Questions, questions, questions, a sign of bad times for Norwich City
06:30 05 December 2014
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Should Neil Adams continue to be manager?
Time for Ruddy to have a break
1: It’s always a gamble dropping your keeper. Will it further dent their confidence and stop them from rediscovering their form as quickly? Or will a break offer a chance to refresh? While he remains one of the best in the league, John Ruddy needs to be taken out of the firing line for a game or two. It’s time to give Declan Rudd a chance. The stakes are too great for Adams to risk errors from someone whose head doesn’t currently seem straight.
One positive from such a dismal day
2: In the gloom of defeat any positives from Saturday were largely overshadowed. Nathan Redmond impressed down the wing again, even if we are becoming a little too reliant on him, as did Gary Hooper on his full return. I’ve heard him be accused of a lack of effort by some but that simply wasn’t the case against Reading. He was dropping deep to try and get a move going, then still getting his head down and into the area. He definitely deserves another start on Saturday.
Tasty sub-plots in next two games
3: Assuming the axe doesn’t fall, the next two games throw up two of those tantalising sub-plots that make football such a great sport. Firstly Malky Mackay, initially many people’s favourite to replace Chris Hughton, prepares to do battle with his former club. Meanwhile, cast your mind back to Hughton’s departure and one of Neil Adams’ biggest champions was former skipper Grant Holt. In a fortnight he could play a major part in determining his future employment.
Substitutes bench had little to offer
4: Two centre-backs, a left-back, a keeper, a relatively defensive midfielder and a woefully out-of-form striker made up six of the seven subs slots on Saturday. Has there been a less inspiring bench? What possible scenario were they expecting to need three defenders, none of whom appears versatile enough to play elsewhere? Surely much better to have given a young attacking player a slot and have more options?
What happened to cost Mark Robson his job? If we take it that Robson wasn’t good enough, does that call into question the effectiveness of other members of the backroom staff?
If Adams goes, can Mike Phelan turn things around or would he be yet another gamble on someone with no experience as a manager?
Has the team spirit which seemed so high at the start of the season disintegrated? And if so why? Is it time for John Ruddy to be dropped?
Why can’t Adams decide upon his favoured defensive line-up? Why were so many centre-backs signed if they weren’t going to be given a chance when things went bad?
What’s the best central midfield line-up? Why are out-of-favour players leaving on loan, then going on to be a hit at clubs in the same league? What’s the best attacking line-up? Why are Lewis Grabban and Cameron Jerome so out of form? Why hasn’t Kyle Lafferty been given a go up front? How have City managed to apparently suck out the talent from once highly-touted players such as Gary Hooper and Nathan Redmond?
Where has the atmosphere gone at Carrow Road? Why do so many supporters seem so bored, even in games that appear to have it all, namely goals, penalties and a sending off?
Can the Canaries turn it around?
These are just some of the many questions relating to Norwich City that have been swilling around my brain in the aftermath of the last two bitterly disappointing home games. And so many questions is always a sign of bad times as far as football is concerned.
When things are going well such concerns remain few and far between, you trust that those in charge have it all under control. But when the opposite is true, the worry of it all is enough to keep us Canaries fans wide awake well into the wee small hours. I’m pretty sure there are a few people at Carrow Road suffering from sleepless nights as they try to understand why it’s all going horribly wrong.
None more so than Adams himself who, I am sad to say, very much looks like a man living on borrowed time at the club he so clearly loves.
Previous experience shows that there often comes a moment in the lifespan of a football manager when they reach the point of no return.
A few improved results might buy them some time, but all too often that’s simply delaying the inevitable parting of ways once the next bad patch comes along and the fans turn again. Previous manager Chris Hughton reached this point fairly early on, but managed to cling on to his job for longer than many expected (and some hoped).
I fear Adams reached that point at the end of Saturday’s depressing defeat against Reading, a performance as grim as any we’ve witnessed at Carrow Road since that demise into the third tier.
And while I hope I’m wrong, and he and Mike Phelan turn it around and go on to secure promotion, evidence suggests it’s a matter of when, not if, at this stage.
Not that I agree with many who wanted to see a parting of ways before they settled down to watch last Saturday evening’s episode of Strictly. As woeful as it was, it wouldn’t make sense for the board to sign off the recruitment of Phelan – and then not give time for the new partnership to work.
But a change in fortunes is desperately required, because it will be hard to see Adams’ position as anything other than untenable should Huddersfield at home a week on Saturday fail to bring the three points we all crave.