Norwich City face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday in a game that sees the return of one time City hero, Paul Lambert.
Lambert took over at Wolves in the wake of the disastrous reign of Walter Zenga. The Wolves had new owners, a new Chief Executive (unfortunately we got their old one) and it all started very badly. However, since Lambert arrived the ship has steadied and they are in reasonable form as they turn up at Carrow Road.
Norwich by contrast, are in another poor run after defeats at Rotherham and Southampton in the last week. Would three defeats in a week be too much for the Canary faithful to stand? It just might be.
There have been shouts of ‘Neil Out’ recently, most notably away from home and especially loud at Rotherham last Saturday and I suspect a defeat against Lambert’s Wolves may bring out the worst in the crowd.
Graham Dorrans (knee), Louis Thompson (pelvis) and Matt Jarvis (hamstring) are all still out and Youssouf Mulumbu is in Africa. On the plus side, Jonny Howson (ankle) should be available.
Nelson Oliveira is suspended so expect Cameron Jerome to lead the attack.
Michal Zyro and Jordan Graham remain sidelined with their long-term knee injuries and Romain Saiss is in Africa with Youssouf at the Africa Cup of Nations. Andreas Weimann could make his debut after joining from Derby on loan. Weimann is one of Lambert’s old players from Villa.
WHAT TO EXPECT
As ever, the first goal will be crucial and it will shape the game, whoever gets it.
Paul Lambert has been talking up his team’s chances and the fact that he’s been back to Carrow Road three times with Villa since he left the club in 2012 and won all three will give him heart. He’s been talking up his side’s team spirit and that sounded eerily familiar to me when I read his quotes this morning on Pink’Un.com
Alex Neil is up against it. He’s presided over 9 defeats in the last 14 Championship games and that is frankly awful. His back is against the wall and some City fans on Twitter are hoping for a home defeat to try to force the board’s hand and sack him.
I can’t ever want my side to lose, so can’t support that sentiment but I do believe that his time was up a long time ago.
He was in a similar situation when Derby came to Carrow Road and suddenly his time played like a top two side. Will they do that again when Neil needs it most?
I couldn’t call it but three defeats in a week will be bad news for everyone.