Anxious times lie ahead
CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City fans are preparing for the worst possible scenario as relegation becomes more than just a possibility. After the home defeat by Wolves on Tuesday City have won just twice in their last 10 games, leaving them only four points clear of the drop zone - and making them one of the worst five teams in the division on current form.
Norwich City fans are preparing for the worst possible scenario as relegation becomes more than just a possibility.
After the home defeat by Wolves on Tuesday City have won just twice in their last 10 games, leaving them only four points clear of the drop zone - and making them one of the worst five teams in the division on current form.
The outlook isn't bright: leading scorer Robert Earnshaw is out for the rest of the season and, on Tuesday's evidence, scoring goals is going to be a major problem. So, having started the season as dark horses for an automatic promotion spot, City are now just 10-1 to be relegated.
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Message boards were divided after the Wolves defeat - with relegation issues vying with the transfer window movements for dominance. One poster on the Pink Un board asked the simple question: are we going down? The majority of the responses were a definite 'no'.
Not everyone is of a like mind, with manager Peter Grant's activity in the transfer window clearly having a major bearing on views. However, the possibility of leap-frogging a clutch of decent sides and gaining an unlikely play-off spot is not up for discussion.
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It seems that one element of City's performance against Wolves - that it was only poor finishing and an in-form visiting keeper that denied them certain goals on several occasions in a match they dominated for long periods - helped inject some optimism. But the form guide doesn't make easy reading: one win in eight, two in 10 and six wins in 18 games since Grant took charge after the wheels fell off the Nigel Worthington wagon.
Having opened with a surprise win at Birmingham and then ended Cardiff's 14-game unbeaten run, the mood was bright. Four wins in his first six games and the talk was of automatic promotion. But then came the Sunday trip to Ipswich in mid-November. City took the lead but then collapsed, and allowed their nearest rivals to walk all over them. The result was a 3-1 win for the Tractor Boys - and it has been all downhill for City ever since. Including that disaster, City have won two in the last 12.
Leeds are the visitors to Carrow Road on Saturday and, although their recent form has been almost identical, they will be buoyed by a midweek win at Hull. Should City lose, they will be anxiously looking at the other results - and could see a logjam forming.
QPR, who have that last relegation spot, are at home to Burnley - the second worst performers in the division over the last 10 games. Luton have a tough task at Leicester - one point behind City - while Hull are at home to in-form West Brom and Barnsley travel to Cardiff tomorrow.