Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Norwich City manager Neil Adams will deliver a simple message to his players before the return of the East Anglian derby – go and write yourself into Canaries’ folklore.
Grant Holt’s mocking celebration has become an iconic image in the annals of recent cross-border battles against Ipswich, after City’s 5-1 win on the club’s last visit to Suffolk in 2011.
Leon McKenzie’s Norwich career was also indelibly linked to his debut day brace in a 2-0 Portman Road league win back in 2003, and Adams will remind his men these are the tussles they will be remembered for.
“They’ve all played in derbies, whether in this country or abroad, so players know the significance,” he said. “It means so much to the fans and it’s why we remember these matches for the right reasons and sometimes the wrong reasons.
“Does it fire you up a little bit more? Probably. Should it? Probably not, but players are human and we will make sure they will be ready to embrace all that goes with this type of game.”
Self-belief is one trait Adams insists Norwich will not lack at Portman Road. The Canaries’ manager admitted it felt like the good times had returned to Carrow Road after watching a thrilling Championship home win over Blackburn during the week following on from another attacking display in the emphatic victory over Watford.
Adams knows he has the talent and the goalscoring threat at his disposal, but he also senses a growing confidence inside the City dressing room.
“I always place the emphasis on how noisy they are around each other,” he said. “When it’s quiet that is the time you worry. You hear them coming out to training and they are winding each other up and bantering each other and that is great because you know they are going to work at a high intensity and you are building into a game in the right manner.
“Players are looking forward to games now and enjoying how we are trying to play and that is reflected in performances.”
Adams believes it is vital to have plenty of strong characters for the challenges ahead.
“That is what makes a team for me, a happy, lively and loud dressing room normally lends itself to a side that performs,” he said. “I could be a bit mouthy on the pitch and probably got a few too many yellow cards as a result, but you can not underestimate the importance of the players being happy in each other’s company.
“The opposite is also true. If you have a dressing room that is a bit strained it doesn’t take a genius to work out that is not going to be conducive to players fighting and pulling for each other on the pitch.”