Paddy Davitt verdict: Positivity is the order of the day with much more to come now
PUBLISHED: 06:00 20 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:20 20 July 2018
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Leave them wanting more is not a bad staging post for Norwich City at this point of pre-season.
The Canaries depart for the trip back to the UK after one win, one draw and one defeat from a German tour that has thrown up some tantalising positives and the odd defensive concern.
Both themes were covered again in a 1-1 friendly stalemate against Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg on Thursday in Barsinghausen.
Onel Hernandez showed a striker’s instinct to swivel and hit in one flowing motion, after Tom Trybull’s attempted shot had dropped into his orbit.
There has been plenty of evidence here on foreign soil Norwich may well have added some genuine punch in the final third to hint the enduring quest for Championship goals may not be as arduous as last season.
Even if you subtract the sizeable contribution of James Maddison and to a lesser extent Josh Murphy.
But there was also a fresh concession from a set piece late on, when keeper and defenders allowed the ball to bounce inside the Norwich penalty area and then watch as a white shirt reacted quickest not once but twice.
Coming so soon after what Daniel Farke labelled ‘slapstick’ defending in the only pre-season defeat so far of the summer, to FC Union Berlin on Tuesday, it will have been tough to digest for all concerned.
Yet there was a marked improvement in City’s resistance against the Wolves, which underlined Farke’s post-match admission, these last few days on the training pitch have focused on tightening up some of the tardiness without the ball.
Timm Klose played like a man keen to get one over on former employers, and alongside him Christoph Zimmermann was no less obdurate.
Wolfsburg arguably merited a goal for their greater weight of possession and territorial control but there was much to admire in the cohesiveness and organisation in front of Michael McGovern. For all bar that momentary late lapse.
That, in essence, is the point of these pre-season sparring sessions.
City’s charity cost them in Delbruck on game day two but there was a marked improvement in Barsinghausen.
Given Ivo Pinto, Grant Hanley and Jamal Lewis are all to come back into the defensive mix, allied to any number of examples last season when City were able to successfully repel invaders when they had their backs-to-the-wall, the overall direction of travel feels positive.
Clarity with the keeper situation will come fairly rapidly from this point.
Farke must decided whether it is Remi Matthews or McGovern who gets the nod for St Andrews. Or if a commanding, authoritive presence has to be sourced from outside the current dressing room.
Farke wants quality not quantity in the ‘one or two’ potential additions before deadline day and Stuart Webber’s success at raising funds and bringing in new blood now afford the Canaries some time and the resources to pick their moment should, in the head coach’s words, ‘the right player be available.’
Farke certainly has more food for thought from three competitive tests in his homeland against opposition that marked a step change from earlier pre-season friendlies.
It is not just the impact of recent arrivals, such as Teemu Pukki, Jordan Rhodes or even Kenny McLean.
Louis Thompson’s accelerated progress after two years of injury woe is a major plus - even before the news Alex Tettey will in all probability miss the start of the season after contracting chicken pox.
Thompson is an asset Farke may well have planned without, or at least not for the opening phase of what lies ahead in the Championship.
Now he appears to have done enough to convince the Farke he can be a frontline option.