Iwan Roberts: Can Norwich City fans dare dream of a late push for play-offs?
PUBLISHED: 19:00 08 February 2018
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
With three 1-0 league wins in their last four games could Norwich City’s fortunes be on the turn?
And could the lads put a run of results together from now until the beginning of May and finish in what a month ago would have been a very unlikely play-off position?
Maybe, just maybe, a few people – including myself – were slightly premature in giving up hope of a top-six finish.
Look at Fulham – they’ve spent most of the first half of the season in the bottom half of the Championship.
However, all of a sudden, seven wins in their last eight games has propelled them to fifth in the table.
That’s the type of run Daniel Farke’s men need to put together in these last 16 games... mind you, there are some very tough games on the horizon.
Tom Trybull scored the only goal last weekend – his first for the club – and what a lovely strike it was.
Power, accuracy and great technique to keep the ball as low as he did; it was a wonderful goal.
It was Angus Gunn’s 12th clean sheet of the season – only Scott Carson and John Ruddy have kept more.
I have to give a special mention to Grant Hanley who, since he’s got into the team, has been tremendous.
He’s a typical old-fashioned centre half; strong, loves the physical side of the game and just enjoys defending, which is something you don’t see that often these days.
Saturday it’s a trip to Derby, who sit second in the league having not lost in their last 11 games and not conceding in nine of those games, including their last four.
I loved playing against Derby, home or away, even though I only played at Pride Park once; all the other games came at the Baseball Ground.
I scored plenty of goals against the Rams – the first of my four hat-tricks came against them on a very special Tuesday night at Filbert Street.
We beat them in the play-off final that same season even though they were heavy favourites to reach the Premier League and even though I didn’t score, I played a big part in Steve Walsh’s first goal that day.
I absolutely smashed their goalkeeper, Matt Taylor, as he came out to deal with a cross. Just how referee Roger Milford didn’t award them a free-kick was beyond everyone at Wembley that red hot afternoon. But we weren’t complaining as it levelled the game 1-1.
I was only sent off twice in my career – one was for Wales against Japan in the Kirin Cup (totally unjustified) and the other was for Leicester against Derby at the Baseball Ground for punching Robin van der Laan straight in the face – that one, I must admit, was justified.
So it wasn’t all happy memories for me playing against Derby, but I definitely had more good days than I did bad.
I wonder if Alex Pritchard is slightly regretting moving at the first attempt to Huddersfield early in the transfer window and maybe not waiting to see what other clubs came knocking on his door last month – or even waiting until the summer to see what his options were.
If he’d carried on playing like he was for Norwich I’m sure he’d have had a few.
Since signing for the Terriers the club haven’t picked up a point, losing their last five league games, and have dropped like a rock to second from bottom.
I don’t want my former club to be relegated as I’ve very fond memories of my time there, but it’s not looking good for them at this moment in time.
If Huddersfield were to be relegated come the end of the season I’d love it if Norwich City took their place – it’s a long shot I know, but football is a funny old game at times.