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Neil Adams’ key Norwich City challenge has well and truly kicked in

17:31 26 September 2014

The XI that walked out for Norwich City on Saturday had Tuesday night off  and may not have their places troubled for Blackpool this weekend as a result. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

The XI that walked out for Norwich City on Saturday had Tuesday night off  and may not have their places troubled for Blackpool this weekend as a result. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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Most people with some affinity for sport would have loved to know what Sir Alex Ferguson said in his address to Europe’s Ryder Cup team earlier this week. You imagine it was special – although the next few days will reveal how much.

Judging by some of the half-time team talks dished out by Norwich City manager Neil Adams in recent weeks – and not all of them rockets – he might well have been a decent understudy too.

And yes, that sentiment doesn’t quite work as well following what happened in Shrewsbury on Tuesday night – coincidentally the night Ferguson was busy.

A lot has been said of the Canaries squad this season, be it the size or quality and depth. Sure, we are only now getting to see some of these players in action first-hand, and in a City shirt. But the pedigree of the arrivals should say a lot.

In turn, it wouldn’t be a new suggestion that Adams is going to have fun keeping everyone happy.

But a sloppy Salop Tuesday night may well have indicated just how hard the job is.

That’s not to say it can’t be done. The small sample of Norwich City’s last two managers provides good examples of how it can be done and what can go wrong.

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Paul Lambert endured his own cup misfortunes at Carrow Road, and didn’t mind shaking up the side for those games. Yet, his template of keeping just about every fit squad member involved, content and onside was testament to his man-management abilities.

Sometimes you thought he didn’t know his best side, but mixing up his XIs through successful league campaigns ultimately made everyone feel a part of the progress – as well as keeping them believing the door was always open each week for first-team involvement.

Under Chris Hughton, the vibe always felt a little different.

Despite cup changes and the odd experiment, you always got a sense of the first XI Chris would like to play, no matter what.

And if we felt that, then the players must have felt it too.

What motivation then to bust a gut, if it wasn’t going to affect who started the following games?

Adams now finds himself at a key point in his man-management task this season. The summer is done, the squad is settled and the honeymoon will soon be over.

While you can understand making 11 changes for Tuesday’s game, the lack of coherence it brought ultimately cost City their Capital One League Cup involvement. And you would assume the 11 left out will be the 11 that start in Blackpool.

Did the Shrewsbury starters feel as much before Tuesday’s kick-off? I’m not so sure, but that should not have stopped them making their own case of course.

The fact is from here until Christmas, Adams has a very tough job in not so much keeping people happy; it’s more about keeping them believing they are involved, a part of the progress, and his door will be open to their involvement.

Likewise, the XI that start on Saturday will need the push from the rest of the squad.

Because predictability is not the way to promotion.

Just Saying…

It was grand to have a quick catch-up with David Fox at Shrewsbury, as he took on BBC Radio Norfolk duties for the night – and it’s a little hard to believe he hasn’t got a club at present. He certainly looked in fine trim, and has been training at Preston. A move abroad is on David’s agenda, and you’d imagine that would suit him quite well too. He’s a lovely bloke – so naturally I hope he gets that move and takes whatever the league is by storm.

Glenn Roeder to Cardiff was the chatter, but given Russell Slade has resigned from Leyton Orient you’d imagine he’ll get that job. Terrific move for him; big job too.

Follow Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey

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