Norwich City take on Hull City tonight in a quick turnaround from Saturday’s long away day at Swansea.
That was an exceptional away result and one which the Canaries will be trying to replicate as they travel to the opposite side of the country tonight to take on Nigel Adkins’ Tigers.
The contrast between the two teams’ fortunes couldn’t be more different at the moment with Norwich in first place and Hull struggling in 23rd after their 10th defeat of the season at the hands of Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
With all that in mind, here are a few pointers ahead of the match.
“Norwich are probably better than Leeds”
Nigel Adkins has a tough gig being the Hull City manager. Despite being a Premier League side just eighteen short months ago, the Tigers are struggling badly.
Hull lost 0-1 to Leeds at the start of October and Adkins was impressed enough to describe Leeds as being the best team in the league. It seems though, that his opinion has changed.
“I thought Leeds were good but Norwich are probably better“ he told The Hull Daily Mail.
“They play out from the back. You talk about Nottingham Forest keeping possession, they’ll keep possession a hell of a lot more than that. They’ll be a far tougher opponent than Nottingham Forest. They pass the ball for fun.
“That will present a problem for us and they’ve got dynamic movement up front. It’s going to be testing for us. We’re conscious of that but we’ll roll our sleeves up and be ready.”
Building up the opposition publicly is an old manager’s trick though, especially when your own team is struggling. The theory being that if you build them up, you take the pressure off yourself, which I’m sure Adkins must be feeling.
”What chance have we got?” “They’re the best team in the league” etc etc etc.
This will be a tough game, make no mistake and the fact that the club he previously said were the best team in the league only beat them 0-1 at the KCOM, tells you that it will be a scrap.
The angelic Alex Tettey
“Where is Alex Tettey and what have you done with him?”
That’s a question that some might ask of the man currently wearing the Canaries’ number 27 shirt. In previous seasons, Tettinho would’ve had a ban for collective bookings by now but he has changed his game.
With the first yellow card deadline approaching at 19 games played, Alex only has 2 bookings. I know, TWO. In fact, it’s Max Aarons and Moritz Leitner that are on 4 yellow cards ahead of the deadline. If both of those players can avoid getting booked tonight then their disciplinary record will be reset and they will avoid a one match suspension.
Despite this though, Tettey has been as effective in the Norwich engine room as he has ever been. The fact that he has cut out the silly bookings as well as “approaching the form of his life” according to Daniel Farke, not to mention being able to play two games in a week suddenly is credit to both the player and his coaches/physios.
Speaking of bookings, Hull’s top scorer, Frazier Campbell (6 goals) will miss tonight through suspension after picking up his fifth booking of the season on Saturday.
The return of the Beccles bad boy
Remember Chris Martin? Banned from every pub in Beccles town centre while a striker at Norwich City?
Of course you do.
Since leaving Carrow Road, the former academy graduate has had a few clubs and more than a few ups and downs. He is currently on loan at Hull from Derby and in the absence of Campbell through suspension, Nigel Adkins will turn to Chris Martin to lead the Tigers’ line against his first club.
“If you look at how well Chris has done over his career, he’s probably excelled the most when he’s been the central one in a front three,” said Adkins. “For example, when he was at Derby and out on loan with Fulham.
“I’ve got no fears about Chris. He’s a good guy and a good pro. He’s a talented footballer who’s been outstanding at this level.”
Martin has made 11 appearances for Hull this season but, so far, he has failed to score.
Who replaces Mo, if he doesn’t make it?
Moritz Leitner is struggling with injury and could miss tonight. If he does there are several options to replace him. To my mind, the most obvious is Tom Trybull, whose previous understanding with Tettinho makes him likely to be Daniel Farke’s top pick.
If it isn’t Super Tom though, Mario Vrancic has been in excellent form from the bench and we’ve also got Ben Godfrey who by all accounts thinks he’s more of a defensive midfielder than a centre back.
The fact we have such options bodes very well. We’ve actually got strength in depth!
The Hull faithful won’t take much to turn them
Things are still tough if you’re a Hull City supporter. The hated, and I don’t think that’s too strong a word from what I’ve read, Allam family are still in charge at the KCOM Stadium and the masses are virtually, to a fan, against them.
Poor results and a perception of it being a poor team with a poor manager seem to be the general mood among the Tigers fans.
Having said that, it seems there is an offer on the table for the Allams to sell but there have been offers before. The fans have decided to put their protesting on hold in the hope it will help with the sale of the club, for the moment.
They may not be protesting with torches and pitchforks but they are with their feet and just 13,364 turned up to watch the Forest defeat on Saturday. With the game being streamed on Sky Sports’ red button tonight, expect to see swathes of empty seats.
As ever, if you’re going tonight, enjoy your day (and night) out and drive safe and keep safe.