Norwich City aim to start turning potential into progress with Fulham visit

Leroy Fer and Martin Olsson will be among those hoping for a good festive period - starting with Fulham's visit on Boxing Day. Leroy Fer and Martin Olsson will be among those hoping for a good festive period - starting with Fulham's visit on Boxing Day.

Thursday, December 26, 2013
8:00 AM

Football and Christmas are truly seasonal bedfellows – even if Norwich City have not always been able to make the most of enjoying it.

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But what Chris Hughton’s men are presented with this afternoon when Fulham visit for a Boxing Day (3pm) treat is the perfect chance to set the tone for how their 2013 festive period – and more – will pan out.

David Moyes’ Manchester United transition arriving in Norfolk on Saturday is currently irrelevant. Likewise that traditional New Year’s Day jaunt to Selhurst Park. It is solely about the Cottagers – the second side to label a game against the Canaries as “must win” in successive matches.

City have a tendency to be awkward opponents when they get things right – like that now famous 10-game unbeaten run last year. And they are showing encouraging similarities to that run now. In fact, they are threatening to answer Hughton’s summer request for a more consistent approach across the season – rather than a condensed season-saving run.

Taking in comparative fixtures, City have two more wins and four more points than last season. There have been significant lows – but arguably, also a far greater potential for what awaits.

“At one stage this season we were in the bottom three and the first priority had to be to get us out and make sure we didn’t drop back in,” said Hughton. “Slowly but surely we’ve crept into a more comfortable, better position. But in this division, a few bad results can very quickly get you back in there and we’ve got to make sure that’s not the case for us.

“Last season’s unbeaten run was a wonderful achievement but it’s very difficult to do – and if anything, this season perhaps even more difficult.

“What has shown this season is that if you’re in a momentum, sometimes that can carry you through. That doesn’t mean you will always get the results you want, but I think you’re hopeful it will give you more opportunities to get the results you want.

“We’ve reacted very well from the big defeats we’ve had. That’s what we’ve asked of the players. There is some consistency now in the team and I think the clean sheets we’ve had in the last two trips away from home have given us a lot of confidence too.”

Having had to make his own mid-season transition from assistant to manager in the past, Hughton is well aware of what Rene Meulensteen is going through as he bids to save Fulham’s Premier League status.

“He’ll be enjoying the challenge,” said Hughton. “It’s been a difficult period for them and they’ve changed their manager. But they’ve got some very good players – that’s something that hasn’t changed.

“Their level of performance in the last few games has been very good. They’ve had a change in formation and I suppose it’s a manager trying to put his own stamp on a team.

“So we must be guarded – but it’s very much about us. We’re playing at home and we’ll do everything we can to get a result.”

• Norwich v Fulham – likely line-ups

• City (4-4-2): Ruddy; Whittaker, Turner, Bassong, Olsson; Snodgrass, Fer, Johnson, Redmond; Elmander, Hooper. Subs (from): Bunn, Martin, R Bennett, Garrido, Howson, Hoolahan, Josh Murphy, Becchio, Van Wolfswinkel.

• Fulham (4-5-1): Stekelenburg; Riether, Senderos, Hughes, Riise; Dejagah, Parker, Karagounis, Sidwell, Richardson; Berbatov. Subs (from): Stockdale, Kasami, Ruiz, Duff, Kacaniklic, Amorebieta, Taarabt, Bent.

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8 comments

  • @TK - "We need to be at the top of our game and that includes the crowd so lets all make plenty of noise." Very well said and I shall be there lending my support to the boys in yellow and green. Let's hope we can 'kick on' and pick up several points before we face Fulham in the cup.

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    Mr Ed

    Thursday, December 26, 2013

  • I am not sure that having just 4 strikers in the squad makes us strong, especially considering first Hooper was out for some time and the Elmander. Neither of the other two strikers have ever looked like emulating Holt that is for sure. However, we have our two main strikers fit now so lets go out today and win well as long as CH is not too afraid to attack. Today is the important game as I doubt we will be able to turn Man Utd over two years on the trot. OTBC

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    TrevorKeith

    Thursday, December 26, 2013

  • Too much Christmas pud, that should have read RVW who has been out for far too long due to an injury. However, he now appears to be back fully fit so I hope to see him get some game time today whereby he can show us what he is really capable of. We need to be at the top of our game and that includes the crowd so lets all make plenty of noise.

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    TrevorKeith

    Thursday, December 26, 2013

  • Diss, indeed you are right and Lawro has us down to win 2-1 today. Lets hope for once he is correct with the result. Personally I would like to see City make a bit of a statement here and give Fulham a good roasting. I'll take a 2-1 win against Man Utd after that ! OTBC

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    Dubai Canary

    Thursday, December 26, 2013

  • Interesting reading an article by Mark Lawrenson in which he states that Norwich probably have more attacking firepower at their disposal than the club has ever had before. He goes on to say he is surprised that they haven't been tearing defences to shrewds. You have to believe that we do in fact have a very good squad of players, let us hope that from this point forward they will start to gel and play as a team and put a decent run of form together. All the ingredients are there - we just have to deliver on the day ! OTBC

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    Dubai Canary

    Thursday, December 26, 2013

  • Dubai, a correction? the article is Dan O'Hagen's the MOTD commentator, not Lawrenson's. Go to the top of the page?

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    Dissaster

    Thursday, December 26, 2013

  • FER,makes so many mistakes,please drop him

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    canarykid

    Thursday, December 26, 2013

  • Diss, indeed you are right and Lawro has us down to win 2-1 today. Lets hope for once he is correct with the result. Personally I would like to see City make a bit of a statement here and give Fulham a good roasting. I'll take a 2-1 win against Man Utd after that ! OTBC

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Thursday, December 26, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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