Date: 14th March 2018 at 9:59am
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A draw at Oakwell eh?

Against Barnsley, who have only won three games at home in the last fourteen months. Surely we’d have to fancy our chances wouldn’t we?

As it turned out, we were a tad lucky to get a point but that’s where we are right now. Not scoring and our players looked like they were elsewhere in the first half. Maybe on the beach?

I know we had injuries and illness in the camp and we have the sort of squad that doesn’t (how can it at this level?) have excellent back up players.

The worst crime for me though is the state of the forward line.

Letting Cameron Jerome go in January is looking more and more like a poor decision. There I said it.

Yes Jerome has shot his bolt but I reckon he would do more than both Nelson Oliveira and the woeful Marley Watkins have done since the year turned.

I dare say that shifting Jerome’s large salary off the books was the driving force in that move and I get that but there are other issues here with our strike force.

Daniel Farke has said several times that Fonkeu and Abrahams are not ready to step up from the U23s, even to the bench and if that is the case, when comparing them to Watkins. How bad must they be?

Watkins was given the lone striker role at Oakwell and created/did very little. It was a frustrating night for the former Tykes’ player, not helped by plenty of barracking from the home fans. There’s nothing better for the home fans than watching an ex-player have a nightmare (or ‘Watkins’ as it’s also known) when returning to their old stomping ground.

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With Nelson Oliveira out for a couple of weeks with a calf injury, we will have to face Reading with only Watkins and Srbeny, assuming that Farke continues to overlook the U23s.

He’s probably right. He’s the professional football coach and I’m just a fan. He sees them regularly and I don’t. I’m clutching at straws and he’s making balanced rational decisions on what he sees with his own eyes.

Replacing Jerome with Srbeny may or may not work out. Dennis will obviously be earning a lot less but for him, it’s a pay rise and a big step up. There’s plenty of expectation on the shoulders of any new player and moving to a new country, culture etc can’t be easy.

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Mario Vrancic and Marcel Franke struggled with it, as did Timm Klose when first faced with the Championship. Mario Leitner didn’t though and that’s, in my opinion, because he’s such a good footballer. Unless you’re desperately unhappy off the pitch, if you’re that good then I’m guessing it’s not so hard.

Dennis Srbeny is probably going to take some time to adapt and the fact that Farke chose to play Watkins ahead of him last night speaks volumes of where he’s at currently.

Come the summer, I’d be selling Nelson Oliveira for as big a fee as we can get. He’s temperamental, not exactly prolific and he’s injury prone. You will remember last season, his only season as a professional where his goal scoring tally has reached double figures, that he was absent for long periods with various injuries.

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That has continued this season but without the goals.

For me, he should be moved on. He looks like he wants out and has had to be disciplined twice (that we know of) this season.

What worries me though is who we get to replace him.

You can forget Watkins as a lone striker. A number ten? Possibly but this season, we’ve not been short of playmakers. We need to buy two good strikers. Never mind about keeping them all happy if you’re only playing one up top, we need options and we need proven players.

Josh Murphy is currently a better bet as a striker than Watkins, who has endured a wretched season and offered virtually nothing throughout. If Marley leaves in the summer then there won’t be an outpouring of grief from the Canary nation.

The really frustrating thing though is that there is clearly a player in there, somewhere. His ten goals for Barnsley last season caught the eye of plenty in the Championship, so what’s happened?

Only those in the camp and probably the player himself know why he’s been rubbish and it remains to be seen if Webber and Farke give him another season at Carrow Road.

One last thing of note from Oakwell was the late cameo of Wes Hoolahan. He’s hardly played of late but with the injury crisis we’re currently suffering he again showed why he needs to be playing more often.

I accept at 36 that he’s not going to start or finish every game but with Reading on the horizon and Alex Tettey injured, then why not play him at number ten?

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Maddison could drop in next to Harrison Reed, who I’m hoping shakes off his illness in time for the weekend. Reed was on the bench last night but by Farke’s own admission, was too ill to play. Why include him then? Why not put Adam Phillips or another U23 on the bench? Someone who is actually fit.

If Reed isn’t ready then it’s Vrancic and Maddison for me as the midfield. Mario has done it in fits and starts but isn’t a crunching midfield enforcer in the vein of Tettey or Reed.

Hoolahan turned Barnsley inside out in that last ten minutes and he was too hot for them to handle. It looks like his playing time at Norwich is running out, along with his contract but he still has plenty to offer, Herr Farke.



One Reply to “Norwich Fire Blanks Yet Again”

  • Tuckster. Its been an issue for a few seasons now but has become a desperate situation.
    As we have agreed before although 12 points off 6 th place, a bit more fire power would have easily got the points required to at least challenge for top 6.
    As far as I can tell, beating a poor Barnsley side ( even with that poor first 60 mins ), beating an out of sorts Hull from being 3 1 ahead and finishing off average Bolton and Forest teams at home
    ( one goal per game only required ) we would have 9 more points and be just 3 behind Boro.
    That is just over the last 3 weeks yet alone looking at all our other wasted games against poor opposition.
    I know we are miles behind premier league standard but if promotion is going to be achieved it will have to be with a squad that will require major financial input to remain there so every chance has to be taken.
    The owners have now written off 2 seasons with parachute payments and delusions that things will get better in the future with less income and good players.

    Good strikers are few and far between with high costs but there has been evidence this season that
    all other teams in this league have more prolific strikers than us and sorting it out of the summer
    without spending a fortune would have easily earned us the goals required to get in play offs.

    Its too late for this season but if it is not sorted out over the summer I will be attempting to tear up my season ticket.

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