Little things make the difference

Two more games played, two more clean sheets, and the unbeaten run is extended to four matches.

Two more games played, two more clean sheets, and the unbeaten run is extended to four matches.

A point against Derby and victory against Torquay may not be the stuff that dreams are made of, but you only have to look at similar results and performances in the recent past to realise that both are significant improvements on what we've been subjected to.

In the first half at Pride Park last week, Derby may have had the upper hand - just - and perhaps we didn't hit the heights of our first three games, but most fans who were forced to witness such inept displays away from home last year will have been delighted with how we performed.

And given that the law of sod says all players we sell or just miss out on signing then go on to score against us, perhaps Steve Howard's effort that hit the bar was symptomatic of our luck changing for the better.

In the second half, we were the better team, and although 0-0 was probably a fair result, we could have nicked it at the end.

Similar to Leeds a couple of weeks earlier, Derby weren't world-beaters, but there are certainly worse teams in the Championship and it's heartening to see us going to places such as Elland Road and Pride Park and holding our own.

Most Read

Meanwhile, you only have to look at our recent Carling Cup record to realise that getting through to the second round is no mean feat.

And with the likes of Wolves, Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday and, ahem, Ipswich all coming a cropper at the first hurdle, it puts our performance at Torquay in an even better light.

Nigel Worthington said before the game that he wanted a good cup run, but I'm not sure I believed him.

I have no problem with fielding a reserve team - and to Worthington's credit it paid off - but if you really want to give yourself the best chance of progressing then you play your best team, surely.

Either you give the youngsters a chance OR you go hell for leather and try to win the thing. Both viewpoints are valid, but they are not compatible.

Apart from a first City goal for Dickson Etuhu and possibly a last City goal for Leon McKenzie, the evening's biggest talking point was the injuries.

Andrew Cave-Brown's serious ankle injury on his debut was obviously devastating for the 18-year-old.

And there was also concern when Adam Drury limped off towards the end, not least because of the lack of cover at left-back.

While I have some sympathy with Worthington over his search for a big striker - the likes of Howard and Rob Hulse went for silly money and we were right not to try to meet the asking prices for them - until the summer we had a ready-made stand-in for Drury in the form of Simon Charlton.

He may not have been the greatest player in Norwich's history and he may not have seen eye-to-eye with Worthington, but if anything happens to Drury, the decision to let Charlton (and Jim Brennan before him) leave might come back to haunt us.