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Not since Premier League relegation loomed have City fans had a reason to care much about other teams’ results.

When the fixture list is released in June there are certain games you pray don’t fall on important dates.

There seems to have been genuine surprise when Norwich’s thumping 4-0 win at Hillsborough sent them top of the league on Saturday evening.

I was devastated. When Paul Lambert emerged as the white-hot favourite to replace the departing Paul Hurst a week ago, I found myself having to explain to colleagues why I felt so upset.

There is one word that every football fan dreads seeing in a headline about their club during the international break. Especially when it precedes the name of your team’s top scorer.

Timm Klose’s unfortunate attempt at a sliding clearance to gift Stoke their winning goal on Saturday may have been a literal slice of bad fortune, but for once City have luck on their side in the timing of this international break.

If you’d asked Norwich City fans their biggest concern ahead of this campaign, most would probably have cited a potential lack of goals.

There would have been a cruel irony if Russell Martin’s departure last week had preceded a first derby loss since before he joined the club.

While there is little doubt that table-toppers Leeds would cause most Championship teams problems playing how they did on Saturday, their comfortable win at Carrow Road highlighted more worrying wider issues for City.

The League Cup may be a staple in the English footballing calendar, but since Norwich City lifted it at Wembley 33 years ago there’s little doubt its stature in the game has dwindled, along with its attendances.

In the 13-week period that Norwich City’s fortunes did not pre-occupy supporters’ minds this summer, those of us who followed every kick of England’s exploits in Russia were reminded how special this game can be when hope far outweighs expectation.

It was a freezing February night in 1996 when I first laid eyes on Carrow Road.

As the Fulham fans belted out chants of “We are going up” at the full-time whistle on Good Friday, it was hard not to feel envious.

If ever a crowd needed to see goals to warm them up, Saturday was it.

It says a lot about where Norwich City find themselves at this moment in time that matters on the pitch were almost a sideshow this week.

When the stadium announcer declared that six minutes had been added on against Bolton on Saturday there was an audible gasp of excitement.

For five short minutes it seemed like the unthinkable was going to happen.

The last time Norwich played Ipswich, his name was being sung jubilantly in the hours before kick-off by the hoards in green and yellow outside the Station Hotel.

There is a certain buzz that fills a stadium when an attacking player has space to run in front of him and the ball at his feet.

An excellent performance against one of the Premier League’s elite followed by a lethargic one at Carrow Road.

A Premier League team swoops in to buy one of the best players at an under-performing Championship club.

There is little doubt that Norwich’s goalless draw against Chelsea was a dreadful game for the neutrals tuning in to watch it live on television.

If failing to beat a team on a run of eight straight home defeats wasn’t quite poor enough, Saturday’s draw at Burton will seem a whole lot worse if Norwich City don’t beat Millwall this afternoon.

On the face of it a 1-0 defeat at Elland Road, a place where Norwich City have won just once in the last 23 years, isn’t the end of the world.

It’s a sign of how much positivity currently surrounds the club that last week’s AGM was more celebration than interrogation.

In Wim Wenders’ recently re-released film noir The Goalkeeper’s Fear of the Penalty, the central character talks about the existential crisis faced by a keeper facing a spot kick. He’d clearly never seen Norwich City take one.

I think that we’re all rapidly running out of superlatives for Daniel Farke and his remarkable squad of players.

You realise that you must have somehow failed as a parent when your son announces that he is going to get married during the football season.

“Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles.”

Anyone wanting a perfect snapshot of this new, vibrant Norwich City need only look at the highlights of Saturday’s game.

When you lose at home but leave the field to rapturous applause and On the Ball City ringing around the ground you must be doing something right.

The game against Wigan last Saturday demonstrated how quickly football managers respond to successful tactics.

Last week was pretty remarkable – achieving league wins against three very different types of opponent with Grant Hanley sidelined for every game, and Onel Hernandez for the last two, was beyond the wildest dreams of most City fans.

The first few league games before the first international break always feel like a kind of phoney war, with clubs still integrating new players with old and the loan transfer window still open to allow those with the requisite resources to further adjust their squads.

In the opening minutes of last Saturday’s game the Leeds defender Luke Ayling found himself closed down by Jordan Rhodes and left exposed by his own goalkeeper who had rushed from his line with no hope of getting to the ball first.

I would suggest that Saturday’s first half was probably the most impressive and sustained attacking display from City under Daniel Farke.

It would be dangerous to draw too many conclusions, either positive or negative, from City’s trip to Birmingham last week.

It doesn’t seem five minutes since I was walking away, embarrassed, from Hillsborough, but after one of the best World Cups that I can remember, the Championship season is already upon us.

As I walked out of the away end at Hillsborough last week, I was glad to see the back end of what has been such a dismal season.

Well, at least it’s over.

Amidst all of the untrammelled emotion of Wexit a rather entertaining football match eventually broke out at Carrow Road against Leeds.

As City’s disappointing season meanders towards its seemingly interminable close, games and results have become almost secondary to statistics, which are being pored in over in much the same way that an ancient Roman oracle might study the entrails of a freshly-sacrificed sheep.

At least we can now resolve the long-standing debate about how to improve the atmosphere at Carrow Road. If the EFL were to appoint Tim Robinson to referee all of City’s home games I’m convinced that we would have plenty of noise.

When Timm Klose, finding no one open ahead of him, turned and played the ball back to Angus Gunn from the halfway line to an undertone of boos halfway through last Saturday’s first half I feared the worst.

I won’t dwell on City’s defeat at QPR, partly because I wasn’t at the game, but also because by all accounts it was an awful City performance with few, if any, mitigating factors.

After the stunning success of the Canary Bond issue to fund the redevelopment of Colney that he recommended, it’s a good time to look at another aspect of Stuart Webber’s impact on the club.

With yet another international break upon us it seems like an appropriate time to assess the current state of the Canary nation, and there is no doubt that the overall mood has been lifted by Saturday’s performance.

Saturday’s game was much more than just a football match, with so much raw emotion in the Carrow Road air as fans of both teams united spectacularly to show great respect for the passing of Michelle Dack and Gemma Thomas.

While promotion this season now seems a forlorn hope, the adage about defences winning titles would suggest that Daniel Farke’s Norwich City are heading in the right direction.

When we finally get to look back on this season of change I suspect that this last week may prove to be a significant staging post on the journey towards a new-look Norwich City.

The week leading up to the game at Bristol was a difficult one for everyone connected with Norwich City Football Club, with Alex Pritchard jumping ship for the greener grass of Huddersfield and Daniel Farke’s plans for the game disrupted by a late training ground injury to Tom Trybull.

While the national media will inevitably give City no chance in tonight’s Stamford Bridge replay that won’t be the mindset in the away dressing room.

Spud’s teaser: Who did Norwich play when they appeared on Match of the Day for the first time?

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