Opinion: Norwich City must go on the offensive in FA Cup replay at Fulham, to revive their evaporating Premier League hopes
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A replay seemed to be the last thing Norwich City or Fulham wanted following their 1-1 draw in the FA Cup third round 10 days ago.
My starting XI for Fulham
Norwich City - Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin, Bassong, Olsson; Redmond, Fer, Johnson, Josh Murphy; Hoolahan; Hooper. Subs: Bunn, R Bennett, Garrido, Fox, Snodgrass, van Wolfswinkel, Becchio.
Who would you start? Share your starting XI by leaving a comment below or tweet @davefreezer
That may just have changed for the Canaries though.
Now tomorrow night’s replay at Craven Cottage has become crucial.
City simply must try to rediscover that winning feeling, give everything to unearth some much-needed confidence and prove that they are better than relegation rivals Fulham.
Harking back to the Paul Lambert years of success seems too easy but those three fantastic years now seem a long, long time ago.
Lambert created belief at Carrow Road. Supporters, staff, players, coaches, everyone associated with Norwich City went into every match with the belief that City could get a result.
Unfortunately that belief now seems to have disappeared.
At the beginning of this season Chris Hughton seemed to have assembled a squad which the club’s fans were confident would eventually prove to be an exciting Premier League team.
That has not happened though and, after seven games without a win, that confidence is all but gone.
It is not too late though. The festive period may have been a bit of a disaster, with City failing to build on an excellent 2-0 win at West Brom on December 7, but there is still time to turn the season around.
Craven Cottage is a stadium which holds dark memories for City anyway, so it is about time the City players started rewarding the loyal support they receive.
Right from the kick-off tomorrow night they must go on the attack, give the travelling support something to cheer about and try to beat Fulham emphatically.
Do that, and supporters can go into Saturday’s Premier League clash against Hull City at Carrow Road with fresh hope.
Put in another abject away performance however and the nerves against resurgent Hull at the weekend could create a very uneasy atmosphere for a hugely important match.
Lose that game and it could well be Hughton’s last in charge.
Win well tomorrow night though and maybe, just maybe, this initially unwanted FA Cup replay could become the match which saves Norwich City’s Premier League status.