Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 1-1 Championship comeback at Sunderland
PUBLISHED: 15:07 11 April 2018 | UPDATED: 23:47 11 April 2018
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Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from the Stadium of Light
1. Striker light - Norwich had 18 shots on goal as the away side in a Championship game.
Yet still needed their full back to pounce from close range with seconds left of normal time to salvage a draw against a club hurtling towards League One.
In a season of contradictions and inconsistencies this was another game of epic contrasts.
City finished the game with both Dennis Srbeny and Nelson Oliveira on the park but it has been clear for quite some time, as this campaign meandered to a conclusion, it will take a major refresh at the top end of the pitch to embellish the positivity that clearly exists.
There are so many admirable qualities in Farke’s squad, so much young talent to savour, but there is a glaring goals deficit, a lack of a real, genuine killer instinct that Stuart Webber and his recruitment team must address this summer.
2. Give him a break - James Maddison had the sort of evening that reminded you he is mortal; still a precocious talent rather than the finished article. That latter point is pertinent when considering his potential destination this summer.
Maddison is only getting started but should he depart Carrow Road he must find the right club to nurture his considerable gifts.
The goals and the assists have flowed in the green and yellow. Sunderland was a rare off night. It appeared tougher to hit the post than slot Nelson Oliviera’s fiery pass into an empty net in the second half.
There was also a wayward curled effort deep in stoppage time.
Maddison has penne his own scripts for the majority of this campaign - one that will surely end in personal accolades. But this was a night of frustration. He is well in credit.
3. Wonder of Wes - Hoolahan’s 350th senior appearance perhaps did not go according to plan. The former Republic of Ireland international was caught in possession by Aiden McGeady in the move that led to Sunderland’s first half penalty.
McGeady clearly understood the significance of the occasion and charitably struck his spot kick against the foot of a post. Either that or Hoolahan’s long service to the Canaries bought him a slice of luck from a higher authority.
The 35-year-old’s night ended at the interval, with Farke’s tactical switch to stem the tide.
His influence may be on the wane, the end may be in sight at Carrow Road, but the warmth and the genuine affection Farke retains for the Dubliner was evident in a glowing post-match tribute.
Norwich fans will wait a long time to see his like again. He is unique.
4. So long Marcus - Farke confirmed the Tottenham starlet had returned to sender after a loan spell that started inauspiciously and never got any better for either party.
With so few games left this season and Edwards clearly not pushing for the regular start he would have craved an amicable parting was arguably the right call.
Farke questioned the young man’s attitude and his appetite to work on the less exciting parts of the game when he first pitched up from White Hart Lane.
Bar a brief cameo against Fulham, you sense that gulf was never really bridged. Edwards may use an unhappy spell in Norfolk to forge a career at the highest level. Harry Kane has not done too badly for himself after a frustrating sojourn in these parts.
5. So long Mick - McCarthy exited stage left after Ipswich’s Championship home win over his hometown club Barnsley. There was something of the old gunslinger in the way he rode out of town as he cut short his post-match media duties.
Whether it was spur of the moment or a pre-meditated decision to go before the end of his contract only McCarthy really knows.
But in that side bet between these two East Anglian rivals, Ipswich have moved back ahead of Norwich on goal difference.
In the grand scheme of things it may all be rather academic, beyond the borders of both counties. Try telling that, however, to the respective sets of fans. Time for Farke to remind his players there is goodwill to be had from pulling away down the stretch.
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