Often Partisan

Norwich Preview in Association with EZE Group

Lee Clark takes his battle-weary troops to Carrow Road today surely fearful of what might happen. Blues come into the game having not won in the league for five games against a Norwich team flying high and looking to bounce back to the Premier League.

Norwich City

Norwich lie second in the table having taken sixteen points from their seven games so far this season having not lost in the league since the opening day of the season.

Wes Hoolahan, Jonny Howson and Gary Hooper are all out; captain Russell Martin should return after a back complaint. It’ll be a first game against Birmingham City for former fans favourite Nathan Redmond; former Blues striker Cameron Jerome has already got four goals for the Canaries this season.

Blues

Blues come into this game with Lee Clark worried by injuries; in addition to long term absentees Gavin Gunning, Neal Eardley and Matt Green, Koby Arthur, Lee Novak, Olly Lee, Grant Hall and Denny Johnstone are all sidelined leaving nineteen senior players fit for this trip.

I have to be honest and say that although numbers are low, only three of those seven players (Eardley, Novak and Hall) have been any kind of regulars in the side and of those I personally wouldn’t play Eardley anyway as I think both Paul Caddis and Jonathan Spector are better in that position. I am worried Clark is looking for excuses as I’m reasonably sure we’re going to take a beating today and I get the impression that for the first time he might actually be fearing for his job.

Blues are likely to return to the 4-2-3-1 due to the lack of striking options outside of Wes Thomas and Clayton Donaldson; the big thing for me is that Clark reconsiders putting Robinson in the centre of defence because block aside against Leeds he looks like his legs have gone and we are going to be facing pace all game. I’m expecting a heavy defeat – anything better will be a bonus.

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62 Responses to “Norwich Preview in Association with EZE Group”

  • Eddie says:

    It’ll be a first return to St Andrews for former fans favourite Nathan Redmond;?

  • PeterD says:

    “It’ll be a first return to St Andrews for former fans favourite Nathan Redmond” – that’s good, he won’t be a problem for us there with the match being at Carrow Road.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    As I said yesterday, I’d go with this side, with the priority of stifling their play.. especially their midfield. Those players in that formation will allow us to double up all over the pitch if necessary. If we can nick it, great, but a point would do me.

    Randolph
    Spector Edgar Robinson Grounds
    Davis
    Caddis Gleeson Reilly Hancox
    Donaldson

  • pierre says:

    i listened to the football phone in the other night,with Martin Oconnor on WM,and eluded to the same thing,that a heavy defeat at Norwich my do for LC..Doesfhe knows more than hes letting on?

  • andy says:

    You have to have a settled team and I think Lee Clark has tried to do that but injuries are starting to dictate. We don’t need to be going to Norwich and play defensive because of their pace, just play our normal game and take our chances this time. It’s not like we are playing Man Utd is it!

  • StaffsBlue says:

    For me, going gung-ho with 4-4-2 is asking for trouble. A point against one of the top 2 teams in their own back yard would do wonders for their confidence. What would a heavy defeat do?

  • Art Watson says:

    Hopefully the predicable result will see the end of Clarks terrible regime.

  • Tony says:

    Its a bit of a dilemma I never want to see Blues lose, but if we have to lose let it be 7-1 that can only hasten the departure of the gormless one.

  • GoodyBleShoes says:

    Hate to say it but from what i have seen over the last couple of games we face a mamouth task today. Agree with “Staffs” about a single point and hoping we don’t conceed too many as i fear we could spiral downwards very quickly. Regarding the manager. . .I am not a Clark fan by a long distance but with the injuries we have allied to a general lack of class in the team anybody would struggle.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I couldn’t give a toss who owns us, or who manages us… or even who the players are. I’ll never ever want to see us lose a match, for whatever reason.

  • Chris W says:

    I hate to say it, but I can’t see anything from this game other than embarrassment.
    Norwich are flying, they have everything we haven’t, pace, a solid defence and a striker who knows how to score at this level.
    If we come away with less than a 3-0 mauling it can be deemed as a good game from us, it will probably do untold damage regards confidence and team spirit though.
    We need width and pace so for me Duffy and Gray have to start with Donaldson as a lone striker in a 4-1-4-1, it is time now for the new players to show they can cut it because we have some really tough games coming up and we still haven’t rid ourselves of the monkey at home yet.
    I watched LC’s analysis after the Wednesday game and as usual he blamed everyone but himself for his substitutions, his selection or his tactics.
    What we need against Norwich is fire, belief and a work ethic within the group, LC has not been able to instil that in this crop of players and those left from last season don’t seem to care.
    Last season,apart from a couple of loans every player acknowledged the crowd after a game, apart from a from Robbo, Caddis and Spector all the new players are off the pitch like a shot.
    KRO+DNM

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Why o why have Packwood, Hancox and Reilly not featured on the first team 18 on match days?
    All 3 always give 100% and love the club. It is a mystery.

  • Bluenosegaz says:

    Knowing blues we will probably get a decent result at Norwich though I have lost patience with clark and his coaches if we lose or not I think it’s time for a change.

  • Jaffa says:

    I’m with you Dan.I think Clark is fearing the sack.He has started to blame the players.Well it’s his team now so no more excuses.

  • Chas says:

    A good start ,according to Tatts , and another Penalty turned down. Goal from Reilly.

  • AuldBertie says:

    Yet another cast-iron penalty denied us which would have put is 2-0 up. Ref is performing like their 12th man at the moment – what a surprise.

  • Chas says:

    Good Point gained there. Well done Lads.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    We competed magnificently against one of the top sides. Oh, but for those 3 minutes of madness. Our only fault as I see it, is that we have extremely weak full backs. We rarely ever stop crosses coming in and that where we’re falling down, same happened today. Randolph doesn’t fill you with confidence either… flapped at 2 easy crosses, which could have led to goals. Centre of defence coped with almost everything and centre midfield, with Davis and Reilly were the pick of our players imo. Worked their goolies off.

    • Chris W says:

      I have to admit I never expected that.
      I suppose it was only fitting that Jerome was their goalscorer, he rarely did it for us.
      Well done to the lads but the defending was woeful at times. We need to either use Doyle or look for a loan goalkeeper, (What’s big Jack doing these days?). Randolph wasn’t too hot last season and conceded several soft goals along with his positional sense for free-kicks and he is still flapping at crosses instead of putting his fist through it.
      Either the goalkeeping coach isn’t up to much, never had much of a prolific career other than the lower leagues, or Randolph knows better.
      I still think LC has taken the club as far as he can and with the managerial merry-go-round in full swing hopefully LC will join in.
      Nothing less than a win against Fulham will be good enough and then it has to be convincing.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    According to Sky Sports “…. goals from Callum Reilly and Demarai Gray gave visitors Birmingham a flattering lead.”

    Flattering? We played bl00dy well and deserved the half time lead. Sky Sports have some of the worst reporters around.

    • dave mann says:

      i was there staffs and we were magnificent in the first half and should have been 4 up no danger.
      ” a flatering lead ” my a–e, we looked the team in second and them the team 5th from bottom so they no s–t……..but then comes the second half andits the same old same old and were hanging on until the end when we could have won it again but very proud of the lads generally and all bouds well if we can sort out the second half…….in 5 of the 8 games weve been leading at half time and drawing 1 more, thats 16 points we could have had instead of 7…..does my fruit in to be honest. KRO.

  • Bluenosegaz says:

    I know what you mean with Sky staffs but e even Tom Ross said we didn’t play that well we scored our goals against the run of play mate.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I watched the game live Gaz… and I thought we’d played extremely well. I’m not saying we were the better team f course, Norwich were taking the game to us as expected. But we were coping well and the first goal came on 8 minutes… not much time to be against any run of play really. Maybe with the second goal, but again, we coped with them ably and went upfield to score again. It certainly wasn’t flattering for me… just classic hitting on the break. Some of our passing was the best I’d seen for a while, even up to the final whistle we still taking the game to them. If it wasn’t for those 2 defensive lapses, we could have come back with 3 well-earned points.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Lee Clark definitely needs to tighten up in the full back areas, that’s our weak link and other teams are sussing it. The Norwich manager kept waving his arms in a V… indicating for his team to play it down the wings. There’s just not enough effort being put in to stop crosses coming in from wide areas.

  • RichardM says:

    Great result today lads – still need to find a way to bury this second half hoodoo, but I’m certainly not complaining about a 2-2 draw away at Norwich. Most importantly it will give the players some much needed confidence, their heads had visibly dropped after the 2-0 defeat to Wednesday midweek. Was Callum Reilly the difference? I’ve always liked his battling abilities (which we lacked second half Tuesday night), if only he could learn to pass he could be a phenomenal player I think.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Personally, I thought Reilly was the difference. He battled alongside Davis, instead of David having to do it on his own (that’s why Davis hasn’t been lasting the full 90.. having to do the work of 2 men.) Also, it allowed one or the other to venture forward when possible. Also, Caddis was more disciplined today. He stayed mostly just behind Donaldson and Cotterill and the three pressed Norwich high up the field. Lee Clark’s plan worked perfectly… except for the 2 goals.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I’ve read fans around the forums etc, saying that Clark is an idiot for taking Demarai Gray off for not tracking back. If they bothered to take the time to read or listen to Clark’s interview after the game, he stated quite clearly that Gray was signalling to the bench that he needed to come off as he had stomach cramps and couldn’t run. Whilst they were trying to get Shea ready to come on, Martin went down the right and Gray couldn’t track him, which resulted in the first goal. Some people need to get their facts right.

    • mark says:

      where a few on here who dont listen to our manager lol hey staffs

      Really pleased that two midfielders scored today.

      like any supporter we are disappointment not taking 3 points, but the lads battled, and battled today.
      With regards to the 2 ex blues players Nathan should be gone in January to at at least a top 10 premiership team, because i am of the belief he should be in the full England side.

      Jerome a championship player at best.

  • mark says:

    For me fulham game is a must win game now, this will give everyone a lift. All the peaky get down the stans, and lets give the team a rousing support………..

    • dave mann says:

      mark, i was in italy when we beat brighton 1-0 to end our 18 game none winning streak, ive done ipswich, sheff.w. and leeds so ive not seen blues win a league game at st. andrews for 21 games and nearly 12 months…..we better beat fulham saturday because if we play like we did in the first half against norwich we shoul be out of site with a 4-0 half time lead!!!!KRO.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I watch the whole game dave and, we were well worth our lead. Should have been 3-0 with Norwich down to 10 men at half time. The ref must have been the only one in the ground who didn’t see the pen. Martin, on the left hand side of Donaldson, pulled his right arm backwards. There was no way Donaldson could have stayed on his feet being pulled that way. As nailed on a penalty as you’ll ever see. There was no debate, the ref just didn’t give it. He said he didn’t see it, but if you look, he was in a direct line behind with no one obscuring his view. He just didn’t want to give it. Now, if it had been at St Andrews….

        • dave mann says:

          you say that staffs but gray because of his making a meal of it did not get the penalty we should have had against leeds and those are normally ” homers ” so it looks like were just not getting the breaks weather it home or away so our lucks got to change and weve got to try and see if the league will allow us to carry on through half time right to the end without making subs and then our record might reed P 8 W 5 D I L 2 PTS 16…..only joking but second halfs and substitutions are scaring the life out of me because there droping us points.KRO.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            To be fair to Clark, a fair few of the substitutions have been because of injury or illness. There’s no doubt that that messes up the plans for later substitutions. He could have brought Packwood on to replace Robbo on Saturday, but he hasn’t had a kick this season, so would have been a risk. Made sense to move Grounds inside and slip Reilly in at left back. Shea for Gray was the obvious choice too.

            People go on about fitness as the reason for our second half displays, but I just can’t see that. I think it’s more likely lack of concentration/focus from, what are basically, League 1 standard players. If it was fitness, we’d have dropped off and caved in after Norwich got their 2nd… but we didn’t. We re-focussed and kept it tight until the end. We even had a couple of good chances to finish them off before the end.

          • Chris W says:

            I have to agree about the subs Dave, I could understand it if they were making an impact but it seems every time LC makes a change it has the opposite affect.
            Why Oh Why! does he insist on making a change on the hour is beyond me.
            Will the man ever learn, he should put out his strongest team and only change if injuries dictate or towards the end to wind the clock down, (something I disagree with, but it is in the rules and all managers do it).
            KRO+DNM

  • mark says:

    After being released by Sheffield Wednesday at the age of sixteen, Vardy began his senior career with Stocksbridge Park Steels, breaking into the first team in 2007, where he spent three seasons before joining Northern Premier League side Halifax Town in 2010. Scoring 27 goals in his debut season, he won the club’s “Player’s Player of the Year” award. He started the 2011–12 season with Halifax but moved to Conference Premier side Fleetwood Town in August 2011 for an undisclosed fee. He scored 31 league goals for Fleetwood in 2011–12, winning the club’s “Player of the Year” award, his second personal honour in two seasons, helping Fleetwood to the Conference Premier title. In May 2012, he signed for Leicester City in the Football League Championship for a non-league record transfer fee of £1 million………jamie Vardy. just to say players from the conference league can rise up to premiership, and he was part of Leicester team that beat utd 5-3, and scored a goal,,,,,,,,so much for the unbelievers lol

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Another who came up through Halifax Town, was our own Sir Geoffrey Horsfield. He didn’t do too bad for himself either.

  • mark says:

    After being released by Sheffield Wednesday at the age of sixteen, Vardy began his senior career with Stocksbridge Park Steels, breaking into the first team in 2007, where he spent three seasons before joining Northern Premier League side Halifax Town in 2010. Scoring 27 goals in his debut season, he won the club’s “Player’s Player of the Year” award. He started the 2011–12 season with Halifax but moved to Conference Premier side Fleetwood Town in August 2011 for an undisclosed fee. He scored 31 league goals for Fleetwood in 2011–12, winning the club’s “Player of the Year” award, his second personal honour in two seasons, helping Fleetwood to the Conference Premier title. In May 2012, he signed for Leicester City in the Football League Championship for a non-league record transfer fee of £1 million………jamie Vardy. just to say players from the conference league can rise up to premiership, and he was part of Leicester team that beat utd 5-3, and scored a goal,,,,,,,,so much for the unbelievers lol

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Leaving aside the Middlesboro and Wigan games, we could… and should, have had at least another 8 or 9 points so far this season. The fact that we haven’t, isn’t down to being a cr*p team or having a cr*p manager….. it’s mainly down to lapses of concentration and a whole lot of bad luck. But, as dave mann said earlier, our luck has to change sometime. Clark’s main problem, as I see it, is getting limited players to focus for 90 minutes… but I’m sure that will come as the season progresses.

    • Art Watson says:

      Sorry Staffs,

      Have to disagree ( you wouldn’t expect me not to )-having a decent manager would make a big difference and you forget to mention that Redmond was inches away from getting the winner on Saturday for Norwich-as for luck-A very famous English cricketer once said “the harder I work the luckier I am .

  • Art Watson says:

    Staffs,

    You say you think the reason behind a poor second half is a lack of concentration/focus from ex-league one players ?What about the “one half performances last season and the season before which appears to be a trait of a Clarks team.

    I do agree however the Norwich result was pleasing and very unexpected but averaging 1 point a game is almost guaranteed to get us relegated.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Whoever the players are, they’re not great quality anyway, which (I know others will disagree) has been the case for the last 2 or 3 years. But I really believe it’s a concentration problem. The reason? I’m not sure to be honest. But, how else can you explain players making so many unforced errors? I don’t believe for one single moment that it’s down to coaching. No coach in the world coaches a player to pass across his own box, or head an easy cross straight to the feet of the opposition player. I’m sure our goalkeeping coach doesn’t coach Randolph to flap at crosses… or continually blame his defence for his own mistakes. There comes a point where players have to take responsibility for their own actions… and do something about improving themselves.

    • dave mann says:

      if the bottom three keep getting the results there getting then 44 points which we got last season from 46 games will be enough, a point a game does put you in a spot of bother agreed but play for 90 mins and were get a few more than that so not to worry in my opinion as long as we get another manager in who can set a team out to play in the second half. KRO.

    • dave mann says:

      if the bottom three keep getting the results there getting then 44 points which we got last season from 46 games will be enough, a point a game does put you in a spot of bother agreed but play for 90 mins and were get a few more than that so not to worry in my opinion as long as we get another manager in who can set a team out to play in the second half. KRO.

  • blue lizard says:

    You can dress it how you like but the table doesn’t lie..we are where we are because we are not good enough..no big secret .A certain penalty not given to Leeds when Spector climbed all over striker so we could have lost that too so luck was with us wasn’t it?(Grays penalty shout maybe a leveller from ref?)..Build a team with league 1 players that is what you will have regardless..throw a poor manager who constantly quotes “we will take take the positives from the game” into the mix and it is a no brainer as to where it will end .

    • dave mann says:

      blue lizard, when you say were not good enough what context do you mean, not good enough for the championship, not goodenough for the playoffs, not good enough for league one??? …….if you were at norwich saturday then you would have seen that we were good enough to take on a team thats going to get promoted back to the premiership even with league one players…..what do you expect when youve got no money to spend, i agree the manager is poor and a change is needed but i will bet you anything that we will NOT get relegated this season with this team. KRO.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        Spot on. We WERE good enough to beat Norwich on Saturday… as we were good enough to beat Brentford, Ipswich and Leeds. We could have won all those matches, which says to me that we are good enough. The fact that we didn’t is mostly down to defensive lapses… but hopefully, they’ll become less as the season goes on. I, like dave, don’t believe for a minute that we’ll be relegated. I think these players have much more about them than last seasons misfits.

  • Art Watson says:

    Sorry I can’t share your optimism-Clark hasn’t changed his ways this season and I actually think we have a very enthusiastic squad trying their very best but the squad lacks quality particularly in defence.I also think the squad is not experienced enough to fight a relegation battle .

    Hopefully I’m wrong but we were lucky to survive last year and in my view we had a better team which was mis-managed.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Sorry Art, we disagree on that one too. Last season, we had too many players just going through the motions, or knew there was another payday around the corner with someone else. This lot might not be world (or even division) beaters, but they all seem to pulling in the same direction. I’d rather have this season’s squad than any of the previous 2 seasons. But, it’s all about opinions.

      • Shirley Blue says:

        We had a squad that was good enough to get in the play-offs in his first season – we finished mid table. We had a squad good enough last season not to be depending on Leicester beating Doncaster on the last day to stay up. This season I actually have some sympathy because he had to get in what he could paying out Football League wages. I am afraid the lack of quality will tell over a season. I think he is out of his depth in this division especially when it comes to making key decisions at the right time and that is based on what I have witnessed over the previous two seasons.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Maybe in previous seasons, the squads looked good enough on paper… but there are many trophies won on paper, unfortunately, the reality never quite matches up. Hughton had a squad that should have gone up, but he blew it and we ended up with bugger all.

          • Shirley Blue says:

            I couldn’t disagree more. He lost key players at the end of the season through injury and fatigue played a part from the extra games in Europe that our promotion rivals didn’t have. He was a much better manager than Clark can ever hope to be.

  • Art Watson says:

    This season todate-played 8…..7 points.

    Same period last season-played 8……7points,

    Survival is all about results Staffs.

    This is Clarks team…..no progress!

    The writings on the wall.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      We’re only 8 games in Art. Give the poor buggers a chance. We all know they’re not upper Championship quality, that’s why the need our support. They’re doing their best, let’s give em a bit of encouragement. I’ve said all along, if we’re in or close to the bottom 3 by Xmas, then I’ll be the first to agree that change is needed (before the January window.)

      • Art Watson says:

        Nothing would please me more to see this team or any team under Clarks control enjoy a successful run and retain our Championship status-like you I hate to see the team lose ,believe it or not it ruins my day.Sadly I like many others have given up on Clark and his catalog of excuses and have absolutely no faith in his abilty to get the very best out of this team-his completely out of his depth.Also Staffs ,you will never ever see me criticise the players-the buck stops with the manager,

        I really do hope he proves me wrong but he didn’t last season and his record is appalling.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          I don’t get it tbh. People keep saying we have a League 1 manager and mostly League 1 players, playing League 1 football… but we’re still in the Championship. We stayed up two seasons ago and we stayed up last season. What if we stay up again this year? Surely, with a League 1 manager and League 1 players….. that’s overachieving? Surely?

          I know it would be nice to compete at the top end of the table again, we all want that… but, while this lot still own us and we remain the shambles of a club that we are, it ain’t gonna happen any time soon…. no matter who the manager is.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    It seems the blokes aren’t the only ones to suffer from incompetent referees… and let’s be honest about it, that’s what it amounts to. Incompetence. The ladies have suffered from an incredible decision too. http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/birmingham-city-video-controversial-goal-7817932

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Looks like Hughton is in the frame for the Fulham job. It would just be our luck for his first game to be against us wouldn’t it?


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