Opinion: Norwich City are gearing up for crucial run of home fixtures
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
I remember the last time I placed so much significance on the outcome of three home games.
It was August 2005 and the well-meaning – though subsequently flawed – decision to switch fixtures with Coventry meant that we had three successive matches at Carrow Road to start the season.
Nine points was the generally accepted minimum to start the bid to bounce straight back to the Premier League.
But certainly no-one was expecting any fewer than seven.
And we all know what happened.
You may also want to watch:
Coventry hit back after the break to draw 1-1, we had to do likewise to claim a point against Crewe, and then that scourge of the Canaries, Andrew Johnson, struck again to deny us victory over Crystal Palace.
Despite a brief revival around Christmas, our season never really recovered from our haul of just three points.
- 1 'It's not even that short' - schoolboy, 14, put in isolation due to haircut
- 2 'Red-and-white spray paint doesn't count' - three danger lorries stopped
- 3 Norfolk man found drunk at wheel twice in less than a month
- 4 Norfolk set for dry week with temperatures to rise
- 5 Nick Knowles joins outcry as Norfolk police told to close Twitter accounts
- 6 'Second time this year' - Armed police called to Norwich street
- 7 Why your phone might warn you of a 'terror attack' today
- 8 Hundreds flock to see exotic birds in Yarmouth bushes
- 9 Two Norfolk restaurants in top five 'secret' places to eat on English coast
- 10 Fresh calls for action over 'unacceptable' queues at A11 roundabout
And now we have a similar run of must-win home games.
Granted, the visits of Crystal Palace, Swansea and Fulham are spaced over four weeks rather than eight days, but the same principal of needing seven – or nine, if you're really optimistic – points is exactly the same as it was eight years ago.
Because if we were to take only three again it's going to put an awful lot of pressure on our remaining Carrow Road programme.
Given that it contains fixtures against Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham, it's not unreasonable to think we'd then need an awful lot of points against Hull, Newcastle, Stoke, Sunderland and West Bromwich.
If you substitute Reading for Hull, last season we managed 13 points against those five sides. We'd be needing nothing short of a repeat this time around.
But it shouldn't come to that.
When you look at those upcoming fixtures, the squad we have ought to be more than capable of getting the necessary points. Even allowing for our dreadful recent record against them – one victory in the last 12 meetings, and where's a David Strihavka when you need one to grab you a winner? – and the possibility that they might have the boost of a new manager, or Iain Dowie, Crystal Palace remain a poor outfit.
By the time we face Swansea they'll be playing their 27th competitive fixture of the season, eight more than us. Fresh from their final Europa League group match in Switzerland, that busy campaign ought to be catching up with them – or we should make it do so.
And then there's Fulham on Boxing Day – and let's just say that if we can't get our first win against them since 1986 in their current form, well perhaps we never will.
Three points from these games won't render our season as much of a relative failure as 2005/6 was – you still suspect that the promoted trio are going to get a lot closer to the bottom three places than is currently the case – but we do have to go for it starting from November 30 rather than play for any more 1-1 draws.