The game against Preston North End on Wednesday evening is being seen as a bit of a make or break game in some quarters of the Canary Nation and I can fully see why.
Three games played and only one point does not make for good reading and were it not for QPR’s seven goal implosion against West Brom on Saturday, then we’d have the worst defensive record in the Championship.
The return of Alex Neil is a subplot in itself that has been largely overlooked in the aftermath of the gutting late defeat at Bramall Lane but you can be sure that Alec will be looking to get one over on his old employers, no matter how much he might play it down.
I wouldn’t go so far as to describe this game as “must-win” per se, because nothing is hugely riding on it, one way or the other BUT were we to lose again or even draw, then the top six would be getting further and further away and with Leeds up after this one, followed by a trip to Portman Road, it’s not going to get any easier anytime soon.
Having said that, about not being a “must-win game” against PNE, I’m going to be very concerned if we don’t win it. I want a promotion challenge and losing games will not help.
In other news, I see that apparently the away dressing room at Carrow Road is being painted pink.
This little revelatory nugget of information came from the fan forum last week and it was revealed by Stuart Webber.
The idea behind it is not new and comes from across the pond. Apparently painting the away dressing room a “deep pink” colour, sub-consciously lowers testosterone and is used in American prisons to lower aggression and promote empathy.
It seems that painting away dressing rooms pink was used in American college football (not to be confused with soccer) for years for this reason and was thought to be so effective that the practice was banned by the governing body there.
For context, the home dressing room at Carrow Road is painted white and has motivational messages on the walls.
What Stuart Webber is doing here, along with wanting the Canaries to attack the Barclay in the second half, is to gain those small advantages which when you add them all up, create a usable advantage. That’s the theory anyway.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ll probably be aware of Team Sky using these tactics in their cycling success since the arrival of Sir Dave Brailsford as Team principle in 2010.
The idea is that if you can improve lots of things by a small amount then the net result can make the difference between winning and losing.
Aspects such as physiology, nutrition, recovery, equipment and psychology are all examined under the magnifying glass and small improvements are made. Six overall Tour de France wins in the last seven years suggest there’s something in the aggregation of marginal gains.
We’ll see what effect the colour pink has on Leeds at 5 pm next Saturday.
In other news, Timm Klose is again being linked with a move away from Norfolk in this transfer window by German Paper and media outlet, Bild, as reported here by the EDP.
Hannover 96 are the Bundesliga team in question and according to Bild have opened talks with the Canaries. Transfer fees being mentioned are around the €3-4m mark, which with a year left of his sizeable City contract, is probably about right.
Timm is no doubt among the highest earners currently at the club and I imagine Mr Webber would like to lose that big salary from the wage bill. If he were sold, then I expect we’d have to step into the loan market as his departure would leave us short with only Hanley, Zimmermann and Godfrey as centre-back options.
Timm is a good player, a big character and he’s embraced Norfolk life, as well as being taken to the hearts of the locals. It would be a blow to lose him but with only a year left on his contract and it seeming likely that he could leave for nothing next summer, financially this would make sense.
On the field though, it would be another stripping of the assets of our squad and it would definitely weaken us defensively.
If it happens, I’d be very disappointed but I suppose it’s just another example of where we are these days.