Kyle he will keep at it and if he makes a mistake or misses a chance he will say, ‘give it me again’. I love that attitude in players.
“Lewis was another who worked hard and he is a good player who can do most things you want from a striker. He can run in behind, he can hold it, he can come short and of course he likes to get a shot away. He perhaps choked one or two here, but he is a threat, he is a handful and he is another one I was pleased with.”
Adams admitted there were inevitable signs of rustiness after a hard early pre-season fitness schedule, with City’s early vibrant attacking play subsiding in the sweltering conditions and Dereham’s athletic pressing.
“You want to win games, even though that is not the most important thing at this stage,” he said. “We had plenty of chances and you have to take them, but generally we dominated the use of the ball and then perhaps it drifted off towards the latter period of the game. It was a warm one and that is tough for the players, but it was a good fitness exercise. Dereham have done a great job but the pitch in that heat can become sticky and it stops you passing the ball as quickly as you would want. The tempo could have been a little bit better for me, although that is easier said than done stood on the sidelines.”
City’s boss revived the midfield diamond he unveiled in his first match in temporary charge against Fulham towards the end of last season, with Alex Tettey anchoring the base before personnel and positional changes after the interval designed to unleash Nathan Redmond and Josh Murphy.
“You just have to have a look at things. What you don’t want to do is become fixed. Last season perhaps we weren’t flexible enough and then you become too easy to read and to deal with and teams know how you play,” said Adams. “If it is working well then of course you stay with it, but I also believe you need to have a plan B from game to game and during games as well. That served us well in the last five games of last season, albeit we didn’t win one of them, but certainly the Liverpool game we had to change it and the players were comfortable and we saw what happened in terms of the performance.
“We played the diamond at Fulham and it worked really good. It is important to get players who are comfortable with the way you want to play and if we come up against opposition who we feel are weak in the full-back areas then we can perhaps flatten out in midfield. Similarly if they are weak centrally we can look to overload in those areas and the diamond is an option.”
• Sebastien Bassong played 60 minutes in Norwich City’s development squad’s 3-1 defeat at Conference North Boston United. Dayle Southwell, Kaine Felix and Scott Garner were on target for the Pilgrims in the first period before Cameron King’s late consolation.