The chance to impress for Norwich City, or just a break from the norm?
10:00 17 October 2014
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Sometimes as a journalist you decide to ask a question and you can either hear the answer it’s going to get before you’ve finished asking it, or feel the little nip that it probably wasn’t the best question to ask in the first place.
Fortunately, Jonny Howson is a nice sort and played the situation with a degree of seriousness – not because it was a stupid question, honest. It was more the fact there wasn’t much variety he could give as an answer.
With the dust settling on yet more Carrow Road frustration – which, for the record, still feels a little bizarre given City’s ‘only strong at home’ narrative constantly rehearsed during three seasons in the Premier League – you had the usual international break split.
There were the players with suitcases packed heading here, there and almost everywhere for a reunion with their compatriots – as well as Russell Martin joining up with Scotland… (Just a joke!)
They will have their club concentrations broken by some international football, and that’s no bad thing really. All you want them to do is avoid injury.
And then there are the players who stay back at that clubs.
In fact, for this international window it doesn’t feel like the physical break is of any particular use to Norwich – it’s more the mental break after what was a painful pair of home games to round off the latest tranche of Championship fixtures.
So to that question of mine: What about the players left behind – can they impress enough in training to alter Neil Adams’ selection decisions and get involved for that lovely-looking (not) trip to Craven Cottage; that most fallow of fields Norwich seem forever destined to visit?
Don’t worry, my actual question got to the point quicker than that last sentence.
The situation probably doesn’t really apply to Jonny Howson. His performance against Rotherham said enough. But there are a lot of players currently on the sidelines at Carrow Road who need to be eager to prove a point at Colney over the next fortnight.
And it’s hard not to look much beyond Gary Hooper.
Come the Fulham game, you’d want to see him involved. With the likes of Howson recovering so well, the task is for Hooper to follow suit.
He’s a brilliant player to have at this level, and City made a big point in keeping hold of him – and they need him too. Norwich needed that spark off the bench from a striker to come on and do something different, in both recent home games.
So it would be nice to think that after this break, Hooper will have actually provided a decent answer to that question asked on Saturday.
• JUST SAYING…
• It’s not anything I haven’t already said, but it seems a little curious Norwich City have opted to send Sebastien Bassong on loan to a side currently only below them in the Championship table on goal-difference.
Just like with Luciano Becchio, it will be interesting to see how things go during the course of the loan away – but also, if anything changes when they then come back to Carrow Road.
Both players still have the pedigree to be more than useful to the Canaries if they need them over the duration of the campaign – it’s just hard to imagine their time in a yellow shirt isn’t already up. We’ll see.
• But at least the future is rosy for Cameron McGeehan.
City’s FA Youth Cup-winning captain signed a new deal at Carrow Road this week and almost entirely down to the boy’s attitude, it’s hard not to see him building a good career in the game.
But I’ll admit, we’re at the point where I want to see him in action more to really see what he’s got at senior level. And I’m sure Cameron feels the same too.
Given the success he had at Luton Town last season, he could be a very useful loan signing for someone before we get to the end of the year.
• So Ipswich Town effectively did Norwich City a favour at the weekend with their draw at Nottingham Forest.
Quite how they’ve turned things around since looking so lacklustre at home to Norwich in August is either great credit to Mick McCarthy, or a sad indictment on the quality of this year’s Championship. And yes, the jury’s still out.
Ipswich have tended to be a streaky team, so the fact they’re blowing hot at the moment is one thing – but a cold wind has never seemed to be far off in the background either.
That won’t change until McCarthy gets a bit more financial support for what he’s trying to do – rather than financial excuses. Last January was where Town went wrong. It should be a different story this year.
• Follow Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey