A solid display by Alan Irvine`s Norwich City led to a good 2-0 victory over Barnsley on Saturday, courtesy of goals from Jacob Murphy and an unsuspecting Angus McDonald.
It was pleasing to get a clean sheet, especially as City were missing Mitchell Dijks leaving us with no available left back. Steven Whittaker, fortunately, provided excellent cover. Let`s hope he can do this for a further two matches until Dijks` return.
Cameo appearances by Oliviera and Dorrans were a boost for Norwich, both are key members of the squad who have been missed. They will be important for us next season, important as well for this season`s run-in.
With Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham both losing and Preston drawing, City are left 5 points off the play-offs and, its tempting to believe that maybe, just maybe, this season is not over yet as first thought. If we were able to put a run of wins together, and the other teams around us continue to feel the pressure, anything can happen.
Unfortunately, with away matches versus Aston Villa (who have only lost twice at home all season) and Huddersfield (who have the second best home record in the division) it will take some sort of miracle. Especially considering our away form this season. We are not lacking the quality to do it though, of course.
Alan Irvine suggested a new head coach will be in place in time for the match against Villa in two weeks time, we can only hope the bounce this coach brings is colossal.
Earlier on Saturday, the eagerly awaited news of the club`s restructuring arrived on Saturday morning and, as we expected, Norwich are moving away from the traditional managerial model to head coach/sporting director model. Steve Stone was also announced as the new managing director in charge of the finances at the Club.
If done well, this model can be extremely effective. It begins, obviously, with appointing the right people to the job. In recent years, several of Norwich`s transfers have been heavily criticised, so to hear names like David Moss (considered by many responsible for bringing Van Dijk, Wanyama and Dembele, among others, to Celtic) being linked to the position is promising.
As for the coach the picture remains rather cloudy. The redistribution of some responsibilities, which comes with a sporting director model, leaves the scope for Norwich to be ambitious with the appointment. Perhaps a name you would not expect, similarly to Alex Neil.
Hopefully Alan Irvine is correct in saying that there will be somebody in place for the next match against Villa, after the international break. If not there’s no shortage of time to be sure to appoint the right person between now and the end of the season. I`d rather Irvine be in charge for a while longer than have the wrong people at the helm.
The club`s statement spoke about how the new sporting director will be involved in the choosing of the new head coach, and that they will be in place in the ‘near future`. This is a smart move by the board, to try and appoint them separately could lead to disaster as within this model both the sporting director and head coach need to maintain a good relationship to work effectively and successfully with one another.
A good example of a well known club adopting a similar sporting director model is Southampton, back in 2010. Needless to say their rise since then has been incredible. Hopefully Norwich can find success as well. You never know?
Onwards and Upwards!