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It speaks volumes for the unforgiving nature of the Championship that confidence can flip 180 degrees in less than a fortnight.

A derby clash at Portman Road and a cup tie at Arsenal followed by two home games against tough opposition, all in the space of 10 days. This run of fixtures was always going to test both the depth and character of Norwich City’s squad.

After four consecutive Championship away wins and victory at Portman Road, it almost feels as though tonight’s Carabao Cup clash at Arsenal is something of a bonus fixture.

The last time Norwich City faced an international break, it felt like they may have been staring into the abyss.

In a season of transition, and a week where Norwich City made it past the third round of the League Cup for only the fourth time in 21 seasons, it only feels right to draw on the positives of a second successive Carrow Road stalemate.

The possibility of grinding out a 1-0 win away from home three weeks ago couldn’t have felt much more unlikely.

Whereas Wednesday night’s win against QPR felt like it could have been the start of the Daniel Farke revolution, Saturday’s performance at Villa Park was instead achingly similar to any number of away defeats suffered last season.

There’s nothing quite like the first home league game of the season.

The fact that an overzealous goal celebration has formed a large part of what is usually a depressing post-mortem from Craven Cottage is a rather apt continuation of what has been a summer of transformation at Norwich City.

It may have been a truly forgettable season, but Sunday’s SkyBet Championship finale felt as though it was the closing chapter of a rollercoaster era in Norwich City’s history.

Back in June, after Garry Monk had just been announced the new head coach of Leeds, I took on a bet offered by an overexcited colleague from Yorkshire.

It was supposed to be Brighton’s Championship title winning party procession. It turned into the Alex Pritchard show.

Unbridled joy should have been the overriding emotion as the half-time whistle blew on Saturday.

Lacklustre defending, ill-discipline and another away defeat. Old habits certainly die hard.

For two consecutive Saturdays at Carrow Road, the football played second fiddle to the happenings off the pitch.

When the dust has settled and this season is consigned to the history books, there will be a generation of Norwich City fans who will remember Alex Neil as the man who took us to Wembley.

It says a lot about this torrid season that Norwich reserved one of their worst performances for a game they had to win to have maintained any realistic hopes of salvaging a top-six finish.

It would have taken 90 extraordinary minutes for Sunday’s derby clash to come anywhere close to what we were able to enjoy almost two years ago.

After a Herculean effort against Newcastle on Tuesday night, there were a few fans around me celebrating the draw like they would a goal when the final whistle sounded.

Last week the video clip of Justin Fashanu’s famous strike against Liverpool was doing the rounds online.

A departing chief executive, the completion of transfers on deadline day and a win away from home. Even by Norwich City’s standards this season that’s a lot to digest in the space of five days.

Back-to-back wins, a clean sheet and now just two points from the playoff places. If it wasn’t for players rejecting moves to East Anglia the past week would have been a near perfect one.

At times this season it has felt like the scale of Norwich City’s problems has been contained within the borders of East Anglia.

There was a certain irony that the most positive week Norwich City have enjoyed in several months was cemented by a stoppage-time equaliser in front of the lowest FA Cup crowd at Carrow Road in 20 years.

As we said goodbye to 2016 and ushered in 2017, as is in keeping with the times we live, social media provided a decent snapshot into people’s way of thinking.

Twelve months ago Alex Neil was celebrating his most famous victory as Norwich manager.

If the trip to Oakwell was a perfect opportunity to prove the thumping win over Brentford was a catalyst for change after a dreadful couple of months, Alex Neil’s side delivered a first-half performance that instead signalled it must have been a false dawn.

Promotion, promotion, promotion – Jez Moxey’s words echoed around Carrow Road at the AGM as the chief executive insisted the club’s aim of an immediate return to the Premier League hadn’t waned, despite an increasingly abysmal run of form.

There’s a depressing predictability about Norwich City at the moment.

Last Saturday’s game was slightly surreal in that City utterly dominated the first 20 minutes, created two excellent chances and then proceeded to gift the initiative as sloppy errors and unfocused defending allowed Bolton to claim a two-goal lead which had looked totally beyond them in that opening period.

The History Boys will have to make do with their star gazing for another few months after the Canaries left with the points from a Portman Road stadium seething with impotent rage as a generation of fans who have never seen an Ipswich derby win hurled facile abuse at anyone wearing yellow and green.

It seems that regardless of how many times we repeat the mantra “work in progress” in regard to City’s development, when it comes down to it we all perhaps expect rather more than is reasonable at this stage.

While international breaks are annoying and disrupt the rhythm of the football season, this one probably came at a very good time for City.

Reading probably expected to be facing a football team last Saturday, but instead found themselves up against a group of black clad Duracell bunnies who proceeded to harry them mercilessly for 95 minutes.

Cast your mind back to last season. City are visiting a team heavily tipped for promotion, are suffering from injuries to key players and come under concerted pressure. What happens next?

I should go on holiday more often. When I left these shores two weeks ago the effects of two thumping away defeats were weighing heavily on the pre-season positivity of most Canary fans and there were even dire predictions of a season battling relegation doing the rounds on social media.

With no City game to write about I took the opportunity to chat with Doug Thomson, a West Yorkshire-based journalist and Huddersfield fan, about the parallels between the difficult introductions to English football encountered by David Wagner and Daniel Farke.

While fans may all regularly repeat the mantra of “this is going to take time”, believing in it can be another matter when witnessing a substandard performance like that at Villa Park or the plethora of unforced errors in the first half against Charlton.

This Norwich City season should really have come with a health warning for those of a delicate disposition, because I’m sure that we can expect more of the peaks and troughs of this week as the new players and Daniel Farke’s systems continue to gel.

One week into the season and we’ve already seen the promise and potential pitfalls of this rebuilt Norwich City squad, an impressive league point at Fulham being followed by a Carabao Cup display that included some sumptuous creativity but also some horribly familiar defensive lapses.

The successes or failures of pre-season are generally about as good an indicator of what to expect once the serious stuff starts as picking through chicken entrails or studying the stars.

Despite the last meeting between Norwich City and Brighton having taken place just three months ago, an awful lot of water has flowed under the bridge, particularly as far as the hosts are concerned.

There is a real feeling of starting with a clean slate around Norwich City at present and that was further evidenced by the recent Fan Focus Group meeting arranged by the club to discuss ways of improving the atmosphere at Carrow Road.

The final game of the season is always something of a bittersweet affair because that cosily familiar weekend routine of the last nine months is about to be replaced by wondering what to do on a Saturday afternoon – and August seems such a long way away.

The fact that City can be irresistible going forward when the mood takes them but show less backbone than an amoeba when the going gets tough defensively is hardly news, so the loss of a three-goal lead at Elland Road will surprise nobody.

Isn’t it just typical of City’s frustrating season that we’ve seen such a belated upturn in form?

I suspect that many of us had to pinch ourselves when the final whistle blew at Deepdale after such a lacklustre showing against Fulham – but nevertheless it was good to see City record an away win, even if they suffered the customary wobble after Preston pulled a goal back, predictably enough from a free header at a set-piece.

In the last six days we’ve seen the best and worst of Norwich City. An apparently irresistible force against Reading somehow transmuted into a side devoid of inspiration and riddled with errors against 10-man Fulham as the Carrow Road crowd got a taste of the sort of performance that has been all too familiar to City’s travelling fans.

I suspect that I’m not alone in experiencing a feeling of numbness on matchdays at the moment.

It’s been a funny old week for Norwich City fans, with no club football to distract us from the apparently interminable saga of Stuart Webber’s move from Huddersfield and little to get excited about on the international front as England’s relentlessly lateral passing made hard work of breaking down an almost totally passive Lithuania.

If the atmosphere at the start of the Blackburn game had been decidedly low key, last week’s was positively funereal and was hardly lifted by a game that generated very little in the way of highlights.

In this turbulent Carrow Road season other things have increasingly tended to get in the way of the football for those of us writing about the club.

On January 21 I wrote in this column that “ultimately the decision to stick with Alex Neil may prove inspired, but currently it simply looks desperate”.

When the post mortems start at the end of a season that now seems almost certain to end in a failure to make the play-offs despite a City squad that, on paper at least, would be the envy of most Championship managers, the recurring theme will be missed opportunities.

Another week and another four valuable points for City, although a realistic assessment would be that this is still a side capable of overwhelming the weaker teams on its day, but with fundamental defensive frailties which can be ruthlessly exposed by opponents with more quality.

With a significant net profit over this transfer window the board will be pleased to see some relief for the club’s financial position, but what fans will want to know is whether January’s transactions have provided sufficient impetus to an underperforming squad.

Regardless of the current situation at Norwich City, last week’s victory over Wolves at least served to debunk the long-running myth of Paul Lambert.

As this train wreck of a season has lurched from one new low to another, I think that most of us had believed that the increasingly petulant interviews given by Alex Neil were a sign of a man under intense pressure.

As a kid in the 60s and 70s I grew up with the magic of the FA Cup. The titanic battles that might go to two or three replays, the giant-killing feats of non-league teams, often achieved on pitches with barely a blade of grass.

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