I'm in no doubt of the drop

Just what do you say about this game? The fact is that for 70 minutes on Saturday City looked, and played, like a side with a foot in League One.

Just what do you say about this game? The fact is that for 70 minutes on Saturday City looked, and played, like a side with a foot in League One.

With no Robert Earnshaw or Dion Dublin - the names you suspect will form the top two in the player-of-the-season voting - they were totally devoid of inspiration and quality.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, if we go down it's because no one this season has been able or willing to sort out any kind of short-term replacement for Earnshaw - and I don't mean Ryan Jarvis either. Had City's No 10 not injured himself in training, it's fair to assume that we would have beaten Plymouth, Wolves and Coventry. With 46 points to our name the current season would thankfully have been all but over and we could start planning for a much happier campaign ahead in the Championship.

And as for the effect of missing Dublin on Saturday, all I'll say is this - who was it who could clearly be seen leading the pre-match semi-huddle at Stamford Bridge last week?


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I suppose we should be grateful that the Canaries even managed a point, but the lasting memory of much of the performance against Coventry is how are they possibly going to record the five victories they need from their last

14 games to stay up? Even if we somehow manage four, would you fancy this lot to have the resolve and determination to go to Sheffield Wednesday on the last day of the season and get the right result? Hardly.

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Yes, we beat Leeds with a stirring comeback, but we should have done the same against a Coventry line-up who weren't much better. If we couldn't see them off, who exactly are we going to beat? Seven of our remaining fixtures are against sides in the top 10, remember.

This coming week could not only decide City's future, but also the club's whole short to medium-term future. The Carrow Road hierarchy should be taking a look at what's happening at Nottingham Forest and getting very concerned. Here is a similar-sized club, albeit with a slightly bigger stadium, who could start a third straight season in League One come August.

You might remember that they were widely expected to come straight back up under Gary Megson last year. Were the Canaries to go down, you can see that supposed City 'togetherness' - a concept which has become as forgotten as the notion of 'Fortress Carrow Road' - imploding over the summer and a disunited camp not having the wherewithal to bounce straight back.

Somehow beat Luton and Barnsley this week and City will survive - of that I have no doubt whatsoever. Take two or three points and everything remains in the air. Less than that, however, and we will be reduced to wanting Ipswich to beat QPR at Portman Road on Saturday to quite possibly stop us slipping into the bottom three.

Yes, it really has got that bad.

Now I'm quite happy to receive criticism, and it may come as a surprise to the various detractors of this column - the media pundit who should really know better that described me as "professionally miserable" or the EDP letter writer who offered "serial pessimist" - that I do actually want Norwich City to succeed.

And I am fiercely opposed to the 'Peter Grant is out of his depth' school of thought heard in an increasing number of quarters now - I defy any manager to overcome the injury blows he has had to suffer in the past three months or so, and wouldn't judge him until he has had a full season in charge.

But, after the weekend that's just gone, even the most blinkered, viewing everything through green-and-yellow lenses types are likely to be downright miserable and pessimistic at the Canaries' prospects.

You might have laughed on Saturday at the gravity afforded to the Sky Sports News 'breaking news' concerning the West Ham website statement proclaiming that Alan Curbishley's position was safe even in the face of a calamitous collapse at Charlton, but at least as a club they did something.

Log on to the Canaries' website yesterday and there wasn't a lot besides a reminder about the upcoming season-ticket renewal deadline. Certainly nothing to indicate that as campaigns go this one might be slightly below-par. You half-expected to see an item headlined "Crisis? What Crisis?".

You'd get an awful lot more support and togetherness at Carrow Road rather than second-half chants of "What a load of rubbish" were senior figures to actually hold their hands up and admit that they'd got things wrong and that we're all in this together. Because at the moment you suspect there are those who just see it as a slight blip, whereas the club's self-proclaimed 'prudent' approach is in danger of dragging them down thanks to a laughably-thin squad. What happens in the coming week if Darren Huckerby is tackled as he was on Saturday and this time doesn't get up?

I'll be at both Kenilworth Road and Oakwell this week willing City to somehow pull something off, though that's more in hope than expectation.

Because as long as they continue to gift the opposition first-half leads they're making the hard task of survival even more difficult. And, as at Preston, should they go 2-0 down, well it really doesn't matter how well they played in the first or last 10 minutes against Coventry - the damage has already been done.

Last time out at Kenilworth Road, the Canaries handed Luton a 4-0 interval lead - the club's whole future depends on them avoiding anything approaching a repeat of that. It's as simple as that.

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