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Ian Clarke: Cheer up Norwich City fans - here are five reasons to be cheerful

PUBLISHED: 19:00 06 September 2017 | UPDATED: 07:38 07 September 2017

Grant Hanley signs for Norwich City FC. Picture: Jasonpix/NCFC

Grant Hanley signs for Norwich City FC. Picture: Jasonpix/NCFC

JASON DAWSON ©Jason Dawson

I’ve heard lots of fans say it feels like the season is starting again after the international break and transfer window shutting.

A battle scarred Timm Klose of Norwich applauds the fans at the end of the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267
11/02/2017A battle scarred Timm Klose of Norwich applauds the fans at the end of the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 11/02/2017

I’ve heard lots of fans say it feels like the season is starting again after the international break and transfer window shutting.

I know what they mean and it is certainly massively disruptive to have this spell without domestic football so early in the campaign.

Whether the break has been beneficial to the Canaries will only become clear following the visits of Birmingham and Burton to NR1 on Saturday and Tuesday.

I completely understand why there were plenty of City chins on the floor after that truly dreadful defeat at Millwall.

Nelson Oliveira of Norwich scores his sides 1st goal during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267
16/08/2017Nelson Oliveira of Norwich scores his sides 1st goal during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 16/08/2017

I don’t blame anyone for leaving early or venting their displeasure at the team as a whole (although I completely disagree with singling out Russ for stick).

It has been a largely disappointing start to the new Webber/Farke regime.

Even though expectations were limited this year, we all hoped to have more than four points from the opening five games.

Certainly we wouldn’t have anticipated leaking so many goals,

I’ve gone back 20 years in City’s records and letting in 12 is the joint worst defensive start in that period - and it’s tied with that League One season which began with a certain 7-1 reversal.

The average is about six per season. Even in a year which had Spurs and Man United away and Arsenal at home, we only conceded nine.

But as the Canaries get going again after the enforced lay-off, I want to inject some optimism and hope. The new team has a lot to prove and I’m under no illusions that a magic wand will fly down the tunnel at 2.55 on Saturday to cure all the problems.

However, five games into the campaign, here are five reasons to be positive.

Grant Hanley

The news of a Grant H signing for the Canaries has to be good based on the last bloke of that name to pull on a City shirt.

Seriously, I have high hopes for the Scot.

As every mistake has been made at the back and as every goal has gone in our net. we’ve been yelling for a “proper defender,”

Hanley is by no means guaranteed to plug every hole. But I feel he’s just what we have needed. I see him in the Malky/Flem style.

Assuming he starts against Brum, Hanley will become City’s third most experienced player (and most experienced defender) when it comes to Championship appearances.

Hanley has been in 162 second tier matches, so he clearly knows he way around this level. (Jerome has 240 Championship games under his belt, while Wes has 193).

In the seasons Hanley has played in the Championship, he has played the vast majority of games, which is a good sign of consistency and staying injury free. Forget last season at Newcastle when he was kept out by two very good defenders.

The hopeful imminent return of Timm Klose is another boost and I look forward to the duo linking up.

Millwall was a wake up call

At the final whistle, I’m sure no-one from Norwich in the Den could see any positives.

However, it seems that it was the trigger for action. Hanley’s signing is tangible proof of that. I sense Steve Morison’s “you’re too nice” speech will also have rattled plenty of cages at Carra.

We want some lovely flowing football and good possession. In this league, however, there has to be plenty of scrapping before the style can flow.

Nelson still a Norfolk man

It seems certain there was real interest from other clubs in taking Oliveira away from Norwich in a multi-million pound move.

City’s ability to keep hold of the striker has to be a real signal of intent.

The stark financial reality - especially with the parachute payments running out next summer if promotion can’t be secured - could easily have seen the top brass cashing in on a very valuable asset.

The fact there was a no to NO going is a huge boost.

It was good to see him back in his national squad and now let’s see him rip up opposition defences.

Two home games on the trot

Birmingham and Burton have both lost their opening two away games, scoring only a goal each and conceding a total of nine.

You couldn’t choose a much better double header. Two wins would make the start of the season look very different.

Clean bill of health

Every international break brings with it the dread that those away with their countries will come back crocked.

That seems not to be the case for the Canaries’ foreign legion.

I know not many of them got a lot of game time but they will have got good training periods under their belts.

OTBC

Magpies flying high

While it has been far from a perfect start to the season at Carra, the opposite is the case at Aldiss Park – the home of my hometown club Dereham Town.

A few weeks ago I paid tribute to former manager Matt Henman, who has left the Magpies after countless years of service.

It is a new era for the club with Neal Simmons taking over as first team boss - and what a start he and the boys have made.

They have won every league and cup game so far, including the FA Cup first qualifying round victory at Yaxley.

That has set up a home tie against Boston Town on Saturday September 16.

The Lincolnshire club plays a tier below Dereham, so while no-one at Aldiss Park will take anything for granted, it is a great opportunity to make further progress in the greatest domestic club competition in world football.

With the Canaries away, it would be great for those City fans who aren’t travelling to Sheffield to get to Dereham to cheer on the Magpies.

End this madness

Thank goodness it’s over.

No, I’m not talking about the school holidays (I am married to a teacher after all!)

I’m referring to the transfer window.

I know we need one and it provides plenty of interest for fans, while it is good for our business (I must say a huge thanks to our sports guys for their brilliant coverage on deadline day).

What I am opposed to is all the wheeling and dealing carrying on several weeks into the new season.

Last week was an absurd situation with players taking part in crucial international qualifiers while their futures were being sorted out.

It has also clearly had an unsettling impact on football generally during August, which is just not acceptable.

I totally agree with the idea that the window should shut at the end of July.

There’s an argument that it would no longer be synchronised with world football.

Well, it shouldn’t be beyond the powers that be at Fifa to sort that.

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