Jack Reeve: Time for a new set of heroes to step forward for Canaries
PUBLISHED: 17:00 21 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:12 21 January 2019
The last time I was asked to pen my thoughts on Norwich City for this very paper, I discussed how the side had developed a real knack to overcome any obstacle that came their way.
One month on from that piece and that statement is still true.
Having travelled to Mexico for a week’s holiday I knew I was going to be missing two crucial games in a massive month for the Canaries.
A trip to the Hawthorns is never an easy one but we always seem to do well there.
West Brom look a cracking side going forwards but have looked shaky at the back all season, a trait that could also be applied to Daniel Farke’s men.
In light of Marcelo Balsa’s shenanigans surrounding ‘Spygate’ it does make you wonder just how much preparation goes into football matches these days.
I imagine Farke and his backroom staff are forensic in their pre-match prep, it was evident that we’d figured the inner workings of West Brom.
City knew that they just had to hang in there and after 45 minutes it could be said that it wasn’t going to be as easy as it sounded.
We found ourselves properly up against it, but all too often this season it’s been evident that this side have not only the technical ability to fend off attacking sides but also the mental ability too.
They managed to do exactly that and as expected, the chance came late on in the match.
The kind of chance that presented itself was perfect for Jordan Rhodes, whose finish was immaculate and proves once more that if Teemu Pukki’s performances drop by even one percent, he will be ready to take the starting place from him.
Having spoken to Paul Lambert’s former assistant manager Gary Karsa on my podcast recently, he made it clear that the mindset they instilled into their sides was one where they had no fear and one that would try to impress the home fans with their free flowing football.
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That mindset has clearly translated to Farke’s squad.
Friday night’s clash against Birmingham was as close to a ‘routine’ victory as we’ve experienced all season.
You just felt that we’d come up against an unsuspecting side at some point this campaign that felt the full force of the ruthless attacking outfit that has been assembled by Farke.
In 45 truly entertaining first half minutes, Birmingham were left wondering what had just happened and City could sit back and relax to play out a calm second half.
Attention now turns to what could be a season defining few games.
Sheffield United provide a tough test and Chris Wilder will be determined to stir the strange rivalry that has been formed between the two sides even further.
Leeds United have looked good all season and sit at the top-of-the-table for a reason - a sell-out Elland Road will be a frightening place to go. Add an East Anglian derby to the mix and you have a truly sumptuous mix of games ahead.
Are Norwich City ready for battle though? Of course they are.
The last time I was this confident about a side, we were promoted. That time was the aforementioned regime under Lambert, Culverhouse and Karsa. The good mood around the club is tangible and I’m positive that can be felt on the pitch.
My nerves are starting to build but that can only be a good thing. At this point last season there was nothing left to play for. Twelve months on and everything is up for grabs - it’s time for a new set of heroes.