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Spud Thornhill: time for Norwich City to upset the locals up at Sheffield ... again

PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 August 2018

Jordan Rhodes will be thirsty for goals - and to make up for his penalty miss against West Brom Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Jordan Rhodes will be thirsty for goals - and to make up for his penalty miss against West Brom Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Paul Chesterton

Spud’s teaser: Which record signing played in goal for Norwich City when we visited Bramall Lane in January 1992? (answer at bottom)

Ben Godfrey - should he replace Alex Tettey for the trip to Sheffield United? 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdBen Godfrey - should he replace Alex Tettey for the trip to Sheffield United? Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Today we travel up to Bramall Lane to take on Chris Wilder’s Blades – I just hope the coach driver takes a wrong turning in Sheffield town centre and arrives late for the game like we did last year.

That should upset the locals before the game starts and make for interesting afternoon.

Last Saturday was interesting – after so many games at Carrow Road last season with not much to write home about, I wasn’t expecting too much, especially not many goals. How wrong I was – there were more goals last Saturday than any single home league game in the whole of last season.

Again there were negatives, but, as always, I’ll find a lot of positives that I’m sure we can take into today’s and future games.

On the negative side, I’m sure Tim Krul and Jordan Rhodes are experienced enough to get over their mistakes from last week, although I was disappointed with their judgments. Krul lunged in to give away the penalty away and I would like to think he thought to himself that he was totally wrong to dive in like that, especially against a quality striker like Dwight Gayle. Only he can explain why he did.

Sadly for the second goal when he was beaten from distance – well, that happens to every keeper. I remember John Ruddy having a howler on his first Carrow Road appearance back in 2010, and we know what a great career he had at Carrow Road. But these mistakes could have been avoided before Krul was even involved.

Just like Krul, only Jordan Rhodes can explain his penalty kick. It is just frustrating as it happened after he had just opened his Canaries account – and, looking at the positives, it was excellent to see him score. Last season I don’t think we would’ve scored a goal like that as we didn’t have excellent goal poachers like Rhodes and I am sure he is experienced enough not to let that miss affect him.

It was interesting the amount of goal attempts we had on target – 10, which is the most since our 7-1 win over Reading in April 2017. Yes, the game should’ve been out of sight by half-time and I’m sure Daniel Farke and Stuart Webber would’ve been disappointed it wasn’t.

One man who played a big part was Onel Hernandez. I think both Farke and Webber have done a superb job recruiting Onel, who played a part in all three goals and won a penalty. He’s definitely done a good job replacing Josh Murphy. You can’t beat old-fashioned wingers who want to run at defenders and whilst we have him in the team, goals will come. With Ben Marshall on the other side getting the ball in it’s going to be nothing but excitement and goals.

Another player who stood out for me was Teemu Pukki, chasing every ball and getting into space, as he did for his goal, something striker Nelson Olivera lacked last season. He deserved his man of the match award.

One of my concerns, which has already become apparent this season, is the homegrown rule. With that in mind, you do have to question the summer signings and the previous transfer window in January. The seven, plus the three we made in January, makes it very difficult for us to make sure we have the homegrown players available if we are to get the consistency of a regular side. All I can say we must trust Farke and Webber with this.

So what about Saturday? I would like to see Ben Godfrey replacing Alex Tettey. Not because of a Tettey’s poor second half last week, but because I honestly believe Godfrey is more than ready for the Championship and if Sheffield United are up for a big scrap in midfield, I’m sure this could be the making of Godfrey. And if we are going to get our first win, this will be first area we will need to win.

So come on, City, upset the locals again.

Spud’s teaser answer: Darren Beckford – the striker went in goal to replace Bryan Gunn, who picked up a back injury

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