Keep positive Norwich City fans - we can still say we’re top of the league

Norwich City celebrate scoring against Bournemouth - and its the games in the mini league which real

Norwich City celebrate scoring against Bournemouth - and its the games in the mini league which really matter for Canaries. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Troy Deeney wasn't the player I had expected to be writing about.

The Watford striker won't be coming up against City until next month and he's not the most obvious subject for this column.

It was his part in the Hornets' 2-1 defeat to Man United and his post match comments which caught my eye and gave me food for thought. Deeney slammed home a penalty in the 87th minute and seemed to have salvaged a much needed point for his team.

Just seconds later he went from hero to zero as his own goal ensured the Reds sneaked a victory.

Deeney was very frank afterwards in saying that despite their decent start to the season, Watford are in the relegation mix – and what I particularly agreed with was that it's not the games against Man United that really matter.

For them it's Villa away this weekend, then Norwich at home and then Sunderland away.

Watford are quickly discovering the tiny margins between success and failure against the big boys.

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We experienced something similar at Man City and Chelsea.

Basically points against the top teams are a bonus.

We need to flourish in the mini league of six pointers with our likely rivals – and I'm saying we're in it with Watford, Swansea, Newcastle, Bournemouth, Sunderland and Villa.

As we look for positives ahead of the Gunners' visit, I'm pleased to say City are currently top.

Apart from the capitulation against Newcastle, City have won all three matches against fellow strugglers.

If that ratio can continue for the rest of the campaign it could be the crucial difference between survival and the trap door.

Last time we were in the Premier League everyone looked at the final games against the big teams.

This time nearly half of the run pits City against fellow mini leaguers.

• The basement mini-league

(Points from games against rivals plus total points this season)

Norwich – Nine from four (12)

Swansea – Eight from six (14)

Watford – Seven from three (16)

Newcastle – Six from five (10)

Sunderland – Five from five (9)

Bournemouth – Five from six (9)

Aston Villa – Four from three (5)


Few players who have pulled on a yellow and green shirt have been more talked about this season than Kyle Lafferty.

It is, of course, his amazing success with Northern Ireland that has made him such a hot topic of conversation among City fans.

He bagged seven goals as his country stormed through to the Euro 2016 finals.

Lafferty has now netted 16 goals in 45 internationals. That's a pretty impressive record in anyone's book.

The real debate surrounds whether Laff should be given a consistent run of games to prove whether he can do the same for the Canaries.

Alex Neil has made it very obvious that there are several other players ahead of him in the pecking order.

Lafferty has been on the pitch for less than half an hour in first team games this campaign – 14 minutes against West Brom in the League Cup (when he scored) and 13 minutes in the defeat to Leicester.

There have been various rumours about where the striker may go in January or before that on loan.

Lafferty was on target as he appeared for the under-21s against Manchester United on Monday.

I don't think he should be a starter for City but his directness and eye for a goal could make him a key man from the bench, especially under Neil's counter attacking formation.