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Fan Zone: Backbone of this City squad is encouraging fans to believe

PUBLISHED: 06:30 15 January 2019

Max Aarons leads the applause as the City players thank the travelling fans at West Brom 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Max Aarons leads the applause as the City players thank the travelling fans at West Brom Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

I will admit it - I was not optimistic about Norwich City's trip to The Hawthorns.

So much had been made about the fixtures coming up for City over the next month, and they seemed to be coming just at a time when the team were going through a rough spell.

They should have beaten Derby comfortably. I still can’t quite work out how Norwich managed to lose that one. I’ve decided the best course of action is to stop thinking about it. This was followed by what I thought was a very poor performance at Brentford.

They constantly gave the ball away and kept committing cheap fouls. The FA Cup loss to Portsmouth, while irritating, can be excused – a lot of the players on the pitch that day had barely kicked a ball for months.

The positive from the Brentford game was that Norwich came away with a point. Make no mistake, that was the sort of game that they would have lost last season. They were frequently poor away from home last year and they were usually left nursing another defeat.

Things have changed, it seems. There’s a backbone to the current squad and it is serving us in good stead.

This was the case on Saturday, when all the pressure was on West Bromwich Albion. The Championship’s top scorers, at home, with the chance to go above Norwich.

I have to say, I expected City to roll over and let it all happen. But they didn’t, and they impressively fought back from a goal down to earn a very useful draw.

This resilience has already been demonstrated in the frankly ridiculous number of late goals the Canaries have scored this season. There are a few things that have made this campaign feel similar to the Paul Lambert era and this is certainly one of them.

I’m not sure my heart can take many more of the thrills and spills that have made up the closing stages of a Norwich home match lately, but boy has it been entertaining.

I wrote last year about how I was finding it difficult to get excited about going to watch City because of the turgid displays on offer. Someone must have been listening, because that situation has certainly been rectified.

Carrow Road, as a result, has been electric. It’s something of a chicken and egg situation – do we need the team to get the crowd going, or the other way around? In any case, the atmosphere has been brilliant and as loud as I have heard it in years.

There has been a concerted effort among the City fans online to give the crowd more of a visual impact with the banners, flags and scarves this season and combined with the increase in volume watching football at Carrow Road has been an absolute pleasure recently.

I’ve written before about the atmosphere at Norwich home games, and been criticised because I am not one to sing or chant. I clap in all the right places, absolutely, but you won’t catch me belting out On The Ball City. Some people get quite angry about this, but the flags and scarves have proven that even us non-singers have a big part to play in making Carrow Road a spectacle on matchday.

This needs to continue. It’s clearly working and as the pressure mounts and the legs start to feel heavier the players will need all the help they can get. Let’s help them over the line.

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