Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 2-1 Championship defeat at Bolton
PUBLISHED: 23:47 04 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:58 05 November 2017
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Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Bolton
1. How long have you got? - Forget Josh Murphy’s late goal, which barely disguised Norwich’s lack of any genuine goal threat or masked how easily City can be pentrated at the other end.
It’s like that genuinely encouraging two months since Millwall was a figment of Daniel Farke’s imagination. Derby County and Wolves could be explained away, given both defeats came against two clubs who harbour promotion ambitions.
Add in the gruelling physical and mental toll of a painful League Cup defeat at Arsenal as further mitigation. But Bolton had won once at home all season in the league and propped up the rest at kick-off.
The manner City compliantly folded after dictating proceedings for 25 minutes - without the attacking punch that is so often lacking - was just as concerning as that supposedly watershed trip to the Den.
Another international break beckons to sift through the mess. One step forward, many back.
2. How is it possible? - Alex Tettey was deemed not good enough for Farke’s philosophical shift at the start of the season.
His return to the ranks, post-Millwall, in tandem with Tom Trybull acted as a catalyst for fertile uplift.
Since he has been forced out again through injury, City have regressed. It is not a coincidence. Harrison Reed has potential and plenty of attributes the more robust Tettey does not possess.
But his pairing with Trybull simply offers Norwich’s back four precious little insurance. Tettey would cut out those balls, dampen those fires before they reach Angus Gunn. His return can not come quickly enough.
Sadly, Farke’s latest bulletin delivered on Friday afternoon at his pre-match press call suggested the Norwegian will not be back for the best part of another month.
3. How long for Hanley? - Farke made it clear Christoph Zimmermann’s error for Derby’s opener last week was a rare aberration in an impressive body of work during Norwich’s growth spurt. You could not really argue.
But Bolton’s first goal owed as much to Zimmermann’s lack of ability to sense danger as Gary Madine’s near post dart to divert Darren Pratley’s cross.
The German rose to his feet, head bowed, in the aftermath. He knew himself without being told. But these moments are starting to add up again after he had appeared to put those shaky displays at Aston Villa and Millwall behind him.
Grant Hanley was purchased at some cost to add a large dollop British muscle and ballast to Norwich’s backline.
The time surely has now come for him to earn a sustained run in the side and a chance perhaps to forge a new partnership alongside Timm Klose.
4. How many more chances, Cam? - Yes, Cameron Jerome’s selfless work rate outside the box was such a crucial component of the recent upturn. Yes, he has proven he can score goals for Norwich City in the Championship in the past.
But one league strike this campaign in 15 appearances is simply not acceptable for your leading man.
Jerome was foiled by Ben Alnwick from close range in the eighth minute. Credit the keeper to a degree for standing up long enough on that one. But barely sixty seconds later Jerome was found totally unmarked in the vicinity of the penalty spot and dragged horribly wide.
It was the effort of a man lacking in confidence and belief. It was also more ammunition for his detractors. It is one more massive headache for Farke.
With Jerome in a prolonged dry spell he needs his team mates to chip in. But prior to his late finish, Murphy’s late double miss underlined the lack of conviction at present.
Nelson Oliveira is another, like Tettey, who finds his reputation gets enhanced with each snatched chance.
5. How difficult will it be to retain some perspective? - Very. For the simple fact, this Norwich collective, under this head coach, have shown they are capable of picking up results in the most testing terrain.
To go to Bramall Lane, to go the Riverside, to go to Portman Road and not just resist but emerge victorious raised expectations. They have been quashed again.
That might not be a bad thing in the bigger picture. It reminds any who may have chosen to ignore the fact this is still a work in progress.
Peaks and troughs appear to be the signature tune of the season.
Norwich have slipped back into the latter. A period to rest over the international break in order to address visible signs of fatigue plus hard work on the resumption and the return of key players is the only formula that is likely to haul themselves out again. Loftier ambitions can wait for now.
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