Let’s sort this season before talking of next

The massed ranks of Norwich City fans behind one goal at the DW Stadium.

The massed ranks of Norwich City fans behind one goal at the DW Stadium. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

As much as we should be able to begin looking forward to next season after starting to make some big signings, the fact remains that we still haven't quite completed this one yet.

The last thing we need is any more quotes attributed to our new star striker about what might happen over the summer until we get the victory and the draw we need.

Get four points from seven and will all of Sunderland, Wigan and Aston Villa win three times to send us down? At the moment you wouldn't think so.

Things currently remain in our own hands, but it's increasingly hard to see that the more blanks we draw – and that's five in the last seven now.

Had we avoided defeat on Saturday, that probably would have been that, but the fact that Wigan are now just four points behind us, with a game in hand – admittedly away to Manchester City – means that the waiting to be absolutely sure of staying up goes on, and on and on.

True, Sunderland in particular should have an awful lot more to be worried about than us on that score, but our sheer lack of goals is the one thing that continues to let us down.

Since beating Wigan at home in the middle of December to go seventh we've taken just nine points from 14 games and scored only nine times – and five of those came in the two matches against Manchester City and Everton.

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There's no getting away from it – this is relegation form. Saturday's display, in isolation, was that of a side who don't deserve to stay up. It's up to us to change that against Swansea.

The time to play for draws has now gone after Wigan. We need a win now – and how.

Presumably someone in the Premier League hierarchy decided that ouR big stars could possibly face the ignominy of playing twice in three days, so when we really need an Easter Monday fixture to recover from losing at the DW Stadium we're having to twiddle our thumbs for the next few days instead.

And it's a depressing situation to have to consider.

That gap between ourselves and the drop zone has steadily dropped to just four points – conceivably we could be in the bottom three if we slipped up against Swansea and then lost at Arsenal.

And if the worst was yet to happen we'd have no-one to blame but ourselves – and that's before you start to consider missed stoppage-time penalties, which, had they been converted, would make the foot of the Premier League table an awful lot better reading now..

You can't cite bad luck with a record like this.

And if it goes on against Swansea this weekend, and then Wigan go to QPR and win – which, you have to say, is a perfectly possible outcome – then we'll be reduced to hoping that Sunderland have 'done a Wolves' in terms of a late managerial change.

At half-time yesterday at Villa Park yesterday things looked as bad as they could get.

Had Villa been able to hold on against Liverpool I would now be really beginning to fear the worst – but Paul Lambert's side showed they can't defend while at least Liverpool didn't surrender again in the same way that they did at Southampton especially since they've still got to play Newcastle, Reading and QPR.

No wonder Chris Hughton has dismissed as misquotations Ricky Van Wolfswinkel's suggestion that City will 'capture an attacking mdfielder and two wide players'.

If we can't win any of our remaining fixtures such plans go out of the window.

For now, we need everyone focused for the last seven games – if people think they're not going to be involved next season and don't turn up then we've really had it.


City's remaining games might not be the most attractive, but they do offer hope that we should still stumble over the 40-point – or whatever number is deemed enough – to stay up.

When you're talking about the possibility of a late slump into the drop zone – like 1985's, for example – it's somewhat ironic to consider Swansea's record since thrashing Bradford to win the Capital One Cup.

Four matches played, three lost, and only one won – and that was down to a 85th-minute goal.

They might not be quite on the beach yet, but surely our far greater incentive to win should see us through. And then there's Reading – six successive defeats since beating Sunderland on February 2.

Again, a match we should really have no excuses for not getting anything from.

We'll overlook the visit of Aston Villa, because there's far too much significance attached to that particular game, but West Brom, who come here the following weekend, have wobbled a bit in March with only four points secured from a possible 12.

Will they turn up on May 12 fully focused, especially since this is a season in which only the top five will qualify for Europe, so the chase for seventh place doesn't have the same significance this time around.

And then there's the Canaries' trip to Stoke, which given that this is a side who have scored six goals in 2013 taking on another who have managed five surely means that this is a game that has 0-0 written all over it.

No, if we can't get the points we need to survive from that little lot we deserve to go down. End of.


And on the subject of Mr Van Wolfswinkel, or RVW as surely everyone will refer to him in the future...

People keen to get hold of their NCFC shirts for the 13/14 season already appear to have decided that he's going to be wearing the number nine shirt.

A bit presumptuous, I'd say.

The current holder might still be here come the middle of August, or he might have moved to a club based either end of the M74. Who knows?

But in all the excitement of the record signing, we're in danger of possibly forgetting Grant Holt's record of goalscoring up the league ladder – 20 in League Two with Shrewsbury, followed by 24, 21 and 15 with the Canaries as they climbed from League One to the Premier League.

Forget this season – for whatever reason you choose, it's been one to largely overlook for Holt – but he has seven games left to stay in pole position.

Score a key goal in the remainder of the season and he deserves the honour of the prestigious number-nine shirt for the major part he played in getting us to where we are today and keeping us there.

Otherwise it'll be RVW who bags the number. You're only as good as your last goal – and, as things stand, a total of five just doesn't cut it.


Three years ago City rounded off their Easter programme with a home game against Stockport.

It wasn't a classic, but the hard-earned 2-1 win was one of those many forgotten but effective steps en route to the League One title.

Fast forward 36 months and how things have changed for both clubs.

Two promotions later and the Canaries are still on the cusp of a third straight season in the cash-rich Premier League.

Stockport, meanwhile, dropped into League Two and within a year were out of the whole Football League altogether.

And after drifting around in the bottom half of the Conference last season, this afternoon they are at home to Grimsby sitting just inside the relegation places.

A third drop in four seasons would see them facing the likes of Vauxhall Motors and Gainsborough next season.

Chances of them facing the Canaries ever again?

None whatsoever, I'd say.