In Alex the brave we trust - but Norwich City are on course for 31 points

Norwich City manager Alex Neil. Photo: Steve Pond/PA Wire

Norwich City manager Alex Neil. Photo: Steve Pond/PA Wire - Credit: PA

With eleven Premier League games gone, Norwich City fans have a much clearer picture of what lays ahead in the challenge to stay in the top flight.

Norwich Manager Alex Neil tries to get instructions to Kyle Lafferty. Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus I

Norwich Manager Alex Neil tries to get instructions to Kyle Lafferty. Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The last time we were in this division, West Bromwich Albion stayed up on 36 points and then Aston Villa stayed up last season on 38 points.

This season could well be the lowest ever points tally for the bottom four to six teams, if things carry on as they've started.

There are more teams screaming out for a win than ever before at such a relatively early stage of the season.

If we maintain the same level of performance as we are displaying at the moment, we will almost certainly be relegated unless there are of course three worse performers than ourselves.

Norwich Manager Alex Neil during the Barclays Premier League match at St. James's Park, Newcastle. P

Norwich Manager Alex Neil during the Barclays Premier League match at St. James's Park, Newcastle. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd


You may also want to watch:


With just nine points (two wins) from 11 games and an average point's tally of 0.81 per game, if we keep this current form up we will be on a measly 31 points come May 15 on the final day of the season at Goodison Park.

Will that be good enough? I doubt it.

Most Read

In Alex Neil, we have the youngest manager in the league and with that comes a manager still learning his trade in football, let alone trying to learn more at a rapid pace about English football and in particular the fastest and most furious league in the world.

In his still relatively short spell at the club he has demonstrated a strong and commendable loyalty to several of the players that did the business for him under his sterling leadership during last season.

Neil before the Barclays Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture by Paul Che

Neil before the Barclays Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

But right here and now is where we will start to see just how good a manager he is as he faces some big decisions on who to keep the faith with and who to drop.

Now, he knows far better than any of us how to do his job as a manager, but as much as I also want to remain loyal to John Ruddy, Russell Martin, Steve Whittaker and Sebastien Bassong, the defence is the weakest area of our squad and has been for some time.

In the Championship, we got away with it, but on the big stage we simply will not get away with lapses of concentration at crucial times during a game.

In the current squad, we have in the midfielders and strikers enough talent to keep us in this division, but in defence we are seriously lacking.

Now is it that there is just not enough competition in this department as there is in others or is it that certain individuals are just not as good as we would like and need them to be?

Too many mistakes

Russell Martin and Sebastien Bassong just have too many mistakes in them individually and collectively. Most weeks they are an accident waiting to happen.

It cannot continue, but of course no new playing additions will be with us until January, so meanwhile we just have to hold it together as best as possible.

With Martin being suspended this coming weekend it could prove to be a blessing in disguise for the manager, for if he was actually contemplating dropping his captain sometime soon, then that red card will save him a job.

Ruddy is another matter, he is available to play, but surely it's time to also drop/rest him just now?

If Declan Rudd is not considered good enough at the age of 24 for this league, then let's also get another goalkeeper added to the squad during the next transfer window.

The manager certainly appeared to be more frustrated and agitated than ever before at our defensive lapses following last Saturday's defeat to the league leaders.

Manuel Pellegrini also chipped in and said that we showed 100 per cent concentration for almost the whole game.

Unfortunately that sums us up so far this season and it is quite simply proving to not be good enough. The hard luck stories must not be allowed to continue any longer.

The club's reluctance, inability, or just bad luck, in landing two quality centre halves will hopefully come good in early 2016. Let us hope that this is not too late to save us from the drop.

In the summer, there is sure to be a major clear out with many personnel changes.

If we keep in with the big boys, then the board and Alex Neil will have their biggest challenge yet in terms of restructuring virtually the entire playing squad and digging deep into the coffers.

Surely it is becoming ever more crucial for the longevity of the club to ensure that we are at the Premier League races come the start of the 2016/17 football season, such are the rich rewards now.

We don't want to remain a yo-yo club any longer. We all want to see long term survival and an increased ground capacity and the only way that we will get both of those is to grab hold of that wedge of cash that needs to be made available in January and then spend wisely in the summer. We need to stop sailing this close to the wind.

Business is business, so let's get it right in the January transfer window and in the interim period where every weekend presents us with a tough game, let's get it right on the pitch now, starting with a home victory against Swansea City at the weekend.

At the start of the season, I felt sure that we would stay up and I am still hanging my hat on that but something needs to improve and quickly.

Either way, we must keep faith in this manager wherever we are in May.

He, who dares wins, and in Alex the brave we trust.

• You can follow Steve Plunkett on Twitter at @plunkykos

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter