Chris Goreham: ‘I’m not ready to give up on Norwich City’s Naismith and Bamford yet’

Yann M'Vila of Sunderland and Steven Naismith of Norwich in action during the Barclays Premier Leagu

Yann M'Vila of Sunderland and Steven Naismith of Norwich in action during the Barclays Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The truth hurts and never more so than when it is being chillingly delivered by someone who doesn't even know you.

Sunderland's Jermain Defoe celebrates scoring his side's second goal with team-mate Fabio Borini aga

Sunderland's Jermain Defoe celebrates scoring his side's second goal with team-mate Fabio Borini against Norwich City. Photo: PA - Credit: PA

The battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League has boiled down to being between Norwich City and the more fashionable North-East neighbours, Newcastle United and Sunderland, for the past month or so.

In that time the perceived wisdom from the former professionals, in their safe retirement habitats of the comfortable television sofas and radio studios, has been that Sunderland will probably be fine because they've got Jermain Defoe. What lazy punditry!

These people are so consumed with trying to think of new ways of saying that Leicester City 'have done great' or that Manchester United fans 'will be disappointed' with some of their results this season that all they're doing is having a cursory glance at the line-ups of the teams at the less glamorous end of the Premier League table and jumping to assertions based on noticing the name of a player they have heard of.

Or so I thought. If there had been a comfy sofa available at Carrow Road on Saturday I would have been commentating from behind it as Defoe, at his efficient and clinical best, terrorised Norwich City and underlined why having someone who has made himself a household name for his formidable scoring exploits counts for a lot when Premier League push comes to the survival shove.

The former England striker gobbled up the one clear chance that came his way with an eagerness only matched at Carrow Road by those thrifty and thirsty supporters who took advantage of the free cup of hot Vimto offered to fans in the ground on Saturday.

At the other end of the pitch Norwich City did what they have done on numerous occasions this season. Got the ball around the edge of the opposition penalty area and sometimes even as close to goal as the six-yard box without ever really looking like they truly believed they were going to score. Defoe has 16 goals this season. Norwich's top scorers are Dieumerci Mbokani and Nathan Redmond with five goals each.

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Three of Mbokani's five and four of Redmond's have come in defeats. In fact the City winger has held onto his position at the top of the scoring charts with a record of one goal in his last 24 appearances. Last season's 20-goal hero from the Championship and Wembley, Cameron Jerome, has three this season and hasn't scored on his home ground for seven months.

It would be easy to say that Norwich should have signed a new striker last summer and, while that argument carries plenty of weight, there are no guarantees that they would have unearthed a diamond with a quality finish.

The two occasions that City have broken the £8milion mark for a forward have seen them unveil Ricky van Wolfswinkel and, in January this year, Steven Naismith, both to great excitement. Over £16m worth of forward that has, to date, delivered a combined total of two goals in 37 Premier League appearances.

The back-up plan hasn't worked yet either. If signing Patrick Bamford on loan from Chelsea was a gamble then the transfer market bookmaker is rubbing his hands together with glee. The young forward has played six times for Norwich. In those games, the Canaries have scored a grand total of one goal.

I am not ready to give up on Naismith or Bamford yet. Both have undoubted pedigree but if Alex Neil cannot find a way of unearthing it over the next month then City will surely be doomed.

I have concentrated on some rather damning statistics there.

It suits the mood after what unfolded at Carrow Road on Saturday but, in the interests of fairness and trying to finish on a high note, I should also point out that City do, as Neil himself urgently mentioned after the game, remain outside the relegation zone by a whole, precious point.

It was this week a year ago that Norwich were beaten 1-0 at home by Middlesbrough in a game that fatally dented their hopes of automatic promotion.

We know who had the last laugh at the end of the season. Could it happen again? I suppose we had better ask the TV pundits. They do seem to know what they're talking about after all.