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Norwich City are giving it all they’ve got... and more

PUBLISHED: 10:22 01 October 2010 | UPDATED: 11:12 01 October 2010

Norwich City skipper Grant Holt exchanges a few words with referee David Foster during the 2-0 defeat by Hull City on Saturday.

Norwich City skipper Grant Holt exchanges a few words with referee David Foster during the 2-0 defeat by Hull City on Saturday.

Archant © 2010

We’ve all seen it happen on many occasions – but it doesn’t get any easier when it’s you that’s on the receiving end, does it?

I’m talking, of course, about a team dominating a contest in every aspect, yet ultimately falling victim to a sucker punch against the run of play, in the manner City did on Saturday against Hull.

We couldn’t really have asked any more of the Canaries last weekend, save to say they probably ought to have capitalised on their undoubted superiority better by turning potential goalscoring opportunities into efforts on goal.

City regularly found themselves in dangerous positions and the ball seemed to be flashing across the visitor’s goalmouth on a regular basis, but without anyone being in the right place at the right time to convert.

Other than that though, Norwich ticked all the right boxes.

They were bright and creative in possession, positive with the way in which the players were prepared to move forward to support attacking moves and, from a defensive perspective, the team closed their opponents down particularly well and regularly prevented them from making a successful forward pass.

In addition to that the tempo of City’s play was good, the team was successful in increasing the amount of pressure they put their opponents under the longer the game progressed, and they were also able to sustain those periods of pressure sufficiently enough to create decent goalscoring chances.

Results are the be all and end all of course, but it was a very good performance all the same. And as I said afterwards, despite it having been a bitter pill to swallow I’m sure we would happily take many more performances like that from City in future games, simply because nine times out of 10 we know they would end up winning if they did.

The crowd’s reaction at the final whistle probably best summed up how well City had actually played, because off the top of my head I can’t think of too many other times when a team has been applauded off the pitch in the manner Norwich were last Saturday after a 2-0 home defeat.That said it all really.

On Tuesday night against Leicester though, City weren’t able to get out of the blocks as quickly as three days earlier.

The team got off to the worst possible start by conceding a goal in the second minute and then struggled to get out of first gear for the next half hour.

But as we then saw, once City did eventually find their rhythm they looked a real threat again.

It wasn’t good for the old ticker witnessing such a roller-coaster encounter in midweek.

No doubt many of us would have left the stadium feeling as drained as the players, given the manner in which the game had ebbed and flowed like it did.

But thankfully the Canaries had returned to winning ways and been rewarded for their efforts with all three points.

And I’m confident they will be in many more matches as well this season, if they can continue to go about their business in the manner they have so far.

• PROMOTION IS ALWAYS A POSITIVE

On more than one occasion I’ve read that promotion to the Premier League could be a bad thing for some Championship sides – with the reason being that some teams couldn’t really afford to be promoted.

I couldn’t disagree more. It’s a no-brainer for me.

The only way promotion to the top flight could possibly backfire on a club would be if that club is foolish enough to allow itself to be placed in financial difficulties somewhere down the line.

Providing they avoid succumbing to the temptations of overspending and are sensible with their expenditure, that particular scenario shouldn’t even enter the equation.

Take Blackpool for example. They haven’t gone silly by blowing unnecessary millions on transfer fees and salaries since they earned promotion to the top-flight in May.

Accordingly, even if they are relegated back to the Championship at the end of this season, they won’t find themselves in a worrying financial mess.

Far from it. In fact in all likelihood they would be in prime position to earn promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt, because of their healthy financial status – from which they’d then have a better chance of staying up next time around. Just like West Brom seem to have been doing for a good few years now.

No, apart from crass financial mismanagement, tell me how on earth an immediate lump sum of somewhere in the region of £40m being deposited in your bank account and a guaranteed further £48m spread over the next four years – even if you are relegated – can be a bad thing?

It has to be the dream of every Championship side. Can’t afford to be promoted to the top division? Can’t afford not to more like.

• ADAM DRURY? MORE LIKE ROBERTO CARLOS TO ME

When it only happens every once in blue moon, it would be almost sacrilegious not to mention Adam Drury’s goal in my column this week.

When Leicester pulled another goal back on Tuesday night to make the scoreline 4-3, I had this horrible feeling that we might be heading for one of those throwaway stats – you know, Drury only scores when Norwich draw 4-4.

Thankfully not this time!

I said at the time he looked like Roberto Carlos given the way he rampaged down that left flank in the build up to his goal and then timed his run to perfection in order to stay onside.

As for his clinical clipped finish, well...it was something even the great Brazilian himself would have been proud of – Drury himself described it as “a miracle”!

He is a magnificent defender – the best I’ve seen in one-v-one situations – and it’s not down to luck that he’s been first choice left-back under every manager he’s played for here at Norwich.

Even at 32 years of age, he’s still as good as any fullback outside the top flight in my opinion.

Or still as good as he was in his prime, even...which was around the time when he last scored.

• EARLY DOORS BUT WORTH ENJOYING

It’s true that cups, medals and pats on the back aren’t dished out in October.

But that shouldn’t diminish in any way, shape or form the pride and pleasure the Canaries and all of their fans will be feeling right now when they look at the Championship table and see Norwich sitting in third place.

When you consider that around this time last term we had only recently allowed ourselves to finally eliminate the threat of a possible relegation to the bottom division from our minds, after new City boss Paul Lambert had somehow managed to galvanise the Canaries back into a winning outfit, you have to say it’s been a truly magnificent achievement.

There’s still a very long way to go of course, but that league table doesn’t half make for nice reading at present.

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