Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 0-0 Championship draw against Burton
PUBLISHED: 01:29 31 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:42 31 December 2017
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from the Pirelli Stadium
1. Purple pain - Sluggish. Disjointed. Stodgy.
A much-changed Norwich handed hustle and bustle Burton the early initiative and spent most of the game trying to wrestle it back.
The intermittent public address system could not be bothered either at the Pirelli. A second consecutive clean sheet and a solid showing from Grant Hanley and Christoph Zimmermann aside, this was a major missed opportunity.
And plenty of the travelling support wasted no time in telling Daniel Farke on the final whistle.
To be honest there was nore intensity in a stoppage time fracas between James Maddison and Tom Flanagan that continued towards the tunnel at hte final whistle than in the majority of the 90 minutes that went before.
2. Changing man - Farke’s decision to make six changes from the side which was so cohesive in a Boxing Day Championship win at Birmingham was always going to leave him open to criticism if City failed to bank another three points.
The pre-match soundbites about the load and the festive exertions of his squad were valid points but given the dire run of results the over-riding priority right now is surely a consistency of selection to propel the Canaries away from the wrong end of the table.
Leaving out Alex Pritchard and Maddison, in particular, blunted City’s forward threat.
Pritchard’s slaloming run and low shot in the 79th minute prompted an ironic chant of ‘we’ve had a shot’ from the away end. Enough said.
3. Swallow dive - James Husband was one of the beneficiaries from Farke’s rotation policy.
Given the superb full debut of Jamal Lewis at St Andrews, Husband needed to take his chance in a first senior appearance since November 18.
Granted there may have been some inevitable rust, but Husband has failed to convince following his summer arrival.
Referee Jones was certainly unconvinced by Husband’s collapse inside the Burton box when poised to test Stephen Bywater.
The left-back was cautioned for simulation and then forced to endure a verbal blast from Wes Hoolahan, who clearly felt his team mate had taken the wrong option.
4. More. Much more Marley - The Welsh international is another who is yet to stamp his mark on proceedings.
Watkins looked the part at Barnsley, a pacy, powerful runner, a counter-attacking threat with an eye for goal. But there has barely been flashes in a Norwich shirt. Again, like Husband sporadic opportunities to impress and find a rhythm can not be easy.
Nevertheless, Watkins’ lack of productivity is a growing concern. It is hardly a coincidence perhaps much of the transfer speculation thus far has centred on any number of possible alternative options in wide areas.
5. Taming the Lions - Millwall boss Neil Harris was an interested spectator at the Pirelli Stadium ahead of his side’s New Year’s Day trip to Carrow Road.
City’s squad should not lack for motivation.
That 4-0 hammering was a genuine low point for Farke and his players this campaign.
The recriminations were loud, the turnover in personnel dramatic with the likes of Marcel Franke and Russell Martin not getting a look in since and Grant Hanley arriving shortly after that debacle.
Setting the record straight should rank highly and raise hopes 2018 may bring better times ahead.
• For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt on the following channels…
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Norwich Evening News. Click the link in the orange box above for details.