What do you think of the international break?
I have to say it bores me to tears, especially at the moment. There are eight league games left to go and I just want to get on with them.
I watched the England game on Friday night against the Czech Republic and although England played some nice stuff and we won 5-0, it was almost a foregone conclusion and that was against supposedly one of the strongest teams in our group.
My biggest concerns at the moment are that none of the City lads gets injured whilst away on international duty. I’m keeping everything crossed that Teemu Pukki, Jamal Lewis, Max Aarons, Timm Klose, Kenny McLean and Ben Godfrey all come back safe and sound and uninjured. They all seem to have made it through their first games okay, just one more to go.
Friday night sees Championship hostilities resume with West Brom taking on Birmingham City at the Hawthorns. On Saturday the other two of our closest rivals face (on paper) a couple of tough looking games with Leeds at home to Millwall and Sheffield United hosting Bristol City.
Millwall are still scrapping away and rarely give anyone an easy game while Bristol City seem to have suffered a dip in form since we beat them at Carrow Road. They’re still obviously a decent side and very capable but the bottom line is that Norwich need to grasp the mettle and keep this all in their own hands.
Middlesbrough away at the (renamed for one game) “Captain James Cook Stadium”, renamed after a public vote in honour of Teesside’s most famous son, promises to be another tough test but if we can come through the weekend relatively unscathed, then the following trio of QPR, Reading (both at home) and then Wigan, should yield points.
I’m thinking, along with most commentators, that 90 points should see us promoted, which means four more wins from those last eight games will see us over the line.
The recent nine-point deduction handed out by the EFL to Birmingham City has seen them drop to 18th place on 41 points, just five above the bottom three. The Blues will play both Leeds and the Blades during their run-in, so here’s hoping that the Blues dig just that little bit deeper now that they suddenly have something to play for.
Interestingly, Millwall and Alex Neil’s Preston also have to play both teams. Preston are on a heck of a run that has taken them into a serious top six challenge. The Lilywhites look likely to be a stern test for both Leeds and Sheffield United.
Come on Alec!
Over the weekend, there was a bit more speculation linking one of our young players with a big money move away from Norfolk.
The Sun reported on Sunday that Ben Godfrey was watched by Man United scouts at Rotherham and that’s not the first time I’ve read such reports and not just about Ben.
Max Aarons was heavily linked with both Spurs and Arsenal in January and as I’ve written before, if promotion didn’t happen then we should expect to lose these lads. We surely couldn’t resist big-money bids from the richest Premier League Clubs.
If we do go up though, then I’m quietly confident that we will be able to keep hold of all these terrific young prospects. Where better for them to continue their football learning curves than with a club that’s playing in the top flight and where they’re regular starters?
Aarons, Jamal Lewis and Godfrey are all under long contracts, so a decent season in the Premier League, whatever the outcome for the Canaries, would only enhance their ability and value. After that they would still have lots of value left in them in terms of contract length, so it’s win/win all round.
Now, all we need to do is win four of these last eight games and they’ll be nicer problems to have.
Tonight, England travel to face mighty Montenegro – I’m not even sure that I’ll watch it.
I want league football back, let’s get on with it, “let’s be havin’ you”, as someone once said.