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The smiles are back, Carrow Road is rocking again - so let’s kick on for those play-offs

Cameron Jerome has been back to his best for City.  Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Cameron Jerome has been back to his best for City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222

So have you got your breath back yet then?!

City's players are putting the smiles back on fans' faces. 
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267
14/02/2017 City's players are putting the smiles back on fans' faces. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 14/02/2017

What an incredible week we’ve had as Norwich City fans.

Two barnstorming Carrow Road matches, four points, seven goals in our favour (and yes three against) and two genuine contenders for the best ever strikes at NR1.

The atmosphere has been back to how it should be at Carra - and fans are smiling again.

Think back to the dreadful reactions to the losses to Huddersfield, Leeds and Preston (and I haven’t even started on away games) and it shows how amazing the turn in fortunes has been,

The fact that we were genuinely disappointed not to have held on to beat the league leaders and favourites to lift the title, shows how far we have come in such a short space of time (and how badly we had plunged during those dark days).

Saturday’s victory was all about brilliant shooting, slick passing, confidence and swagger.

Getting the point against the Magpies was down to character, fight and a never-say-die attitude.

So many of those varied attributes were missing as the team slipped down the league before Christmas.

Jonny Howson has been pure class in recent weeks. As well as his worldie, he has done exactly what a central midfielder should do.

Wes has looked more confident to weave his magic (as well as hitting the net from 30 yards). He has looked a more complete player and his contribution has ranged from that fabulous ball through for Josh’s goal on Saturday to filling in as a tireless support at left back as Newcastle pressed.

Jerome was immense on Tuesday. He is at his best when he hassles and bullies defenders (remember Wembley?)

He never let the Magpies’ backline settle. He played a huge part in the equaliser on Tuesday and it’s easy to see why Karl Darlow looked uneasy as he prowled and did that beautiful air kick.

And then there’s John Ruddy.

If the midweek point proves significant at the end of the season, then we owe a huge debt of thanks to the big man.

He pulled off a string of fantastic saves and generally has looked so much more commanding as the Canaries’ fortunes have improved.

Alex Pritchard was brilliant against Forest and if hadn’t have been for Jonny and Wes, we would have been talking more about his excellent goals.

And I must mention two men mountains otherwise known as Mitchell “The Beast” Dijks and Alex Tettey,

Newcastle players were being knocked down by the giant left back like skittles in an alley.

Tettey certainly seemed to have been revitalised by his enforced lay off and was so dominant in the engine room.

So have all our problems gone and are we gliding gracefully to the play-offs?

Er, no.

The foundations are certainly in place to challenge the top six.

City have only lost one in the last nine and are second to Huddersfield in the current form table over the last six games

Four wins and two draws with 15 goals for and six against is certainly promotion chasing form.

But such was the gap caused by the demise that there’s a lot of making up to do.

There’s no doubt that Norwich are more than good enough on home soil to go up.

We are third in the home form table, only behind Brighton and Reading.

Eleven wins, two draws and three defeats with a 36-15 goal difference at Carrow Road is very acceptable indeed.

Sadly those meanies at the FA force half of the games to be played out of Norfolk and that is where the stark difference in fortunes is shown up.

City are a poor 15th in the away league with four wins, four draws and eight defeats and a 21-30 goal difference. Only 16 of the 51 points have come on the road.

Brighton and Reading still have to come to NR1 and we have to be confident of success in those games.

It is the tough visits to Yorkshire for clashes with Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds and Huddersfield which will prove whether we have genuine promotion hopes.

So yes there’s a hard road ahead and we have to be concerned about all the injuries (especially Nelson Oliveira), whether our defence is good enough against the top teams and whether the travel sickness can be cured.

But for now it’s so good to be enjoying watching the Canaries again and not hearing groans and boos. OTBC.

Don’t count any derby day chickens just yet

As if there wasn’t enough to talk about at half-time during Tuesday’s match, we got news that Tom Lawrence had been booked.

Normally confirmation that an Ipswich player had got a yellow card wouldn’t be that significant for us Canaries.

But such has been the impact the Leicester loanee has made at Portman Road, that his suspension from the derby next week after picking up a 10th caution will clearly affect the Blues.

He has scored eight league goals since arriving from the Midlands - several of them have been spectacular strikes.

Lawrence has also been a big reason why the Tractor Boys been on a relatively good run.

However, before we get carried away and think that victory is certain, let’s keep our feet on the ground.

Yes we’ll be favourites. Yes we’ve won five and drawn two of the last seven derbies with a 17-5 goal difference.

But Mick’s boys can still be dangerous and we mustn’t be complacent.

Fash’s strike is still my favourite

How many times have you watched back THAT goal from Jonny Howson?

I must be heading towards three figures - and it’s probably a similar number for Wes’ wonder strike.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen two such incredible finishes from two City players in one game in all my time as a Canary fan.

In their own way they were both very special (and seconds before Jonny’s volley I had moaned to my mate that Wes hadn’t cleared the first man with his corner!)

Quite rightly they triggered polls and discussions about our favourite ever City goals at Carrow Road.

Rosario v Southampton, Safri against Newcastle and Hucks’ solo effort when Birmingham visited were among the contenders.

My favourite, however, is still Justin Fashanu’s turn and shot past Ray Clemence back in 1980.

I loved the build up, the fact that it all happened on such a bobbly pitch and against a brilliant Liverpool side.

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